Associated more with cars driven by your grandmother or a New York chauffeur, Lincoln has struggled in recent years to earn a more prestigious image. One of the most important cars to establishing a new course is the Lincoln MKZ, the brand's representative in the ultra-competitive entry-level luxury sedan category.
The first-generation MKZ wasn't especially successful in its mission, as there was little differentiation between the MKZ and the Ford Fusion upon which it was based. However, the second-generation MKZ represents another chance. Though still mechanically based on the Fusion, there are substantially more visual and mechanical delineations between the two. Unlike before, you'd be hard-pressed to tell they're related. More importantly, though, the new Lincoln MKZ is a far more appealing luxury sedan that can legitimately be considered alongside established players.
Current Lincoln MKZ
The Lincoln MKZ is completely redesigned for 2013. It's a car that's going to be hard to miss on the road, as the exterior features a boldly styled rear end and a new look for the Lincoln corporate grille. The cabin is also now suitably upscale for this class of car and adapts Lincoln/Ford's latest electronics controls. Under the skin reside new engines and mechanical underpinnings similar to those in the equally new Ford Fusion.
As is the case with an increasing number of other vehicles in its class, the MKZ's standard engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder. It produces a very healthy 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.7-liter V6 good for 300 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both engines feature competitive power and fuel economy for the class. They also both come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional. The MKZ Hybrid gets Ford's latest gasoline-electric powertrain with 188 combined hp and fuel economy in the mid-40 range.
There is no shortage of equipment, with items like adaptive suspension, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, an 11-speaker sound system and the MyLincoln Touch suite of electronics interfaces gracing the standard features list. High-tech options include a lane-keeping system, a collision warning system, rear seatbelt airbags, adaptive cruise control, an automatic parallel parking system and an enormous panoramic roof that essentially retracts its glass panel atop the rear window.
There's no question that Lincoln has packed on a lot of kit for its newest MKZ. But the end result is a little disappointing. You can still get most of those high-end features on the Fusion, for instance, and for a price that's thousands of dollars cheaper. Placed in comparison with other entry-level luxury sedans, the MKZ also suffers from its finicky MyLincoln Touch electronics interface, underwhelming interior quality and more confining seating.
Overall, the MKZ has some nice qualities, and we like the effort put forth to make it more distinctive than in years past. But shoppers in search of a top entry-level luxury sedan should also take a look at other choices such as the Acura TL, Lexus ES 350 and Volvo S60 before going with this newest Lincoln.
Read the most recent 2014 Lincoln MKZ review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Lincoln MKZ page.