By KBB.com Editors
In 2006 Ford introduced its Ford Fusion mid-size sedan and its divisional platform-mates the 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. Building on this proven platform, Lincoln adopts a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission and available "intelligent" all-wheel drive to create the mid-size 2009 Lincoln MKZ (pronounced "M-K-Z") luxury sedan. Although the name is confusingly similar to the MKX crossover and new MKS luxury sedan, Lincoln simply follows a long line of luxury manufacturers whose marketers prefer letters and numbers to easily-recognizable names.You'll Like This Car If...
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 would fulfill your needs and desires, the 2009 Lincoln MKZ may be an excellent choice.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2009
A special "Midnight Black" package adds a black-themed interior with perforated black leather seating and contrasting piping. Lincoln's AdvanceTrac stability control is now standard on all MKZs.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2009 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, thanks 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 no way to manually control gear choice and shift timing.Favorite Features
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 of 19 EPA city miles per gallon and 27 on the highway with two-wheel drive, and one less mile per gallon on both city and highway 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 standard.