By KBB.com Editors
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The mid-size 2012 Lincoln MKZ sedan shares its platform with its corporate sibling the Ford Fusion, and they are both coming due for a freshening. However, that doesn't detract from the Lincoln MKZ's reliable service history, class-leading efficiency with the Hybrid model and reasonable transaction prices within its category. That category, however, is a moving target. GM, with the Cadillac CTS and Buick LaCrosse and Regal, and Chrysler, with the 300, have been updating their entries. But, for now, the MKZ represents a mid-size luxury car with a good record of reliability and decent efficiency, and at a not-extravagant price.
If you're looking for a mid-size, middle-class, medium-priced sedan with trappings of luxury, then the 2012 Lincoln MKZ has your number. To its credit, the Lincoln MKZ offers a competent drivetrain with its gasoline V6 and class-leading efficiency with its Hybrid.
If you believe the design and construction of a luxury car begins with its platform, the Ford Fusion-based 2012 Lincoln MKZ may not be for you.
There has been little more than tweaking for the 2012 model of the Lincoln MKZ, a reliable indicator that an all-new MKZ sedan is just over the horizon. In the interim, numerous premium features have been made standard, such as heated and cooled seats. And, as with most Ford passenger vehicles, there remains a huge emphasis on in-car technology, such as SYNC Applink. Finally, there are two new metallic colors: Crystal Champagne and Cinnamon.
Driving Impressions Despite the competence of the 2012 Lincoln MKZ sedan's Ford-Fusion underpinnings, it will likely not be confused with luxury cars that were engineered to that calling from the beginning. We...like the V6 powertrain and its performance, and the 2012 MKZ certainly drives with competence and predictability, but other mid-size luxury entrants offer superior driving experiences. It's competent and smooth enough, if not exciting, and more enthusiastic drivers will undoubtedly shop for something else, while those who do test-drive and choose the MKZ will almost certainly find it to be more than just satisfactory. There is one positive note for hybrid enthusiasts, however: The MKZ Hybrid can travel up to 47 miles per hour on the battery alone.
The 2012 Lincoln MKZ is a leader in its adaptation of a hybrid drivetrain to near-luxury architecture. And the result is compelling, with 191 total system horsepower and an EPA city fuel-economy rating of 41 miles per gallon.
Duratec 3.5 liter V6
An all-aluminum, DOHC V6 producing 263 horsepower while running on 87 octane gasoline is a beautiful thing, and Lincoln offers it. When connected to the standard-equipment 6-speed automatic, the V6 delivers competitive fuel economy, with an EPA city rating of 18 and highway rating of 27.
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 lift-over 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.
To its credit, Lincoln's design team has done a credible job in crafting a Lincoln "look" onto the platform the MKZ shares with the Ford Fusion. The front end does not lack for chrome and the prominent Lincoln "waterfall" grille wraps into the headlamps with a distinctive appearance. And, whether you like or don't like chromed alloy wheels, those on the MKZ are rather pleasant.
Lincoln's record of reliability is perhaps one of the 2012 MKZ's most notable items of "standard equipment," as J.D. Power has cited the Lincoln MKZ for its very low number of problems per 100 vehicles - and this was out of 35 brands. On the hardware front, Lincoln's product team offers LincolnSYNC, which provides an "omnipresent link to contacts and information." Lincoln's Premium Sound System provides nine speakers and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (and a 6-month subscription). And standard heated and cooled front seats should play well in Alaska, Arizona and, depending upon the time of year, just about anywhere in between.
Useful options for the 2012 Lincoln MKZ include the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and a rear-view camera; both are available with Lincoln's optional Navigation Package. And, for those living in places where the weather can be difficult, the MKZ's available all-wheel drive (AWD) is an easy way to enhance all-season safety. Finally, a Sport Appearance Package adds 18-inch wheels and tires, a sport-tuned suspension and numerous interior and exterior appearance enhancements.
The MKZ sedan's 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve aluminum Duratec 3.5-liter V6 delivers 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque through a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. The Duratec V6 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. The MKZ's hybrid drivetrain combines a 2.5-liter DOHC in-line 4-cylinder with 156 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque, matched with an electric motor rated at 106 horsepower. The result is 191 total system horsepower and a city EPA rating of 41 miles per gallon.
263 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
249 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (front-wheel drive); 17/25 (AWD)
2.5-liter inline 4 (hybrid)
156 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
136 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250 rpm
Electric AC Synchronous Motor
106 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
191 Total System Horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 41/36
Notably, both FWD gasoline and FWD Hybrid models of the 2012 Lincoln MKZ have base Manufacturer's Suggest Retail Prices (MSRPs) of roughly $35,000. Adding all-wheel drive - which isn't available on the hybrid model - will cost just under $2,000. To its credit, Lincoln provides a lengthy list of standard equipment for the MKZ, so necessary options are relatively few. We "built" an all-wheel drive 2012 Lincoln MKZ online and were "out the door" for under $40,000, plus taxes, title and license fees and not including any negotiation in the purchase price. Be sure and check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2012 MKZ. As equipped, the window sticker is in line with the Lexus ES 350, Cadillac CTS and Chrysler's 300C. If you consider, however, the real cost of ownership as including the effects of the trade-in value, the Lincoln will fall short of its direct domestic competition, and will be even further short of models from Acura, Audi or Infiniti.
By Andrew (DE) on Saturday, June 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "a delight to drive"
Cons: "gas mileage could be better, but uses reg gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"A family sedan, sports car, cargo carrier... this car does it all. Not a single problem after 58,000 miles. fwd handles as well in all conditions as my last MKZ which was AWD. Getting about 29 highway, but only 18 city. A delight to drive. Nice looking, too."
By LivingLaVidaLincoln (CO) on Friday, June 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel Efficiency, Smooth/Quiet Ride, Elegant Style"
Cons: "Awkward cupholder location, smaller hybrid trunk"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have a 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid with 17,000 miles (purchased near the end of 2011). I can't tell you how impressed we continue to be with this car. We average 44 mpg, with it being a regular occurrence for us to obtain 60-70mpg+ in our daily errands around town. We even manage to hit that coveted "99mpg" mark in regular fashion as we drive from one errand to another in town (usually on warm weather days). Getting the most out of a hybrid means changing how you drive. Get up to speed quickly (while not "jackrabbitting") and then pulse with the accelerator or use the cruise control on even surfaces. "Pulsing" the acclerator (using it for brief periods of time to get back up to and/or maintain speed and then take foot off accelerator while the car coasts/cruises down the road) works very well. The interior and exterior styling is pleasingly elegant, with the leather seats a plush experience, the wood trim attractive, and the heated/cooled seats a delight. The sound system is excellent. We love the headroom, opting to not have a moonroof allowed me (6'2" tall) to have plenty of space between my head the and the interior's roof. The ride is remarkably smooth, even with the hybrid's "Low Rolling Resistance" tires, and the cabin is very quiet when cruising down the highway. Overall, we keep mentioning to each other how this Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has outperformed all our expectations in ride, comfort, styling and fuel efficiency (we get 700+ miles per tank!) We love our Lincoln MKZ Hybrid!!!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Lincoln girl (DC) on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Folded back seats, roof, drive, mpg, controls"
Cons: "back seats headroom"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Was shopping for more than a year for a hybrid, tried them all and eventually got my MKZ 2013 hybrid. Even though MKZ is criticized for being pricey, the hybrid version is still the best deal among its class as the hybrid doesn't have the price premium vs other brands. It stands out among other options (ES, 3 series, A4, E series) due to its incredible 46 mpg and design. I record regularly 43 mpg on mine, and once it shown 47mpg. Something as a recommendation for Lincoln - they did a mistake on their website by not mentioning the folding back seats with opening for the skies. The actual cargo capacity of MKZ is in fact much larger with back seats folded. This feature was a deal breaker for me while choosing between ES hybrid and MKZ in the favor of the latter."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By FangStang (MO) on Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quiet, comfortable, reliable, excellent in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The MKZ has been excellent. With AWD I have been able to get through the snow without issue. The traction has been great. A daily driver city/highway combination has averaged 22+ MPG. Quiet ride and very comfortable on long trips. Would consider this car again when time to trade."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By R p (MA) on Saturday, April 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price comfort mpg etc."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Could have bought other cars but this one stood out. Love every thing about it. Got hybrid for same price! All the option in this one ."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Nelson (MI) on Sunday, April 21, 2013
I want this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Priced competitively, still not a Mercedes or BMW"
Cons: "Interior Controls too aggresive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Dealer not well versed with product. Did not know basic controls and misinformed customer about product details. Interior appears to be clean but appears to be very cumbersome to control basic functions. Judging from past experience the touch controls will be a nuisance rather than a convenience. Wish they had knobs for temp and radio tuning and volume controls. I liked the Mercedes C class much better. The map guidance is great with speed limits of the streets that you are driving on showing up. Glare on the screen makes it difficult to read. Odometer and speedometer graphics is very subdued. The Ford Escape has a more vibrant odometer/speedometer."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful