Blue Oval fans waiting for the 2010 Lincoln MKT to break cover finally got their wish earlier this week at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. On sale in the late summer of 2009, the all-new MKT will start at $44,995, including destination.

Before anyone remarks about the 45 large starting price, take a look at the standard features on a base model. They include:

* SelectShift six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifts
* Eight-inch, color touch-screen for audio and HVAC control
* Rear view camera
* 20-GB hard drive for music jukebox music storage
* Intelligent Access with Push Button Start
* SecuriCode(tm) Keyless Entry Keypad
* Adaptive Headlamps with High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps
* Auto High Beams
* Rain-Sensing Wipers
* Reverse-sensing parking assist system
* Power opening / closing rear liftgate
* 12-way powered, heated-and-cooled front row seating
* Adjustable pedals
* Heated second-row seats
* Three-zone HVAC
* Ambient lighting
* Panoramic Vista Roof featuring two large glass panels
* 19-inch Premium Painted aluminum wheels
* Integrated spotter mirrors
* Active and passive safety features

The base MKT is powered by a 267-hp 3.7L V-6 engine putting 268 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels while getting class-leading fuel economy, according to Ford.

For those who prefer all four wheels get power, an AWD drive version of the Ford Flex-based MKT will start at $46,990. At that price, it will be powered by the same 3.7L engine found in the base MKT, but if you need more power and are willing to pay the $49,995 starting price, the V-6 EcoBoost-powered AWD model is the one you want. 355-hp and 350 lb-ft of torque should make up for the three-row crossover's heft and scoot the MKT down the road at a good clip. We'll know for sure once we've had a chance to drive it.

Those looking to get the most out of their new MKT will need to drop an additional $5,000 for the Elite Package, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Brake Support, a Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, a voice-activated navigation system coupled with an upgraded stereo from THX featuring Neural Sound and a power sunroof.

Other stand-alone options include Ford's new Active Park Assist (EcoBoost models only), 20-in polished wheels (standard on EcoBoost models), dual headrest-mounted screens and a DVD entertainment system, second-row heated and cooled bucket seats with power lumbar support, a refrigerator between the second-row bucket seats and Class III towing capability.

Fully-optioned, the MKT will tip the ledger at $55,000. For that price, Ford claims you'll get better fuel economy, more interior space and more high-tech features than what's found the Audi Q7 or Acura MDX.

Source: Ford