Excellent infotainment features; comfortable seats and driving position; responsive steering.
Not a premium feel; too similar to Ford Fusion; braking performance not up to par.
"This MKZ is more fun than a Lincoln has any right to be."
This was a text message sent from one Edmunds.com editor to another as he marveled at the surprisingly nimble 2010 Lincoln MKZ sitting in his driveway after a drive on Mulholland Highway above the lights of Los Angeles. If he didn't loathe typing on a dinky Blackberry keyboard, he also would've added, "The driving position is spot-on, the seats have butt coolers and the infotainment features are some of the best out there."
With or without that addendum, the text response would've been the same: "It should be. It's based on a great car." In fact, "based" might be too soft a term. An Acura TL is based on a Honda Accord, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell by driving or looking at it. The same goes for other luxury vehicles like the Cadillac SRX and Lexus ES 350 that trace their roots to humbler origins.
The 2010 Lincoln MKZ, however, is a near mechanical clone and visually pretty darned similar to the Ford Fusion Sport that so impressed us in the Edmunds.com family sedan comparison test. Of course, the Lincoln version gets the requisite (though controversial) waterfall grille, LED taillights, a different cabin design, some nicer materials and a few extra features like cooled seats and xenon headlights, all of which certainly make the MKZ a more appealing car. But do they make it $7,700 more appealing than a loaded Fusion Sport?
A true luxury car needs to be so much more than just a regular old family car with a fancy name, some extra bells and whistles and a higher price tag. It needs a greater level of refinement, engineering excellence and attention to detail that cannot be quantified by mechanical specifications or a list of features.
A Mercedes-Benz C300 does this, as do the Audi A4, BMW 328i, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis and Infiniti G37. These all cost about the same as the Lincoln, yet they're also much more than just gussied-up family sedans. Even if it's indeed a great family sedan, the 2010 Lincoln MKZ needs to step up in multiple ways in order to warrant its significant price tag.
The Lincoln MKZ comes with a 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and the six-speed automatic transmission with which it's matched features manual gear selection, something the Fusion and most other Fords do not. Front-wheel drive is standard, but our test car's smart all-wheel-drive system serves as much to negate torque steer and understeer as it assures wet-weather traction. We highly recommend it.
In our track testing, the 2010 Lincoln MKZ went from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is about as quick as an all-wheel-drive BMW 328i or Mercedes C300 (though the Audi A4 Quattro and Infiniti G37x are quicker than them all). The Lincoln V6 sounds a bit coarse and unrefined at higher rpm as it goes about the task, however.
Unrefined would be an improvement for the brakes, which proved woefully inadequate for a luxury sedan. The MKZ took 132 feet to stop from 60 mph on its first stop, suggesting that its tires are not particularly grippy, and then excessive brake fade set in and our third stop from 60 mph took 150 feet, a distance comparable to a pickup truck. By comparison, a C300 Sport stops in 114 feet and an Audi A4 in 123 feet. Surprisingly, the Ford Fusion Sport stopped in 123 feet with no discernible fade, despite having the same brakes and tires as the MKZ.
Handling results were also worse than its competition (and Ford sibling as well), with slower slalom times and significantly less grip around the skid pad despite being equipped with an enhanced sport suspension. Away from the track, the Lincoln MKZ boasts the same responsive and communicative steering we so enjoyed in the Fusion. Though prone to understeering through corners, the MKZ nevertheless has a lightweight, nimble feel that's reminiscent of previous-generation Acura sedans, even if that feel doesn't necessarily translate to stellar numbers. Indeed, the MKZ is more fun to drive than one would expect a Lincoln to be.
While the MKZ's handling defies expectations, so does its ride quality, only not in a good way. Once equipped with the sporting suspension setup that's a part of the Sport Appearance package, the car's ride quality suffers and it feels choppy and unpleasant over even the slightest road imperfections. Most of this car's competition also rides firmly, but they feel more compliant and even supple over the bumps. The MKZ also suffers from excessive road noise, something we didn't anticipate after the ultra-quiet Lincoln MKS and MKT.
