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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Lincoln MKC

What is it? In today’s market an upscale brand without a compact SUV is like a Detroit winter without snow, so Lincoln finally jumps on the bandwagon. The MKC concept is based on the Ford Escape, itself considerably more upscale after its 2012 top-to-bottom redesign.

What’s new and notable?
Lincoln’s new styling motifs—gigantic sunroofs, push-button transmissions, pale-colored interiors, and huge waterfall chrome grille— are all in evidence here. But because it’s a concept the MKC takes it to another level, with copious chrome detailing and a distinct lack of exterior door handles.

The concept seats four with free-floating seats separated by a giant center console; expect the production version to seat five.

CR’s take: Given that the sticker on a modestly-equipped Escape Titanium can easily top $37,000, this Lincoln isn’t going to come cheap. Most of the competition (BMW X3, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX) has sticker prices around $43,000. Lincoln promises more customization options for a wider variety of buyers, so bespoke furnishings would easily up the final tally.

The concept’s presentation showed some detail screen changes to MyLincoln Touch, but there remains a lack of knobs for basic functions. Then again, that whole system looks better on a concept than it works in production.

When will it be available?
No date announced. This concept is more finished than the typical pie-in-the-sky auto show concept vehicle, but we wouldn’t expect one before the 2015 model year at the earliest.

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