2018 Lincoln MKZ

2018 Lincoln MKZ Review

While you can get it with a buff turbo V6, we think the frugal MKZ Hybrid is the best pick.
7.4 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

For decades, American car shoppers have typically gravitated toward European and Japanese brands for entry-level luxury sedans. Lincoln has been trying to chip away at the market with the Ford Fusion-based MKZ for years now but with limited success.

Last year, Lincoln restyled the MKZ's front end with a new look first introduced by the brand's new Continental sedan. Available LED headlights and a Jaguar-esque grille add character to the car's sleek lines. Lincoln also introduced a new turbocharged V6 engine good for up to 400 horsepower, which is an impressive output for this class of car. A base turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the MKZ Hybrid continue to round out the MKZ's powertrain lineup.

Inside are plenty of standard luxury features and the MKZ's Sync 3 infotainment interface, which is quick and easy to use. In other aspects, however, you'll find that the MKZ comes across as pretty average. Interior materials quality isn't as rich as you'll find in other cars in this class, for example, and the rear seat isn't particularly accommodating for adults.

If you're shopping for a luxury sedan that gives you a lot of features for your money, or if high fuel economy is a priority, we think the 2018 Lincoln MKZ is worth checking out. Otherwise, you might find some rival luxury sedans are more appealing overall.



What's new for 2018

The Lincoln MKZ enters 2018 essentially unchanged.

We recommend

This category is dominated by sport sedans, and Lincoln caters to that with the MKZ's optional 400-hp turbocharged V6 engine. For our money, though, the MKZ is at its best when it's the MKZ Hybrid. It's fuel-efficient and you can get it for the same price as the standard model. Step up to the Reserve trim and you get a well-equipped luxury sedan that should still leave some room in your budget for adding extras or options you might want.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Lincoln MKZ is available with three powertrains — a four-cylinder, six-cylinder and hybrid — and four trims. The Premiere comes fairly well-equipped, but go with the Select to get additional interior and technology options. The Reserve offers the most flexibility with options and packages. Finally, the Black Label is just as much about ownership experience as a stand-alone a trim, providing owners with free washes and a higher level of roadside assistance and maintenance.

For all trims, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four (245 hp, 275 lb-ft) is standard, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option. For the Select, Reserve and Black Label trims, a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (also with a six-speed automatic) is optional, and can be equipped with front-wheel drive (350 hp, 400 lb-ft) or all-wheel drive (400 hp, 400 lb-ft). A hybrid powertrain is also available, and uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor to produce a combined 188 hp.

The Premiere base model comes well-equipped with features such as 18-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with heating, driver-seat memory settings and a 60/40-split folding rear seat with pass-through. Standard technology features a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Lincoln's Sync 3 infotainment interface, an 8-inch touchscreen display, Sync smartphone app integration, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and an 11-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and two USB ports.

Stepping up to the Select model gets you an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, front seats with four-way power lumbar adjustment, a power-adjustable steering wheel, enhanced interior ambient lighting, a 110-volt household-style power outlet and two rear-seat USB charging ports.

Optional for the Select is the Select Plus package, which adds a navigation system, power trunklid, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Reserve trim level has those features as standard, plus 19-inch wheels, ventilated front seats and enhanced connectivity functionality. A 14-speaker Revel audio system with HD radio capability is also standard.

There's also the Black Label trim. It comes equipped similarly to the Reserve but has an upgraded interior (upgraded and extended leather upholstery and a simulated suede headliner, most notably) and a choice of three unique themes. The Black Label also offers a host of special services, including a mobile showroom, remote vehicle delivery, pickup and drop-off of your car for service work, an extended premium maintenance plan and more.

Most options are grouped into packages. The Climate package bundles automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, a windshield wiper de-icer, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. The Technology package has adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system with pre-collision assist, lane departure warning and intervention, and an automated parking system (both parallel and perpendicular parking).

The Reserve model can be had with a Luxury package that contains LED headlights and a premium Revel Ultima audio system with 20 speakers and HD radio. There's also a Driver's package with 19-inch polished alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, torque vectoring (with the turbo V6 and AWD), painted brake calipers, multi-contour front seats, and distinctive interior and exterior trim details. The Climate and Technology packages are available with the Reserve as well.

Major stand-alone options include the choice of 19-inch polished alloy wheels, a traditional sunroof or a panoramic moonroof, a power rear sunshade and inflatable rear safety belts.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.4 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration6.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control6.5 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility6.5 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Utility

7.5 / 10

Small-item storage7.5 / 10
Cargo space8.5 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation7.0 / 10
Smartphone integration9.0 / 10
Driver aids7.0 / 10
Voice control8.5 / 10

Driving7.0

Though it isn't the most entertaining car in the luxury sedan segment, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ is certainly competent with the standard 2.0-liter engine. Acceleration with this engine is slower than most rivals, so those who desire a bit of speed might want to look into the more powerful turbocharged V6.

Acceleration6.5

Around town between lights and at relatively low speed, the 2.0-liter MKZ feels peppy. On the highway, it has only enough power for carefully executed passing maneuvers. Our AWD tester went from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is about a second slower than average for the segment.

Braking8.0

Brake pedal has plenty of feel and engages with the quick touch of your foot. It's easy to modulate the brake pressure, which makes for smooth stops in city traffic. In simulated panic braking, the MKZ came to a stop from 60 mph in 113 feet, which is a few feet shorter than average for this segment.

Steering6.0

Steering effort is fairly light across the board. Selecting Sport mode gives the MKZ's steering more heft, but not much more. And the overfall feel is detached and numb, giving no clue as to the quality of the road surface or which direction the wheels are pointing.

