2018 Lincoln MKZ Review
2018 Lincoln MKZ Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Vehicle Test EngineerCalvin Kim is an automotive journalist at Edmunds.
- Comes well-equipped with many standard features
- Hybrid model available at no extra charge
- Impressively quick acceleration with turbocharged V6 engine option
- Underwhelming interior quality
- Short on interior space given its exterior size
- Slower-than-average acceleration with the base engine
The Lincoln MKZ enters 2018 essentially unchanged.
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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Lincoln MKZ Premiere 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.93 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$193/mo for MKZ Premiere
Avg. Midsize Car
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.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.4 / 10
Most luxury sedan buyers look overseas, but it could be worth your while to check out Lincoln's 2018 MKZ. You get a lot of features for your money and the option for a fuel-sipping hybrid version. In other aspects, however, the MKZ comes across as rather average.
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).
|Overall||7.4 / 10|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Which MKZ does Edmunds 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.
2018 Lincoln MKZ models
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.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Hot Rod Lincoln indeed
2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I have an MKZ Reserve with the 400 hp engine, AWD, Driver Sport Package, Technology Package, Luxury Package, Climate Package and Power Moonroof. In Midnight Sapphire Blue Metallic, it is absolutely stunning with the two-tone interior that comes with the Driver Sport Package. I really didn't see me driving a domestic car let alone a Lincoln as my most recent cars were all imports: Audi … S4, Volvo S60 R-Design, Infiniti M37 Sport and Infiniti M35 Sport. Nearly went for an Audi S5 Sportback as a replacement but the change from a supercharger to turbo was a little disappointing. The MKZ intrigued me especially the shape; much like an Audi S7 but thousands of $$$ less. A test drive absolutely sold me. I wanted something a little bigger than the Audi but would still go like stink and handle well. Lincoln absolutely has this car dialed in. There have been gripes about the quality of the interior materials and coming from an Audi which I think has one of the best interiors, I really can't complain. The comfort, technology, performance and overall satisfaction with the vehicle are all there for me. The upgraded Revel sound system is a ridiculous amount of money but worth every penny if you love your music as I do. The MKZ could use a 7 or 8 speed transmission to help with the fuel economy but if I was looking for great fuel economy I'd be driving a Prius. The best sleeper luxury performance sedan on the road. Fantastic car!!!
4 out of 5 stars
Serene Cruiser with sporting ambitions
2018 Lincoln MKZ Premiere 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I owned a 2017 Mazda 6 touring . With it's 19 inch wheels and dialed in suspension , it handled great . It was however , a little harsh in ride quality and higher in noise than I wanted as well as being a little underpowered. I went to my local lincoln / Mazda dealer to drive the 2018 Mazda 6 with the turbo and the signature package trim . The sales guy suggested that if I was going to … spend that much that I might want to check out the MKZ. I did ..and well, it was all over. I loved the way the MKZ drove and before I knew it , I was deciding between a white select package with cappuccino interior and the one I decided upon, the black velvet on ebony premiere with the magnetic package including a darker grill and 19" inch wheels . My car is the base MKZ with just this package as it's only option . With the incentive from dealer as well as all ncoln , I paid a little over 33k . For this price I don't believe the car can be beat in terms of value . When you walk up to the car the welcome lighting comes on in sequance and projects the Lincoln logo onto the ground by both the drivers and the front passenger door. Sit inside on the comfortable power seats with power lumbar and hit the start button. The start up is refined. I'm used to the Mazda and this thing is just quiet and elegant on start up . The LCD dash comes to life , your seating goes to its pre programmed place . Press the drive button on the dash and start your trip. The MKZ accelerates quickly and smoothly through the gears . Unless you are looking to drag race then this car has all the power you need with the 2.0 liter turbo in my opinion. The base lincoln premium sound stereo is not quite as good as the Bose in my Mazda but it's close. It's way better than some of the reviews here would have you believe. The black interior with the aluminum trim is very high tech looking to me. True , there are other cars in its class that have a more luxurious appearance but there are many little things here that denote luxury. From the auto hold braking, to the lighted door sills with Lincoln spelled out , the auto up and down feature on all 4 windows, remote start, back up sensors , soft touch materials on just about all surfaces, laminated glass, adaptive suspension and headlights that turn with your steering inputs, the trunk that sinches shut wh n you gently lower the lid and most of a all a truly , serene and quit ride . The Lincoln MKZ Is a bargain . Select sport mode and thrown it into an on ramp. It's holds the curve nearly as well as the Mazda while keeping much more composed. The climate control is good . The Lincoln app is just cool. Want to have you car start up on it's pre programmed time and read the ambient temp in order to determine to turn in the heated seats or the AC .I think it's possible to take it up over 50k and once you really get much past 45k there are alternative luxuaty cars with even more refinement and luxury but for the deal you can get on these thngs I don't think there is anything that can touch it for value.
