By KBB.com Editors
For 2006 Ford introduced its all-new Ford Fusion mid-size sedan and divisional platform mates Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr, all based on Japanese partner Mazda's well-respected Mazda6 front-wheel-drive architecture. All three have earned media praise, strong quality reviews and good first-year sales. Now comes a new, more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, available "intelligent" all-wheel drive andconsistent with Lincoln's new naming conventiona brand new moniker (pronounced "M-K-Z") confusingly similar to those of its new MKX crossover and soon-to-come MKS luxury sedan stablemates and, as far as that goes, far too many other entries whose makers seem to pick their names from a can of alphabet soup.
If a boldly styled, beautifully trimmed, solidly built, well equipped and reasonably priced American mid-size luxury sedan that feels and drives more like a European import might fulfill your needs and desires, this may be an excellent choice.
Lincoln long competed head-to-head with GM's Cadillac at the top of the U.S. market but has lost a lot of luster in recent years. If brand image ranks higher than comfort, value and substance on your priority list, you may want to look elsewhere.
Handsome, classy and nicely turned out, Lincoln's first all-new sedan since the Jaguar-based, rear-wheel-drive LS is well suited to compete with "near-luxury" imports and attract more affluent buyers to Lincoln-Mercury showrooms, and the renamed 2007 MKZ's much-improved powertrain and other upgrades make it that much more competitive. But why jettison an excellent name with strong Lincoln heritage in favor of a soulless acronym after just one year? We think this car is good enough to succeed on its own, whatever it's called, but the label change is confusing.
Driving Impressions The Lincoln MKZ's specially tuned, fully independent suspension rides a bit softer than the more sport-tuned Ford Fusion's but retains nearly all of the fun-to-drive Fusion's responsiveness and agility. Partly...due to the car's stiff structure, its rack-and-pinion steering is precise, with good on-center feel, and transmits little vibration back to the steering wheel due to its mounting on the isolated front subframe. The available "intelligent" all-wheel drive monitors and predicts traction at all four wheels and delivers torque to those with the best grip. There is an overdrive lock-out switch for the six-speed transmission (primarily for hilly roads) but, unfortunately, no way to manually control gear choice and shift timing.
Standard Duratec 35 V6 Engine
Ford has long needed a smoother, more powerful, state-of-the-art V6 for its upscale mid-size entries, and this is it. Along with strong performance, it delivers respectable fuel economy at 19 EPA city miles per gallon and 27 on the highway with two-wheel drive, and one less mile per gallon on both tests with available four-wheel drive.
Optional THX II-Certified Premium Audio
This 600-watt, 14-speaker system delivers surround-sound worthy of an upscale cinema. An MP3 audio input jack and SIRIUS Satellite Radio are also available.
Inside the ultra-quiet, premium-quality cabin are generous portions of real wood, satin nickel and chrome accents. Rear-seat space is surprisingly generous with more than three feet of legroom. The trunk is a best-in-class 15.8 cubic feet, with a flat floor and low liftover height for easy access, and the compact decklid hinges won't crush or interfere with your cargo. The class-exclusive standard 60/40-split rear seats fold flat, with a convenient pop-down spring assist, for easy storage access or to extend the cargo floor straight through from rear deck to front seats.Exterior
Lincoln says its modern image target is "earned reward" or "American dream," rather than "old world" flashy or "ostentatious luxury," which translates to quiet, casual, confident and more understated design. With its bold waterfall grille, jewel-like quad projector-beam headlamps, judicious use of chrome trim and low-profile tires on 17-inch, eight-spoke machined aluminum wheels, the MKZ certainly looks the part of a credible mid-size luxury sedan. Around back are large wrap-around taillamps and twin chrome exhausts.
The nicely-equipped Lincoln MKZ comes with automatic on/off headlamps, leather seating, 10-way power front seats, tilt/telescoping four-spoke steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, dual-zone climate control, power heated mirrors, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry with exterior keypad, MP3-capable audio with six-CD changer and two 12-volt outlets. Standard safety features include four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and traction control and six air bags: Dual-stage fronts, front seat-mounted side and side-curtain bags for both seating rows.
Among the many MKZ options are chromed wheels, a power moonroof, heated and cooled front seats, High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, 14-speaker THX II-Certified premium audio, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and DVD navigation.
The MKZ's all-new 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve aluminum Duratec 35 V6 delivers 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque through a new six-speed, wide-ratio, multiple-clutch automatic transmission. It boasts variable intake valve timing, a dual-plenum intake manifold and a relatively high 10.3:1 compression ratio to optimize its balance of performance and efficiency.
263 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
249 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (FWD); 18/26 (AWD)
By Anders on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is hands down the best vehicle that I have owned. Its smooth driving and options make it an enjoyable ride. I have had many offers to sell it, but I couldn't imagine walking away from the reliability that this car has brought my family."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Kenneth on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good initial price"
Cons: "No trade-in value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car would be perfect except for trade-in value! The 2012 Ford Edge w/similar original price is worth $5,000 (25%)more than the Lincoln. Are SUVs worth that much more? And my Lincoln doesn't even have the not very popular Ford/Lincoln Touch with navigation."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By DJ on Friday, October 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Overall a very nice car ....no complaints....New tires put on car august 2014. Beautiful amethyst metallic color."
14 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Nicole on Monday, October 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great handling in all weather conditions"
Cons: "Expensive to repair and maintain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love my 2010 MKZ. I have owned this car for 3 years and have no complaints. I have AWD which is amazing in our heavy snowfall. The heated seats are also a blessing. I am so glad I went with a Lincoln instead of an import."
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By Charles on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "extremely dependable with no visits to repair shop"
Cons: "Back seat could be a little roomier."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Rides smooth and comfortable. Decent gas mileage, but could be better. Absolutely ZERO repairs, just routine maintenance. Would definitely recommend Lincoln and will most likely buy another one."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By dd on Saturday, August 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, attractive appearance, comfortable"
Cons: "price, defective tail light, defective electronics"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"A beautiful car with potential electronic success. We have a constant chirp/chime that no one has been able to find or correct. The tail lights go out every six months. Otherwise, I could love it."
11 people out of 16 found this review helpful