With the introduction of the Ford-Flex based 2010 Lincoln MKT, we're starting to believe all that stuff about FoMoCo's commitment to the Lincoln brand. There isn't a single significant visible part shared with its platformmate, though most of what you don't see is the same. Overall dimensions are within a whisker, except for height, which is 1.7 in. lower. That lower roof and stylishly raked bustle-back hatch limit third-row headroom to kid-size and give the MKT slightly more station-wagon proportioning.

The waterfall grille cements the family resemblance with the MKS and restyled 2010 MKZ in front, and we're told to expect the cross-car taillamp design (with distinctive light pipes like those on the MKX) to become a new Lincoln trademark. A fixed panoramic glass roof will be standard, with a sliding one optional.

Power comes from a 3.7L V-6 producing 267 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque (down slightly from the 273/270 it produces in Mazda's CX-9, thanks partly to Lincolnizing of the exhaust note). An EcoBoost turbo V-6 making 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque will follow driving all four wheels (base MKTs get front drive). Both engines mate to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

The ride-tuning design brief was "rolling plushness," so expect softer-than-Flex spring and damper rates. Standard wheels are 19-inchers, with 20s optional (standard unique 20s will come with the EcoBoost option). Leadfoots will want to wait for the EcoBoost engine, because even with weight-saving measures like using cast magnesium for the radiator support and tailgate inner panel, a loaded MKT is expected to weigh 2.5 tons.