Lincoln MKX

Lincoln's first luxury crossover clearly has the Lexus RX330 squarely in its sights.

This crossover is all about bringing you the driving dynamics and fuel efficiency of a sedan along with the sedan style that brands all of Lincoln's executive designs. Add the load capacity of an SUV, and you get a lighter, more efficient vehicle that does all the heavy lifting you ever asked of your SUV. And this crossover is the most stylish ride you'll ever take to the family reunion - or the corporate retreat.

Peter Horbury, executive director at North America Design for Ford Motor Company, likes to talk about the vehicle's "confident stance" and "elegant shape," but there's plenty of in-your-face luxury to deal with too.

The front seats can be heated or cooled (a new standard in luxury), and adaptive halogen low-beam headlamps move with the wheels (adding plenty of added illumination while leading into a curve). A 14-speaker THX II audio system can coo Debussy or blast AC/DC, and there's also an MP3 jack for those who want to create their own small world of sound. In the rear seat, passengers can lower an eight-inch screen for DVDs, and there's a 6.5-inch screen up front for the navigation system. Directions come in English, Spanish … and the French you never learned.

The sound of luxury is pure quiet, and Lincoln thickened up the side glass and added some other sound-absorbing touches - including a few sound shields outside - to keep the decibels down.

For drivers (and passengers) who like the feel of a sunroom, Lincoln will be offering the MKX with a front sunroof and a rear moonroof, which is a big step up from the cramped shipboard windows we've grown used to. The idea is to make everything inside roomier and a lot more open for all of Mother Nature's children.

The MKX is pulled by a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission that keeps the drive smooth (all-wheel drive is also available) and the fuel economy tuned up.

Starting at $34,495.