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. Building on this proven platform, Lincoln combines the most powerful 3.5-liter V6 Ford engine available (the same used in the Fusion Sport), the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and available "intelligent" all-wheel drive to create the mid-size 2011 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.
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 2011 Lincoln MKZ 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.
For 2011, HD Radio is added to the available voice-activated navigation system, while the all-new MKZ Hybrid begins its first year in production (reviewed separately.)
Driving Impressions The 2011 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. The six-speed SelectShift automatic allows the driver to manually shift gears with no forced upshifts and an "enhanced overdrive cancel" mode locks out the fifth and sixth gears permitting shifts at higher speeds for better engine braking.
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 18 EPA city miles per gallon and 27 on the highway with two-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.
Inside the ultra-quiet, premium-quality cabin are generous portions of real wood, aluminum-look trim 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 split-wing 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 2011 Lincoln 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 2011 Lincoln MKZ comes with automatic on/off headlamps, leather seating, heated and cooled 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, SYNC communications system, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and auxiliary audio input jack, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and two 12-volt outlets. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, Reverse Sensing System, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with traction control and six air bags: Dual-stage fronts, front seat-mounted side and side-curtain for both seating rows.
Among the many MKZ options are chromed wheels, a power moonroof, Adaptive High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, ambient floor lighting, 14-speaker THX II-Certified premium audio with 10 gigabyte Jukebox hard drive and SIRIUS Travel Link, voice activated navigation, rear back up camera, rain sensing wipers, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and remote start.
The MKZ's 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve aluminum Duratec 35 V6 delivers 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque through a smooth-shifting 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: 18/27 (FWD); 17/24 (AWD)
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."
7 people out of 10 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."
8 people out of 13 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."
4 people out of 5 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."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Norm on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, mpg, quietness,handling"
Cons: "high rate of depreciation,chrome overlay on wheel"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the best car I have ever had for long-distance trips. It is very roadworthy, not requiring constant attention to the "helm". The ride i s controlled without being harsh. Everything is within easy reach. The seats are very supportive and comfortable. Climate control is great. A bonus is the great MPG. On two, three thousand mile trips, it averaged 30mpg while driving 75-80 on the Interstate. The average includes a minimal amount of driving at destination. High mileage was 32. Not bad for this V-6. Is this a great car or what? The car is quiet!"
11 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Sheil on Monday, June 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice looking body"
Cons: "doesn't hold value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"this car lost value due to a restyling on lincolns part - suspension on this car is awful - never take a long trip in it - not comfortable - would never buy another lincoln - they certainly did not protect their consumer who owned lincolns prior to 2012 as I was told that because of the restyling, my 2009 dropped dramatically in resale value... I paid $26K for this car in 2012 and have been offered $12500 on a trade in 2014 towards another lincoln..seriously?"
10 people out of 15 found this review helpful