If you're still wondering why it seems everyone and their brother is coming out with a crossover, it's because the growth of the segment worldwide has been explosive, to put it mildly. Models that were previously North America–only models are now being offered globally and, in some cases, are spearheading some brands' global growth efforts. The Lincoln MKX Concept is one of those vehicles. Long one of the brand's best-selling models in the U.S., Lincoln chose the Beijing Auto Show to show the MKX Concept.
As we've discussed many times before, there are two types of "concepts," those powered by plutonium fuel-cell hybrid drives with frames made from exotic alloys derived from deep-space meteors and floating air-foam seating, and those that are a barely disguised preview of what will be coming to showrooms 12-18 months later. Looking at the MKX Concept, about the only aspects that don’t look production spec are the handle-less doors, and the unusually skinny rearview mirrors, reflecting manufacturers' collective wishful thinking that government regulators may ultimately drop the requirement for a physical reflective rearview mirror in favor of more aerodynamic rearview cameras.
Just as the Lincoln MKC concept and now production model are based on the Ford Escape, the next-generation MKX will be based on the Ford Edge, as is the current model.
Compared to the more angular design of the Edge, the MKX is softer, more refined, and more curved than its Ford counterpart. Like most other crossovers, the MKX Concept hints at some level of off-road capability stylistically, based on consumer preferences of the Chinese market, with a separated "front skidplate" and reinforced wheel arches. That said, the concept's 21-inch wheels suggest it's more likely to ply the clogged streets of the urban jungles of Beijing and Shanghai than bound across the Gobi.
Key to the MKX Concept's personality is Lincoln Experiences, a "technology-driven suite of features" anticipating and responding to drivers' needs and preferences.
In terms of hardware the MKX will likely be packing when it starts to roll off the line in mid-to-late 2015. It may offer the choice of four-cylinder or V-6 EcoBoost powerplants, the two most likely candidates the 2.3L I-4 EcoBoost that just debuted in the smaller MKC, and possibly a transverse adaptation of the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 revealed for the 2015 F-150. A six-speed automatic is the most likely transmission, but the MKX could get an eight-, nine- or 10-speed transmission by the time it reaches showrooms.
With sales just a fraction of other luxury brands', Lincoln desperately needs some hits to hope to be mentioned in the same breath as Lexus, Cadillac, and Audi. Both the MKC and what we've seen of the MKX so far bode well. Let's hope the production model delivers on the concept's stylish promise.