ROUND KNOBS FOR RADIO VOLUME AND TUNING!
I know; type face that big is usually reserved for "Cure for Cancer Found'', or "Maple Leafs Win the Stanley Cup''.
And to me, it is the biggest and best news coming from the reveal of the Lincoln MKC 'premium' compact crossover.
Finally, some sanity is returning to automotive interior design.
Sure, Lincoln Design Director Max Wolff can and does wax lyrical over what he calls "our best execution yet'' of Lincoln's controversial 'split-wing' grille, and the wrap-around tailgate with full-width LED taillights which allowed his team to make the car look wider and more substantial.
It requires a huge hydroformed stamped steel panel, produced in AMINO's plant in St. Thomas Ontario (Canadian content!)
And yes, like the Ford Escape with which MKC shares its basic architecture, if you kick under the rear bumper, the tailgate opens.
Also sure, the MKC débuts a new 2.3 litre EcoBoost turbocharged direct injection engine, producing 275 horsepower and delivering what Lincoln claims is fifteen percent better fuel economy than V6 engines with comparable power.
It is the one-up option to the 240-horse 2.0 litre EcoBoost four - yes, an all-turbo engine line-up for MKC.
Wolff admitted that the touch screen and slider controls used on recent Fords have had heaps of abuse dumped on them, by the media (and no, not just me), by Consumers Reports, and even by customers, through J. D. Power reports and other streams of invective.
Ford's Corporate response has been that the 'Take Rate' and Customer Satisfaction scores for MyFord and MyLincoln and the associated SYNC systems have been high, sales are up across the board, so what's the problem?
The problem is, round knobs are simply better ergonomically.
This is science, people, not opinion; I don't really have to go through this all again, do I?
MyLincoln and SYNC are still here, but at least this is progress.
While the MKC is close enough to Escape to be built on the same line in Ford's Louisville Kentucky plant, the underpinnings are quite different.
For starters, chief engineer Lisa Drake notes that MKC's track is wider for a better stance on the road, both visually and handling-wise.
MKC also gets a Continuously Controlled Damping system, allowing the driver to choose from three damper settings, sport, comfort or 'normal' - I guess that last one splits the difference.
The gamut of electronic driving aids is run - Lane Keeping assist, the irrelevant and redundant Blind Spot Warning system, and a collision warning system which flashes and beeps, then brakes the car automatically if you continue to ignore it.
The 'Park Assist' system which steers your car into tight parking spots and is typically shown to your friends once then never used again, adds 'Park Out Assist' - it helps steer your way OUT of a parking space.
Lincoln will also be introducing an all-new dealership look in the soon-to-be-dominant luxury market of China.
There, Lincoln is known as a 'presidential' vehicle, according to global brand director Matt VanDyk, but the actual product is barely known at all.
The dealerships will feature a 'boutique hotel' look, with warm, welcoming customer reception areas and service bays visible from the showroom through glass walls so prospects can see, says VanDyk, "...that they are not getting counterfeit parts.''
A problem in China, you say?
US dealers will be encouraged to upgrade as well, although VanDyk admits they have to sell more cars before they can convince these hard-headed business people to make the necessary investments.
He allowed that Canadian Lincoln dealers are generally in better shape that American ones; whether Lincoln's relatively better success in Canada is the chicken or the egg is a discussable point.
Lincoln is attempting to do what Cadillac has done in the past decade - rebuild a once-famous 'American' brand.
Cadillac has done it partly on the backs of existing vehicle architectures (Escalade / GMC Yukon Denali; XTS / Chevrolet Impala), and partly on unique platforms (CTS, ATS).
Lincoln so far is adapting existing Ford hardware (MKZ mid-size sedan / Ford Fusion; MKC / Escape).
But do customers care where the oily bits come from?
Will this even be a factor in whether Lincoln prospers or not?
It's among the many things that make this business so fascinating.
The answers should start to become apparent next summer.