The cheapening--ahem, popularization--of Lincoln is working. Migrating to mostly Volvo-based front-drive platforms and targeting Buick instead of Cadillac pricing has grown sales and lowered the age of the brand's buyers. So it's inevitable that Lincoln would get an upmarket Ford Flex, the MKT, due 2009. If things keep going this way, Mercury's death may be inevitable.Ford has worked hard to differentiate the MKT from the Flex. The MKT certainly looks different from its cheaper sibling, but not in a totally good way.

The problem is Peter Horbury's design team has attempted to jam design cues taken from rounded 1940s vehicles onto the Flex's relentlessly boxy form.Like the MKS, the MKT has the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, rated 415 horses and 400 pound-feet and capable of running on E85 or premium gas.