March 20, 2017
BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE WANTS A CROSSOVER/SUV 2.0
— 2017 Lincoln MKZ
by Jim Corbran
Last week we began our look at “normal” cars (a.k.a. not a pickup/crossover/SUV) with the compact Chevy Sonic. This week we move up a notch in size with the Lincoln MKZ, which the Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a Midsize Car.
The MKZ was introduced by Lincoln for model year 2006 as the Lincoln Zephyr; the name change came about a year later as Lincoln seems to have decided that its nomenclature wasn’t confusing enough, and the newly-named MKZ joined the MKX, which would eventually be followed by the MKC and MKT (Lincoln has finally broken the MK_ chain with the new Lincoln Continental.).
Based on Ford’s popular Fusion sedan, the 2017 MKZ wears Lincoln’s newest signature front end, which IMO resembles a marriage between a Bentley and a Jaguar. Not bad company to be in, but also not very original. If I were paying the bigger bucks for the new Continental (with a starting MSRP of almost 44 grand) I’d be a little miffed that my neighbor’s $35,000 MKZ looked the same from the front. As you may gather, I’m not a big fan of “signature” grilles across the line, no matter how attractive they are.
At least the rear of the MKZ is unique-looking. It wears a wall-to-wall taillight which spans a rather heavy-looking rear end. The illusion of a larger rear window is created with a blackout treatment at the front edge of the trunklid, which becomes rather strange-looking when the optional retractable panoramic glass roof is in full-open mode, as it covers half of the rear window. At least it’s see-through.
Where the Lincoln pedigree really shines through with the MKZ is on the inside. Lincoln tells us that in order to “…give you a luxurious grip on your driving, they wrapped the steering wheel in Wollsdorf pure cowhide leather from Central Europe and the Alpine region.” I’m sure that makes a difference somehow, but I’m not sure why it’s any better than Montana cowhide. Buyers have a choice of interior finishes, including aluminum, real wood, or carbon-fiber trim. Seating and door panel coverings are available in five colors, four of which are the usual black, tan, or gray, but there’s a fifth color called Terracotta, which looks great with the Brown Walnut Swirl trim.
The 2017 MKZ comes in four different trim levels: Premiere ($35,170), Select ($36,290), Reserve ($39,670), and Black Label ($47,830). All are also available as Hybrids for the same MSRP. Non-hybrid models have a choice of Front- or All-Wheel-Drive. Powertrains are the standard 2.0L GTDI I-4 with twin-scroll turbocharging, while a $4,500 option is the 3.0L Twin Turbo-charged V-6, which produces 400 hp (350 in AWD models); both engines are connected to a six-speed automatic transmission, which seems to be a low number of gears these days, especially at this price point.
Am I being especially hard on the MKZ? Perhaps. But as a long-time Ford/Lincoln fan, I’m really pulling for them to get out of the funk they seem to have been in for decades.
The MKZ is a step up from the Ford Fusion, but so was the Mercury Whateveritwas. The new Lincoln Continental could be the real first step in a journey back to sales respectability — and street cred. The non-MK_ name certainly won’t hurt. (And using Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – seen at the bottom right — in their ads is def a plus in my book!)
More info, or build your own at lincoln.com
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