The MKZ's seats, however, were universally praised for being both comfortable over long distances and supportive through corners. The fact that heating and cooling are standard is a welcome treat. The driving position also drew accolades thanks to an abundance of adjustability from the eight-way driver seat and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The one sore spot is that taller drivers or those with grand coiffures may find that their heads brush the ceiling, which is closer than you expect because of the sunroof that comes as standard equipment.
Backseat space is better than in similarly priced sedans like the C-Class and 3 Series, though headroom is only adequate. The rear seat is also missing rear vents for the air-conditioning.
Infotainment electronics is the one thing the 2010 Lincoln MKZ has going for it among comparable luxury sedans. The optional touchscreen navigation system includes a large touchscreen, real-time information (traffic, weather, gas prices, movie times and sports scores) and a variety of voice-activated controls through the Sync system. Not only are these features plentiful, but they are thoughtful, well-integrated and easy to use. For example, when the car's low fuel light comes on, the navigation map automatically displays the closest gas stations.
Not to rain on the MKZ's brief moment in the sun, but the Fusion Sport also has the same optional navigation system. It also has a similar control layout, with small buttons that are placed too close together and too low on the dash. It often takes too much effort to find the right one at a glance.
In our usability tests, a standard child seat fit well in its rear-facing position, allowing plenty of space for an adult to sit in the passenger seat. The lower LATCH points are easily accessed and the upper tether anchor can be reached by going over or beneath the flat headrest design. The trunk is spacious for this class, with a wide and deep opening that makes loading golf clubs easy. However, the trunk lid doesn't pop up far enough to achieve a proper grip and there is no handle to pull it back down. You're likely to end up with dirty hands and unsightly fingerprints on the trunk. It's details like these (or lack thereof) that contribute to the MKZ's non-luxury feel.
Design/Fit and Finish
Compared to your average family sedan, the 2010 Lincoln MKZ sets itself apart with class-leading interior materials and strong construction, but once anything from Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz is introduced into the mix, the MKZ just doesn't measure up.
The Lincoln's rather simple design theme has something to do with it, but the materials are just not rich enough in look or feel. Fit and finish is also not quite up to par, as the flimsy sunroof shade flapped around within its housing over significant bumps.
Who should consider this vehicle
It is hard to recommend the 2010 Lincoln MKZ given the minuscule advantages it presents over the much cheaper and, in many ways, better Ford Fusion Sport. Luxury shoppers capable of spending more than $40,000 would likely be happier with one of the many other competitive luxury or near-luxury vehicles.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Is the 2010 Lincoln MKZ a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2010 Lincoln MKZ and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2010 MKZ featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2010 Lincoln MKZ? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2010 Lincoln MKZ and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2010 MKZ 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2010 MKZ.
Review Bought this car in July 2010 with 10,000 miles on it. There were initial issues with pairing of cell phone, but the dealer and Ford were persistent in getting those resolved. Since then, my wife and I have driven it 10,000 miles and love the car - fit, feel, handling, and performance. Visibility out the back is not all that great and full use of the console controls takes some getting used to (probably true of any new car) by older folks (72). Synch technology probably not quite ready for prime time.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
What options are available on the 2010 Lincoln MKZ?
Available Lincoln MKZ 2010 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hybrid
Available Trims: Base, Hybrid, Reserve, Select, Premiere, Hybrid Reserve, Black Label
Exterior Colors: Tuxedo Black Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Ingot Silver Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Black Velvet, Tuxedo Black Clearcoat Metallic, Luxe Metallic, Sterling Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Sterling Gray Metallic, Ice Storm Metallic, Platinum Dune Tri-Coat Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Midnight Sapphire Blue Metallic, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Smoked Quartz Tinted Clearcoat Metallic, White Platinum Tri-Coat, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Magnetic Metallic, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, Sunset Metallic, Bordeaux Reserve Metallic, Dark Side, Dune Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Palladium White Gold Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Alloy Clearcoat Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Crystal Champagne Tri-Coat, Guard Metallic, Jade Green Metallic, Light Sage Clearcoat Metallic, Vapor Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Vivid Red Clearcoat Metallic, Atlantis Green Clearcoat Metallic, Blue Diamond Metallic, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Crystal Silver, Iced Mocha Metallic, Ivory Pearl Metallic, Moss Green Clearcoat Metallic