By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
The 2016 Lincoln MKZ sedan continues to gain momentum in the hotly contested midsize-luxury-sedan segment. To stand apart, Lincoln gives the 5-passenger MKZ a number of desirable configurations, including the option of AWD and a fuel-efficient hybrid model. Not intended as a tightly tuned sports sedan, the MKZ is free to fill a growing void in the luxury-car segment, one where a soft ride is increasingly hard to find. While its clearest competitor is the Lexus ES 350, the MKZ’s toughest competition comes from the car from which it is based: the 2016 Ford Fusion. As the two cars often share a common showroom, the less costly and more stylish Fusion may cannibalize younger buyers Lincoln is desperately trying to win over.
If your idea of a luxury sedan is one that coddles its occupants while dripping in advanced technology, Lincoln’s MKZ sedan for 2016 may very well be your next car. The hybrid version includes all the same equipment as its gasoline counterpart at no additional charge.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2016 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan carries over largely unchanged from the previous model year.
If you’re anticipating the 2016 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan to ride and drive like the old rear-drive Town Cars of the past, you’re in for a surprise. Although it’s no...
... sports sedan, the MKZ feels competent in the corners and with its V6, even slightly athletic. The MKZ’s smooth ride and soft steering are at odds with setups found on such cars as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS, but we think there are still a number of luxury buyers who will appreciate what Lincoln has created. Extensive sound-cancelation techniques create a hushed cabin, and the MKZ’s softer suspension does an outstanding job of isolating occupants from the road. The standard 2.0-liter turbo is surprisingly efficient at moving the big MKZ, but it’s the 3.7-liter V6 that is the best choice. The hybrid model, while not particularly quick, returns impressive fuel economy in most situations.
In the 2016 Lincoln MKZ, five dash-mounted buttons replace the traditional “PRNDL” shift lever. Although this design dates back to the 1950s, Lincoln’s modern interpretation is all-electronic with appropriate safety precautions to avoid accidental shifts. The design also frees up more storage space in the center console.
LINCOLN DRIVE CONTROL
Giving the driver more say in how the MKZ performs, Lincoln Drive Control can adjust the settings for the steering, transmission shift points, throttle response, traction control and suspension, all via a single control with three modes: Normal, Sport and Comfort.
While we generally like the exterior styling, the 2016 Lincoln MKZ's interior needs improvement. It's laid out well enough, but the materials, textures and design aren't luxurious enough to compete in this class. The MyLincoln Touch controls are a hassle to use, and we dislike having to navigate touch-screen menus just to perform simple tasks. Despite being a large car on the outside, this Lincoln's interior is surprisingly cramped. Rear-seat legroom and headroom are especially in short supply.
The Lincoln MKZ is based on the Ford Fusion, but you'd never know it just by looking. Lincoln has done an admirable job with the MKZ's styling, giving it an upscale flair that its broader-market sibling lacks. We do think that the grille design is overdone – the trend to huge grilles on cars can stop any time now – but we especially like the capless-fuel-filler system, which allows you to refill without getting your hands dirty, or forgetting the fuel cap.
Lincoln has positioned itself as a value-oriented luxury brand, and there's no doubt that the Lincoln MKZ for 2016 is stuffed with a lot of equipment for the price. There are heated front seats, leather upholstery, an adaptive suspension, LED taillights, and a really good 11-speaker audio system. There's also MyLincoln Touch standard, which uses an 8-inch display and voice-recognition software to control a wide variety of functions. Each MKZ also comes with eight airbags, stability control, and Lincoln's SOS Post-Crash Alert System that activates the horn and hazard lights in the event of an airbag deployment.
Three equipment groups are offered with Lincoln’s 2016 MKZ sedan. Premier is the standard-issue car, but the Select group adds a rearview camera and parking sensors, plus HD Radio. The top-line Reserve group adds navigation with voice recognition, blind-spot information and a power trunk. Individual options include heated rear seats, a THX II-certified 14-speaker sound system, and your choice of moonroofs, including a panoramic roof. A Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and Active Park Assist. The Black Label Series brings a personal touch, with your own shopping concierge, additional paint colors and four unique interior-design layouts.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder serves as the base engine choice in the 2016 Lincoln MKZ, or if you prefer, a hybrid powertrain can be had at no additional cost if you prefer mpg over mph. Also on the roster is a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, though its performance advantage over the base 4-cylinder isn't as noteworthy as the benefit to refinement. 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 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: 41/39 mpg
300 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
277 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (FWD), 17/24 mpg (AWD)
The 2016 Lincoln MKZ carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $36,000. All-wheel drive adds another $2,000. A fully optioned MKZ can approach $50,000, 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 Lincoln MKZ, take a look at our Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to resale value, the 2016 MKZ retains residuals similar to the Acura TLX, but trails the rest of the segment by a few percentage points.