By on April 7, 2010

The logic behind the Lincoln MKZ is clear enough: if Toyota can get away with making a Lexus out of a Camry, why can’t Ford do the same with a Fusion? The ES 350 is arguably convincing as a Lexus (I’d argue pro, if not with much vigor, while there’s no shortage of people who’d take the other side). But does the MKZ make for a convincing Lincoln?

The MKZ spent one year as the Zephyr, and received a more thorough revision for 2010. Both the grille—Lincoln’s current twin waterfall—and the tail lamps have gotten larger, in the current fashion. Unlike with the Fusion’s tri-bar, the supersizing doesn’t hurt. But the grille does nothing for the side view, from which the MKZ, though handsome, appears much less distinctive. Even with bespoke sheetmetal fore and aft of the doors, the midsize Lincoln sedan doesn’t look even as different from the Fusion as the ES does from the Camry. The money for dedicated fenders was not well spent—this is the way GM used to do it. If you’re going to spring for unique metal, spend a little more to alter the basic shape.

A larger problem: the MKZ doesn’t look much different than any other conventionally packaged three-box sedan. Ask a kid to draw a sedan, and he’d likely draw this. I dropped by a Buick showroom while driving this car, and the LaCrosse makes the MKZ appear just so twentieth century in comparison.

This story continues inside the MKZ. The Zephyr and pre-refresh MKZ had a three-quarter Town Car IP that, though certainly dated, was definitely Lincolnesque. There’s nothing remotely memorable about the new IP with the possible exception of the lighted hash marks that ring the instruments—a trait shared with other current Lincolns. Some other bits of style: the light gray piping on the steel gray seats and a tasteful level of chrome trim. The interior materials, while not those of a $41,000 car, are certainly better than those in the Fusion. The padded door panels are an especially welcome upgrade. But the Fusion should have door panels this nice, rather than the econo-car moldings it does have. A Lincoln interior should be nicer still. Beginning with the sound the doors make when pulled shut.

One dividend of the MKZ’s conventional packaging: good visibility to the front and sides. The thick-pillared, high-belted LaCrosse can’t touch it here. The front seats, though less cushy than those in the larger MKS, provide good lateral support. Together with the hand-operated parking brake, they suggest that we might even have a sport sedan on our hands. The rear seat, while fairly roomy, has on overly flat bottom cushion, for me among the least comfortable in any car.

Cargo is a strong point. Unlike in the MKS or the LaCrosse, the opening is as expansive as the trunk itself. Credit the conventional three-box shape. The hinges are the non-intrusive sort. And, for even more space, you can fold the rear seat. Can’t do that in a LaCrosse or a Lexus ES. One omission: no interior handle to close the trunk—you must touch the outer surface of the lid. Why?

A 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 remains the sole engine option. It’s no EcoBoost—if Ford offered that engine it could just put the MKZ on the enthusiast map—yet the sans-boost six is more than adequate.  If you don’t want a little torque steer, you want the optional all-wheel-drive. Fuel economy in mildly aggressive suburban driving was about 18.5—almost the same as the larger, heavier, considerably more powerful all-wheel-drive MKS EcoBoost. Go figure. The six-speed automatic can be manually shifted, which can be handy on curvy or hilly roads.

Manually shift a Lincoln, really? The tested MKZ was fitted with an optional sport suspension that certainly livens things up. After a few days in an MKS, this MKZ felt like a Miata until my reference point readjusted. It’s taut.

Perhaps too taut. With the sport suspension, the MKZ’s ride quality is often jittery, and occasionally crosses the line into harsh. I don’t recall the Fusion Sport riding this firmly, though certainly it must have? With a Ford badge and tighter steering I might have found this ride/handling balance agreeable, at least on the right road. In a Lincoln it seems…inappropriate.

Noise levels are fairly low, but not MKS low. When I drove an MKS with the regular suspension and a Milan back-to-back a few years ago, I found that the former was notably smoother and quieter. Possibly because the typical mainstream sedan has gotten so much smoother and quieter in recent years, I didn’t get the same premium feeling this time around. If the Fusion isn’t this smooth and quiet, it ought to be.

Perhaps it’s time to change our perceptions of what a Lincoln should be? Problem is, we need something to change them to. Like the MKS, but to an even greater degree, the MKZ lacks a coherent, distinctive character. The MKS at least had the “big and cushy with tons of stuff” thing down pat. As much as I hate to say it, the MKZ is just a mildly upgraded Fusion. Not a bad car by a long shot, since the Fusion is a good, reliable basis to start from. And at the right price I’d gladly recommend the MKZ, and certainly wouldn’t kick one out of my garage. But the $41,355 on the tested car’s sticker is not the right price. To deserve that kind of money, Lincoln needs to offer something more special. Perhaps the most telling indicator: while my luxury-loving wife hated to see the MKS go back, she hasn’t missed the MKZ for a moment.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online provider of automotive pricing and reliability data

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76 Comments on “Review: Lincoln MKZ...”


  • avatar
    blue adidas

    This trick doesn’t work with the Lexus and I don’t think it works here. While the ES sells well, it drags the entire brand down. It drags it down so much that, if it weren’t for the LS, Lexus could barely be considered a luxury brand. And while I don’t think much of Lexus, it is a much more respected brand than Lincoln. So that pretty much tells you what I think of the MKZ.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Oh, it does work for Lexus. Resoundingly so. The ES makes Lexus a lot of money.

      It’s interesting that there are only three non-dedicated Lexus cars (the ES, HS and RX), only two of which are blatant rebadges (ES and HS) and only one of which is “cheap” (ES).

