• Lincoln's updated MKT crossover features revised exterior styling including a new grille.
  • The crossover also adds more base horsepower for 2013, reaching an even 300.
  • Expected to be priced from around $45,000, the 2013 MKT will go on sale in spring 2012.

 

Ford hopes new design, new features and a revised interior will boost interest in the slow-selling Lincoln MKT crossover. Shown for the first time at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, the refreshed 2013 MKT is expected to begin arriving in dealerships in spring 2012.

The 2013 MKT's exterior styling is drastically updated compared to its predecessor, which launched as a 2010 model. While the MKT retains the large grille that defines its front end, extra vertical slats are added and last year's horizontal crossbar is removed. The result is Lincoln's new corporate face, which will soon be a staple of all of the automaker's products. A new lower grille with wider fog lights is also added to the MKT's front end, while updated wheel choices round out revisions to the crossover's exterior styling.

Inside, the MKT has also been thoroughly revised. An upgraded MyLincoln Touch infotainment system provides new instrumentation to the crossover's gauge cluster, which includes full-color LCD screens on either side of the speedometer. Other revisions include a new steering wheel with available heating, additional noise barriers designed to provide a quieter ride, and revised switchgear for the MKT's climate control and audio system.

Most importantly, the already advanced MKT gains several new technologies for 2013. One new feature is Lincoln Drive Control, which provides a choice between three different suspension settings: Normal, Sport and Comfort. In "Sport" mode, suspension tightens up to 30 percent, while "Comfort" softens springs 15 percent compared to the normal setting. Other new technologies include inflatable rear seat belts and Ford's Lane Keeping System, which provides a warning when drivers start to drift from their lane above 40 miles per hour due to distraction or fatigue.

While engine choices are unchanged, Lincoln says the MKT's base-level V6 is slightly more powerful for 2013. According to the automaker, the standard 3.7-liter engine gains 32 horsepower for the new model year to produce 300 horses, while torque jumps to 275 pound-feet. But despite the power boost, Lincoln says the base engine's fuel economy will actually increase by one mile per gallon. The available EcoBoost V6, which produces a spry 355 horsepower, remains unchanged.

Although Lincoln has not announced pricing for the 2013 MKT, we expect the revised crossover to carry only a nominal increase over the 2012 model, which started around $45,000.

What it means to you: While the revisions probably won't be enough to help the MKT take off with consumers, Lincoln is also making a dedicated version for livery and limousine companies.

See more LA Auto Show news.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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