By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.1
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.
If your idea of a luxury car places an emphasis on luxury and comfort over no-holds-barred performance, then the 2014 Lincoln MKZ deserves a good hard look. Impressive fuel economy on the hybrid model comes without the hybrid model premium markup.
KBB Expert Ratings
After a complete refresh last year, there are no major changes to the 2014 Lincoln MKZ.
Driving Impressions Although it's no BMW, the 2014 Lincoln MKZ can take a turn with more athleticism and stability than one might expect. Lincoln has taken pains to improve steering feedback and...... precision, and the effort has paid off. However, the MKZ's is considerably larger than its midsize rivals and its additional weight precludes it from matching the agility of such cars as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Cadillac ATS. From a luxury-car standpoint, the MKZ scores high by offering a hushed cabin aided by an advanced electronic noise-canceling system. The MKZ's ride is also luxury-car smooth, something lacking in many luxury makes that emphasize handling over ride comfort. The MKZ's turbocharged 4-cylinder engine does a good job of delivering exhilaration and economy; we'd take it over the optional V6. We generally found the 6-speed automatic to operate smoothly and efficiently, and were even more impressed by the hybrid model's gearless CVT that provided a virtually effortless driving experience.
To free up space, the 2014 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 2014 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.Exterior
The 2014 MKZ shares its fundamental architecture with the Ford Fusion, but that fact is largely disguised by the MKZ's distinctive design. The significantly revised sheetmetal provides this midsize 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.
Positioned as a value-oriented luxury brand, Lincoln has become synonymous with offering vehicles loaded with a treasure trove of standard features, and the 2014 MKZ is no exception. High-end items 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.
Most feature content is bundled into packages, though options such as 19-inch wheels, a panoramic roof and power rear sunshade are available a la carte. 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 comprising 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.
A new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylider serves as the base engine choice in the 2014 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
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
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 2014 Lincoln MKZ carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $37,000. Adding AWD 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 2014 Lincoln MKZ, take a look at our Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to resale value, the 2014 MKZ retains residuals similar to the Acura TL, but trails the rest of the segment by a few percentage points.