4 out of 5 stars
Good value from a traditional American car company
Jonathan Quick, 10/29/2016
2017 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Reserve 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
UPDATE 12-27-17 Updating my review on this vehicle based on 14 months of ownership. Overall, I remain satisfied with my Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. In spite of some minor fit and finish issues, the styling of this sedan really stands out against a tired landscape of look-alike sedans from other car manufacturers. Fuel economy remains rock solid between 40 and 41 mpg in mixed city/highway … driving. ADAS features for accident avoidance, parking, and maintaining driver awareness have been great. Quiet comfort sticks out as a real differentiator compared to other vehicles in the entry level luxury sedan segment. The biggest issue with maintaining the vehicle has been the synchronization of firmware updates across the numerous vehicle subsystems within the car. Sync 3 had a lot of bugs at first, but three firmware updates later, all of the infotainment and navigation features appear to be working normally. Unfortunately, I had to make repeat visits to the dealership to stabilize other subsystems. The worst problem I have encountered was a drained battery that stranded my car in my own garage. Lincoln corrected the battery drain issue with a firmware update to the door control module. Although I have experienced a few warranty issues, my local Lincoln dealer and the Lincoln concierge service have done a great job of addressing my concerns. I would still recommend the MKZ Hybrid as a solid value compared to other vehicles in its class. However, prospective buyers should strongly consider purchasing Lincoln's extended warranty for this vehicle. ORIGINAL REVIEW I purchased a 2017 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Reserve w/ Technology package in September 2016. Purchase price was $8k - $20k below comparable European and Japanese alternatives. I have thus far driven the car about 2200 miles, about 80% highway driving and 20% city driving. Average MPG is around 40 - 42 mpg. Acceleration is adequate in most situations. The smoothness of the powertrain, well-tuned suspension, and the quiet cabin at highway cruising speeds really attracted me to this vehicle. Exterior appearance is impressive and fairly unique, but some of the exterior trim pieces are made of low quality plastic. Quality of interior materials is very good - particularly the wood trim and leather upholstery. ADAS features including adaptive cruise, accident avoidance, blindspot monitoring, backup-assist and lane-keep assist are very useful in day-to-day driving. Lincoln's driver assistance features are unobtrusive until really needed. The on-board infotainment system is light years ahead of Toyota and BMW in terms of usability, but the Sync 3 system has bugs around IPod indexing, accuracy of on-board clock, Android Auto compatibility, and stability of mobile apps. One bright spot in Sync 3 is Lincoln's NAV system coupled with Sirius traffic information, which is a real godsend for avoiding heavy traffic at rush hour. Unfortunately, the stability issues I've encountered in Sync 3 appear to extend to other vehicle subsystems. I presently suspect electrical gremlins are lurking in the interior lighting system and the sound system, although all installed equipment is performing normally for the moment. As long as reliability holds up, backed in part by Lincoln's long base warranty, I expect I will remain satisfied with this vehicle. I would recommend this vehicle to a friend or a family member, with reservations noted above regarding reliability.
5 out of 5 stars
Lincoln convert, 09/09/2016
2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
My Lincoln dealer got his first 2017 with the driver's package option. Not cheap at $3300 but oh so worth it. With the 400hp engine and AWD this thing is an Audi/BMW clone for tens of thousands less. Spent over an hour test driving it. Came back to the dealership and ordered my own. Left out the luxury package ($4400) and some other stuff. MSRP came in at just under $50K. Not an … Audi or a BMW but certainly close enough especially when factoring in the MSRP differential. Service costs will be dramatically less than with the Germans cars (I had 4 Audis over the course of 30 years). For 2017 Lincoln is offering to pick up your car at your home or place of business for service and return it to you. A nice touch. Nothing I will take advantage of as my local dealer is less than 4 miles from my house. My local Audi dealer was 30 miles away. The car is fast, quiet, comfortable, well put together, no wind noise, etc. Seems to be a great alternative to its German and Japanese counterparts.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Lincoln MKZ, so we've included reviews for other years of the MKZ since its last redesign.
2018 MKZ Highlights
|Combined MPG||40 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$98/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
Our experts like the MKZ models:
- Blind-Spot and Cross Traffic Alert
- Warns drivers of objects within vehicle's blind spot, and if cars are approaching from behind.
- Driver Alert System
- Alerts the driver to the possibility that they may be too tired to continue based on driving behavior.
- Enhanced Active Park Assist
- Helps drivers into and out of parking positions, by taking over the steering.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.9%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood