KBB Editors' Overview
By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 1/2/2013
Saviors come in many different forms. For Lincoln, the 2013 MKZ sedan represents the first of four new models debuting over the next three years whose prime directive is to resurrect the 95-year-old marque. With a renewed emphasis on styling, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ showcases an expressive design that, unlike its predecessor, bears little resemblance to the Ford Fusion on which it's based. And since the Lincoln name tends to conjure up imagery of rudimentary in-car electronics, the 2nd-generation MKZ has been outfitted with a bevy of technology that is both cutting-edge and relatively easy to use. The MKZ is also the only nameplate in the industry to offer a no-cost hybrid option. It may not be the knight in shining armor that Lincoln had in mind, but the 2013 MKZ remains a suitable alternative to the usual luxury suspects.
You'll Like This Car If...
If a stylish-yet-affordable luxury sedan outfitted with the latest in-vehicle technology sounds like an enticing proposition, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ deserves your consideration. In addition to class-leading fuel economy, the new MKZ hybrid's sub-$37K starting price makes it one of the most affordable hybrid luxury cars on the market.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you believe the design and construction of a true luxury vehicle begins with its platform, the Ford Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ might not be the car for you. To that end, the MKZ fails to evoke the same level of refinement and panache as its German and Japanese rivals.
What's New for 2013
2013 marks the 2nd generation of the Lincoln MKZ. In an effort to regain some credibility in the luxury space, Lincoln endowed its best seller with a sleek new exterior design, more powerful and fuel-efficient engines (including a hybrid powertrain), and a full menu of high-tech gizmos such as Active Park Assist that automatically steers the car into a parallel parking space.
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ carves through corners with more athleticism than you might expect. The new chassis has greatly improved the steering's precision and feel. However, the MKZ is considerably larger than its fellow mid-size competitors, and with a base curb weight of 3,719 pounds, lacks the agility of cars like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 350 and the vaunted BMW 3 Series. Road, engine and wind noise are well-muted thanks to the additional layers of sound deadening material and the new active noise control feature that works like noise-cancelling headphones to further neutralize aural unpleasantries. In terms of power, the base turbocharged 4-cylinder is our favorite engine of the bunch, striking an excellent balance between performance and efficiency. Shifts from the 6-speed automatic are reasonably prompt, though not exactly smooth. On the other hand, the MKZ hybrid's gearless continuously variable transmission provides smooth getaways from stoplights and a virtually effortless driving experience.
To free up space, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ features an innovative push-button gear selector in place of a traditional shifter. This vertical 5-button layout resides on the left-hand edge of the center stack, well within reach of the driver.
LINCOLN DRIVE CONTROL
Lincoln Drive Control combines settings for the adaptive suspension, electric power steering, transmission, throttle, and traction control into a single dial with three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Comfort and Sport. Simply put, the system helps tailor dynamic performance to your liking.
If the 2013 Lincoln MKZ has an Achilles' heel, it's the interior styling. The ergonomics are sound, but the materials, textures and drab design put its visual appeal at the bottom of the category. The touch-capacitive buttons are rather difficult to use due to poor response, and the lack of conventional audio and climate controls turns simple inputs into a maddening excursion through a vast sea of on-screen menus. The MKZ's sizable exterior dimensions do not translate to roomy interior quarters, either, as rear-seat legroom and headroom are notably lacking.
The 2013 MKZ shares its fundamental architecture with the Ford Fusion, but that fact is largely disguised by the MKZ's distinctive new design. The significantly revised sheet metal provides this mid-size sedan with a more elegant, up-market flair all its own. In keeping with the current industry trend of enlarging front grilles to absurd proportions, the new MKZ sports a massive split-wing grille, which replaces Lincoln's previous vertical "waterfall" design. Standard across the board, the capless fuel filler is undoubtedly the unsung hero of modern automotive ingenuity, as it eliminates the need for a twist-off gas cap.
Notable Standard Equipment
Positioned as a value-oriented luxury brand, Lincoln is notorious for offering vehicles with a treasure trove of standard features, and the 2013 MKZ is no exception. High-end goodies include heated front seats, leather upholstery, an adaptive suspension that adjusts to changing road and driving conditions, full LED taillights, an 11-speaker audio system, and the MyLincoln Touch multimedia hub with an 8-inch display and conversational voice-recognition software. With a strong emphasis on passenger safety, the MKZ comes equipped with eight airbags, a comprehensive suite of stability control systems, and Lincoln's SOS Post-Crash Alert System that activates the horn and hazard lights in the event of an airbag deployment.
Notable Optional Equipment
Most feature content is bundled into packages, though items such as 19-inch wheels, a panoramic roof, and power rear sunshade are available as a la carte options. Offered on both the standard and hybrid version, the Preferred equipment package includes premium creature comforts like heated rear seats, a THX II-certified 14-speaker sound system, and a power open/close trunklid. For those who long for the latest electronic gadgetry, there is a Technology package comprised of Active Park Assist, adaptive cruise control, and a lane keeping aid that adds steering torque to guide you back into the driving lane. Unlike its closest competitor, the Lexus ES, a moonroof is not included as standard fare.
Under the Hood
A new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylider serves as the base engine choice in the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. If you are willing to sacrifice some mph for a few extra mpg, a hybrid powertrain can be had at no additional cost. Also on the roster is a normally aspirated 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, though we feel its performance advantage over the base 4-cylinder is modest at best. Both conventional powerplants are matched with a 6-speed automatic, while the hybrid variant directs power through a continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, with all-wheel drive (AWD) restricted to non-hybrid models.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
231 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (regular fuel), 240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (premium fuel)
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg (FWD), 22/31 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter inline-4 and permanent magnet AC synchronous motor (hybrid)
188 net hybrid system horsepower
129 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline engine only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 45/45 mpg
300 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
277 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg (FWD), 18/26 mpg (AWD)
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $37,000. Adding all-wheel drive will set you back another $2,000. A fully-optioned MKZ can approach $50,000, which is on par with the Lexus ES, and thousands less than a loaded BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4. While the majority of entry-level luxury sedans undercut the MKZ's starting price, most also fail to offer a comparable level of standard equipment. To see what others in your area are paying for the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, take a look at our Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to resale value, the 2013 MKZ retains residuals similar to the Acura TL, but trails the rest of the segment by a few percentage points.