In 2010 Lincoln confirmed plans for a new compact crossover positioned below its MKX, which, along with another compact car, would form the point of entry for the resurgent American luxury brand.

We say resurgent as the new compact crossover is just one of seven new or significantly refreshed models due by 2014 that are aimed at turning around Lincoln’s woeful sales levels.

Almost looking like America’s version of the ultra-popular--and ultra-fashionable--Range Rover Evoque, the new Lincoln MKC concept car, which makes its debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show this week, is a preview of Lincoln’s future compact crossover due in the next year or two.

The compact crossover segment shows rapid growth, though it’s also one of the most hotly contended, with cars like the BMW X1, Buick Encore, MINI Countryman and the aforementioned Range Rover Evoque already earning much praise.

Thankfully, the MKC, which we suspect will look the same in production trim, as the MKZ has shown, is one of the better looking vehicles in this segment.

In designing it, Lincoln’s team had a good place to start: the MKC is built on the underpinnings of the Ford Escape. Transferring the marque’s new design language, which was first featured on the MKZ, Lincoln’s team has come away with a sleek, sculpted body, a powerful stance and an elegant look, which bears little resemblance to the lines of the humble Escape.

One interesting element is the uninterrupted rear-view appearance highlighted by the full-width tail-lights. This is made possible by a two-piece liftgate design with a side-view cutline--a Lincoln first. Also worth mentioning is the panoramic glass roof running the length of the vehicle, which is quickly becoming one of the brand’s signature elements.

Inside, the theme was high-end design with bespoke materials and execution. This translates to warm materials such as soft leather with light hues, a lattice design with natural-look materials for the speaker mesh, light fixtures and lug-nut covers, and trim cut from layers of reconstructed natural wood infused with glistening metallic flakes on the steering wheel, upper instrument panel and door innards.

Also borrowed from the MKZ, the MKC's cockpit is mostly notable for what's not there: a conventional shift lever, left behind for pushbutton controls and a touch-screen interface--the place where the MyLincoln Touch infotainment system will live.

As for powertrain details, Lincoln is keeping quiet, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford’s 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines from the Escape carry over. A hybrid option borrowed from the Ford C-Max may feature as a range-topping option, relegating V-6 powerplants for MKZ-and-larger models.

Stay tuned for live photos of the MKC following its debut in Detroit and don't forget to stay glued to our dedicated show hub over the next 48 hours for all the latest updates.


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