By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
Lincoln’s 2017 MKZ luxury sedan gets a right proper facelift and a powerful new engine, helping this midsize-luxury sedan go head-to-head with the best from Europe and Japan. The 5-passenger MKZ offers a number of variations, including an all-wheel-drive model and fuel-efficient hybrid. Although no slouch in the curves, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan isn’t designed for the BMW set, but rather for those who appreciate a luxury sedan that delivers a smooth ride, a silent cabin and powerful engine. The MKZ feels more exclusive than a Lexus ES 350, more distinctive than a Cadillac ATS and more affordable than a loaded Mercedes-Benz C-Class. However, an Audi A4 or a Volvo S60 is certainly a more appealing competitor with a more substantial pedigree.
If you imagine a luxury car should pamper its passengers, delight with technological innovation and deliver a smooth but not soft ride, Lincoln’s 2017 MKZ luxury sedan won’t disappoint. Better still, the fuel-efficient hybrid trims carry the same price tag as their non-hybrid equivalents.
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The 2017 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan gets a new Continental-inspired front end. Also new is a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The 2.0-liter turbo gains five horsepower, and new options include full LED headlights and Driver’s package. Last year’s capacitive touch-slide controls are replaced by proper knobs and switches.
If you haven’t driven a Lincoln in the past 10 years, a few minutes behind the wheel of the 2017 MKZ midsize-luxury sedan may come as quite a...
... shock. The 2.0-liter engine is quite an eye-opener in and of itself, but the 400 horsepower/400 lb-ft of torque offered up by the new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 is nothing short of breathtaking. Handling is substantially enhanced when equipped with the optional Driver’s package that combines Lincoln’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring with an adjustable-shock setup offering three modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. The MKZ’s steering effort is still lighter and less precise than what you’ll experience in a BMW 3 Series or Infiniti Q50, but it’s pretty much in line with similar sedans from Lexus, Volvo and Acura. Inside Lincoln’s MKZ for 2017 one finds a well-insulated cabin free from obnoxious wind, road and engine noise.
Lincoln’s 2017 MKZ luxury sedan pushes the envelope with a modern twist on an old idea. In place of a traditional shift lever, gear changes are managed via five dash-mounted buttons. Unlike the old push-button systems of the 1950s, however, this one has appropriate safeguards preventing inadvertent gear selections.
LINCOLN DRIVE CONTROL
Those who wish to have more control over their MKZ’s performance will appreciate the 3-mode Lincoln Drive Control. A choice of Normal, Sport or Comfort sets different parameters for the shock setting, transmission shift points and traction control, as well as throttle and steering response.
While we generally like the exterior styling, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ's interior still gets mixed reviews. New seating material with Lincoln logos imprinted on the cloth feel a bit overdone, but the new center console with proper knobs and switches is a vast improvement over last year’s capacitive-feedback setup. MyLincoln Touch is also gone, replaced by a vastly improved Sync 3 system. 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.
For 2017, Lincoln’s MKZ luxury sedan gets a bold new face modeled after the Continental show car. While the new grille bears more than a passing resemblance to Jaguar’s signature grille, it works to make the MKZ look more of a player in this league. Although based on the Ford Fusion, Lincoln has done an admirable job with the MKZ's styling, giving it an upscale flair that its broader-market sibling lacks. The MKZ is loaded with simple but clever features such as 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 2017 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 Sync 3 that 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 2017 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 2017 Lincoln MKZ; a hybrid powertrain can be had at no additional cost if you prefer mpg over mph. Also on the roster is a 400-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (350 horsepower on front-drive cars), and its performance advantage over the base 4-cylinder is dramatic. 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
245 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg (FWD), 20/28 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: 41/38 mpg
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
400 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (AWD)
350 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (FWD)
400 lb-ft of torque @ 2,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (FWD), 17/26 mpg (AWD)
The 2017 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 Black Label can approach $61,000, but most buyers will be happy with a well-equipped Reserve trim that tops out around $50,000. These numbers put a 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve on par with the Lexus ES, but still 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, look at our Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to resale value, the 2017 MKZ retains residuals similar to the Acura TLX, but trails the rest of the segment by a few percentage points.