Handling7.0

The MKZ comes standard with an adaptive suspension that helps it travel through corners in a relatively flat and composed manner. This isn't exactly a canyon-carver, but it handles curves well, especially when you take into account its considerable size.

Drivability7.0

A six-speed automatic transmission is paired with the MKZ's standard 2.0-liter motor. Shifts around town are smooth and quick, and there isn't a bunch of roaming between the gears when you're going up a steep grade.

Comfort7.5

The standard MKZ is smooth on the highway with relatively comfortable seats and a refined 2.0-liter engine. It's quiet and reserved almost all of the time with lots of available extras to keep you cozy.

Seat comfort7.0

Optional multi-contour seats are a bit firm, and it's initially difficult to find a comfortable seating position despite their adjustability. Once you find an agreeable setting, however, you'll never need to change it again. Numerous lumbar bladders inflate and deflate to provide a massaging function.

Ride comfort8.0

The MKZ rides stiffer than you might expect from a compact luxury sedan, but it still makes for a good road-trip car. Broken pavement sends some small thunks and thuds through the cabin, but nothing major. Optional 19-inch wheels are not recommended if comfort is a priority because they add sharpness.

Noise & vibration8.0

At idle, the 2.0-liter engine is relatively calm. It doesn't rumble, just sort of hums, and not much engine noise makes its way into the cabin. When you floor it to get on the freeway, there's only a hint of a whine. At highway speeds the MKZ is quiet enough for whisper-level conversations.

Climate control6.5

The standard dual-zone automatic climate control has a hard time coping with lots of sunlight, so things get sweaty quickly if you don't lower the temp. Heated/ventilated front seats are standard on the Reserve. The reasonably priced Climate package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Interior7.5

The MKZ's interior has several appealing virtues, but it's outclassed by top luxury rivals. Although there is more than enough space up front, the sleek, sloping roof limits rear headroom. Avoid the panoramic sunroof if you plan on transporting tall adults in the back seat regularly.

Ease of use8.0

Most of the MKZ's controls are user-friendly. Dual-zone automatic climate controls are within reach of both the driver and passenger, although the buttons on the right side of the screen require a stretch.

Getting in/getting out7.0

Front door openings are wide and the seats are mounted high enough that sliding in is a breeze. Getting in the rear seat requires ducking because of the sloping roof. The easy-entry memory feature moves the front seat very far back, so you might want to disable it if you frequently transport rear passengers.

Driving position8.0

A significant range of motion for the driver seat and the power-adjustable steering wheel should make it easy for most drivers to find an ideal driving position.

Roominess7.0

Although exterior dimensions are typical for a large sedan, the MKZ can feel tight inside, possibly because it seems narrow. Front passengers have plenty of head- and legroom, rear legroom is above class average, but rear headroom is below par, especially with the optional panoramic sunroof.

Visibility6.5

Good forward visibility despite thick front pillars, but similarly large rear pillars mean big rear blind spots. A high trunklid inhibits rear visibility, and the panoramic sunroof blocks the top of the rear window when open. Rearview camera is standard but a surround-view camera is not available.

Quality7.5

The MKZ's cabin materials aren't as competitive as they once were. BMW and Mercedes interiors feel much more upscale. Our test MKZ had several build issues, including a flickering LED light, creaky armrest, burned-out ambient lighting strip and door/dash trim that didn't quite line up.

Utility7.5

The MKZ has a big trunk, fold-down rear seats and a bunch of places for water bottles and other small items. In general, it's pretty utilitarian for a luxury sedan. Installing kid seats isn't exactly a breeze, but it's doable.

Small-item storage7.5

Numerous storage areas include two cupholders in both front and rear consoles and cupholder cutouts in each door pocket, though none hold large cups. There are two trays beneath the center stack, a bin under the front armrest (that's a bit tough to reach) and a small space under the rear armrest.

Cargo space8.5

The standard MKZ's trunk has 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is right at the top of the class. The rear seats can be folded down for transporting longer and bulkier items.

Child safety seat accommodation6.5

There are four LATCH positions, two on each outboard rear seat, with three shelf anchors. But the LATCH hooks are set deep into the seat, and the surrounding cushion is stiff, making it difficult to push past and insert a car seat hook.

Technology8.0

Technology is one of the MKZ's strong points. The revised Sync 3 is easy to use and much faster than before. Voice controls are easy to learn, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. Avoid splurging for the optional 20-speaker stereo, though; it isn't as impressive as we hoped.

Audio & navigation7.0

Sync 3 is dramatically better than last year's MyLincoln Touch infotainment system. It's smooth, quick and easy to use with legible graphics. Unfortunately, the optional 20-speaker system is less dynamically impressive than rival upgraded systems. Satellite radio frequently loses signal.

Smartphone integration9.0

There's a USB port located at the bottom of the center stack and another under the armrest; the Select model adds two charge-only ports in the back. Phone pairing via Bluetooth is simple, and Sync 3 sorts through music catalogs quickly. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard with Sync 3.

Driver aids7.0

Adaptive cruise control modulates speed well without heavy braking when a car cuts you off. However, during our test of the MKZ, we did get a few false positives from the parking sensors and lane departure warning/mitigation system. ACC, lane keeping assist and other safety tech are mostly optional.

Voice control8.5

Sync has been good at this voice-control stuff for a long time now, and this newest Sync 3 is no different. It recognizes commands, changes radio stations, makes phone calls and selects songs all with simple structure commands that don't take long to learn at all. Siri Eyes Free is also present.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was 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.