Premium Compact Crossover Ready to Re-energize Lincoln Brand
Why the 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept Matters:
Lincoln the president was, of course, assassinated in Ford’s Theatre, but it seems like Lincoln the brand will avoid meeting the same fate at Ford’s headquarters—at least for another model year, anyway. That’s because the Blue Oval’s lux division is once again trying to establish a foothold in the premium segments with an all-new vehicle, and this time is doing so with a coherent plan that looks like it just might work.
The starting point is the muscular 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept that debuted recently in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. It’s a sleek and modern-looking compact crossover that will enter a segment in which there’s as yet no clear leader, while distinguishing itself from potential rivals—and, more importantly, the Ford Escape—with some truly distinctive technology and design cues.
“We are reinventing Lincoln by focusing on the largest and fastest-growing segments of the luxury market, while offering clients something different,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service, as well as the Lincoln division. “The just-introduced MKZ re-establishes Lincoln in the largest luxury segment, and the MKC Concept highlights a key opportunity in the fastest-growing part of the luxury market.”
In addition, beyond the benefits of the vehicle itself, the 2013 Lincoln MKC will herald a new era in Lincoln customer service, as dealers across the country are working with the brand to develop exclusive programs that will coddle clients throughout the purchase and ownership experiences.
- A taut, expressive design featuring a more sophisticated execution of Lincoln’s split-wing grille and a full-length panoramic sunroof
- Premium lighting treatments, enhanced by LEDs and a return to full-width taillamps
- A “clamshell” rear liftgate with detailed cutlines and a precision appearance
- Elegant interior design, complemented by chrome and wood “jewelry” and Lincoln’s new pushbutton e-shift transmission
- The Lincoln Experience suite of vehicle-personalization technologies
- Opportunities for bespoke design appointments both inside and out
“The Lincoln MKC Concept is designed to strike a perfect balance between warm, inviting comfort and the engaging and superb dynamic qualities of performance, ride, handling and braking,” added Farley. “This balance is focused toward a new luxury automotive client emerging in the marketplace—someone who recognizes a great vehicle and demands a balance between all-out performance and comfort.”
New 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept: Styling and Design
For Lincoln to have any realistic chance for survival, the brand absolutely must begin doing a better job differentiating its products from their Ford division siblings. And while the 2013 Lincoln MKZ was an effective first effort—with a noticeably different appearance from the 2013 Ford Fusion—the 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept takes things to ye olde next level with a design that will make owners forget it’s even from the same parent company as the 2013 Ford Escape.
An important differentiator is the MKC’s high beltline and short greenhouse, which, when combined with the vehicle’s high character lines, provide a noticeably athletic and hunkered-down stance. Another important change: Lincoln’s hallmark split-wing grille has been redesigned to show a cleaner and more professional look that now complements, instead of overwhelms, the front-end appearance.
The rear of the vehicle also benefits from a particularly detailed design, with the tailgate wrapping around the body slightly and relying on side cutlines for the first time in a Lincoln vehicle.
“It shows how the dedicated Lincoln design and engineering teams have worked together to deliver customer-focused solutions that not only elevate the appearance, but also provide maximum load capability,” according to the brand.
The cabin of the vehicle is a showcase for the brand’s new “Lincoln Experiences” design approach, which “will include a variety of distinctive features, such as push-button transmission engagement, programmable ride control, unique and diverse powertrains, personalized lighting, and a suite of customizable functions that are unique for each client as the vehicle instantly recognizes the operator and creates a personalized welcoming sequence.”
An excellent example of the kind of attention to detail on display in the cockpit of the 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept is the unique material used to accent the steering wheel, upper instrument panel and door panels—made from reconstructed natural wood that incorporates metal flakes and delivers a sparkling, ultra-premium finish.
New 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept: What’s under the Hood
Well, there must be something stuck in the engine bay of the 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept, as it moved under its own power for a few yards during its reveal, but the brand isn’t providing details as of yet. On the other hand, details are really all that remain unknown, since the vehicle will certainly enjoy EcoBoost motivation of some kind—with the high-efficiency 1.6-liter I4 and the similarly cylindered but higher powered 2.0-liter unit as the most likely choices.
New 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept: Features and Technology
Much as was the case in the powertrain department, Lincoln execs were tight-lipped about exactly how a production model of the 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept would be equipped. But again, it’s also easy to make some educated guesses.
Thus, along with known quantities like its large, fixed-position sunroof and push-button gearshift system, it would be no surprise to learn that drivers will enjoy goodies like the latest iteration of SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, a powered “no-hands” tailgate, intelligent all-wheel drive, and a slew of driver-assistance measures including Curve Control, torque vectoring, blind-spot detection and warning, park assist, and more.
New 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept: What Autobytel Thinks
When the 2013 Lincoln MKC Concept was introduced to the press, execs laid out a fairly cogent strategy for bringing the brand back from the abyss, relying on strongly differentiated new products and significantly elevated levels of customer service. And while even that may not be enough to result in significantly elevated sales volume for the division, those who do give the new Lincoln a try should be well-pleased with their choice.