If you're going to seek out a compact luxury car, you might as well select one that can accomplish a multitude of tasks.

If youíre going to seek out a compact luxury car, you might as well select one that can accomplish a multitude of tasks.

That appears to be the reasoning behind a wide assortment of smaller, up-level lift-gated models these days, and the Lincoln MKC is one of the more recent.

By the time itís available for public consumption this summer, the MKC will face off against similar models such as the Acura RDX and BMW X3. The Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3 will arrive a few months later. The pickings in this class will soon be far from slim.

In designing the new MKC, Lincolnís design team started with the Ford Escape platform. From that point the baby Lincolnís sheet metal displays its own unique shape, including the trademark split-wing grille, side creases and a uniquely-shaped wrap-around cargo door and taillight bar. Proportionally, itís a handsome piece and one of the more attractive Lincoln models.

The MKCís interior fittings match the exterior in attractiveness, especially the gauges and control stack.

If it seems that there are more switches than normal in this spot, itís because the traditional console-mounted shifter has been replaced by push-button controls located beside the fresh air vent and display screen. In addition, an electronic switch has replaced the usual parking-brake handle.

The MKCís luxury content ensures that thereís little, if any, commonality with the Escape. Itís also a quieter place to reside, thanks in part to Active Noise Control.

This system, which is also found in the MKZ sedan, uses hidden microphones and a special control module to create opposing sound waves through the carís speakers to cancel out unwanted droning sounds.

Active Noise Control can be combined with continuously adjustable shock damping, power-assisted electric steering, variable transmission shift mapping plus traction and stability control (to prevents skids and spins) to form Lincoln Drive Control. The result, said the company, is variable ride and handling in normal, sport or comfort modes, as selected by the driver.

A choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines can also be selected. The base is a 2.0-liter that makes 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a new 2.3-liter thatís rated at 275 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. This engine will also be available for the 2015 Ford Mustang as an option.

Each power plant is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shift controls.

Front-wheel-drive is standard, with all-wheel-drive offered as an option for the 2.0. The 2.3 gets AWD only.

The MKC will be available in three trim levels, with prices starting at $34,000, including destination charges. The base Premiere includes dual-zone climate control, heated power-adjustable front-row seats, backup camera, remote start and Lincoln Premium Sound with voice-activated communications and entertainment systems.

The Select model adds a 10-way power passenger seat (same as the driverís), ambient interior lighting, power folding outside mirrors and premium nickel-plated 18-inch alloy wheels. Atop the trim ladder, the Reserve comes with a panorama sunroof, voice-activated navigation, hands-free power liftgate (activated by passing your foot beneath the bumper), and heated and cooled front seats.

Also for the Reserve is blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alerts, the latter of which warns of approaching traffic from behind when youíre backing up.

The list of options includes heated second-row seats and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and automatic high-beam headlamps.

The content-rich, attractively priced MKC could be the right vehicle at the right time for Lincoln.

It promises to expose the brand beyond its traditional customer base of older, well-to-do buyers, while keeping pace with similar small wagons from competing luxury automakers.

Base price: $34,000