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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.
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.
For 2010, the MKZ receives a new front and rear fascia design, LED tail lamps, and a new instrument panel and center console. New available features include rain sensing wipers, Adaptive HID headlamps, voice activated navigation and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).
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.
The 2014 MKZ competes with an established field of luxury brands, so its unique styling and plentiful standard-feature roster are not the only tricks up Lincoln's sleeve. To make the MKZ stand out, Lincoln touts the availability of an all-wheel drive (AWD) model as well as an extremely fuel-efficient hybrid trim priced identically to its gasoline-only equivalent. A clever marketing campaign seeks to associate the MKZ with younger buyers who may be seeking comfort over performance. However, as many Lincoln showrooms reside inside Ford dealerships it may be a tough sell, especially when buyers can get into a loaded Ford Fusion with many of the same features as the MKZ but in a less expensive and arguably more attractive car.