      The whole rest of the lineup (IS, GS, LS, GX (sorta) and LX (sorta)) are premium platforms. Yet the “cheap, Toyota-ized” ES and RX make up the vast bulk of Lexus’ sales.

      I do agree that Lincoln could use an LS-like halo to pull up the brand’s image, and that the Town Car and MKS are not going to fill those shoes, but Lexus’ use of very well-trimmed commodity platforms is not a problem in and of itself.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @blue adidas – I disagree. The ES is not a terribly desirable car, but it sells well because Lexus spent plenty of money to truly differentiate it from the Camry it’s based on. Plus, the buying experience at a Lexus dealership is worth some bucks.

      The problem with the MKZ is simple, as Mr. Karesh pointed out: it’s not sufficiently different than the Fusion.

  • avatar

    These names. I can’t keep them straight sometimes. MKS, MKZ, they even look similar.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t find that the cars looks much alike. But the “names”…if having both an MKS and an MKZ is bad, having both an MKS and an MKX is even worse.

      Combine the name with the styling, and we have a very good but especially forgettable car.

      On the definite plus side, the Zephyr and MKZ have proven to be very reliable in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.

      Anyone not yet signed up, details here:

      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry Michael, I should have clarified. The vehicles themselves don’t look similar, it’s the words in type that do, as you mention.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    I’m not sure there’s another car on sale today that is so distinctive at either end yet so anonymous in profile. I like the front and rear fascias of the MKZ better than the MKS, along with the smaller size and weight of the Fusion-based platform, for which 263 horsepower sounds like more than more than enough. I like how there are still sedans out there that aren’t designed like coffins: with their high beltlines, awkward trunk openings, limited rear headroom and poor visibility. The thing is, if you fix all those problems, you end up with an exceedingly boring car.

    Only the front and rear ends have any character to them. I’m glad you noted the interior redesign took the Z further from the Lincoln “look”; the Zephyr had a quirky and polarizing but very unique and retro interior before, now it’s more anonymous than the exterior. The MKZ is a perfectly fine car, but it costs at least $5K too much to be competitive and just isn’t unique-looking enough to command that premium over its Mercury and Ford clones.

    That said, the ES is no better, and the LaCrosse has too many form-over-function design choices listed above that are sadly necessary to end up with a bold, stylish car, but also serve handicap it.

    No, the answer to how to spend $41K+ if you can only spend it on one car is simple: a nicely-equipped BMW 328i Xdrive falls well under this price ceiling before options. I think I’d rather have that than what amounts to a Mazda with a bigger grille and nicer door padding.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      The choice of the 328xi (er, 328i xDrive) is only simple if you don’t prefer the G37x, the C300, or the A4. Believe it or not, there are some things that these cars do better than the vaunted BMW!

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      For $41K I would, without hesitation buy a Hyundai Genesis which is better in every way than the MKZ except for the wonderful Sync system. Heck, for $38K you could pick up a 2009 Genesis with a 375 horsepower V8.

      The Genesis, is quieter, faster, has a better interior and exterior, and is all around more luxurious.

      P.S. It is ridiculous that the MKZ doesn’t automatically get Ford’s best engine, the Ecoboost.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @bmoredlj:

      The 328 is a wonderful car, but the problem is that the price you mention for it “before options” includes the following: vinyl seats, no nav, no IPod interface, no heated seats (no toys whatsoever, in fact), and a sound system that looks and works about as well as what you’d find in a Hyundai. Add all that stuff, and you’re talking 45 grand, easy. It also has absolutely no back seat, making it useless as a family car unless your kids are toddlers or Jawas.

      Granted, the driving experience is amazing, but it’s not a terribly practical car.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Standard features are really where Lincolns shine for value. While BMW and Mercedes make you pay extra for real leather, a base MKZ which has an MSRP of only $34,900 including destination and delivery, has included in its standard features: high quality real leather, real wood trim, heated and air-conditioned (not just ventilated, actual chilled air blowing up your butt) front seats, full 10 way power driver and passenger front seats with driver seat memory, Sirius Satellite radio, Sync (which includes bluetooth, USB port for a MP3 player, free turn by turn directions, traffic, and more for 3 years), automatic headlights, and a keypad on the door so you can get into your car without having to have a key or a fob on your person.

      Now, that is just sticker, you could buy that base car for under $30,000 in real prices, or get it for around $33,000 and still get 0% financing for five years.

      There is a lot of value in the MKZ when you talk real prices and equipment vs. the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Nullo has an excellent point. At the car show the BMW M3 on display had damn near 20 Thousand dollars in options…much of which is standard in many cars half the price. That said, I compared the new MKZ to my mothers MKZ (forgot the year, but it was the first year for the Z instead of Zepher)…my mother’s interior looks very pleasing at first look, but after some time with it, it becomes quite apparent that a lot of cost cutting took place. Dynamically I like it, but my Altima’s interior is of vastly better quality. The new one at the car show was quite an improvement over my mom’s car…this should have been the starting point, not the finish point.

  • avatar
    PaulieWalnut

    I think I read somewhere that the re-freshed MKZ benchmarked the ES350 for interior quietness. Perhaps the sport suspension and tyres are causing extra interior noise?

    Completely agree about the need for the MKZ to get its own unique shape. Ford has stated that it’s moving away from shared doors to completely unique sheetmetal for Lincoln. I imagine we’ll see this for the all new 2013 model which will be based on a new shared Fusion/Mondeo architecture.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    $41k? I can’t imagine what Ford is thinking. At $41k this car is priced right up against the best of the best in the segment. There are a half dozen small to midsize luxury sedans all vying for shoppers’ attention and money, and whatever your taste you’re sure to find something better than this tarted-up Fusion. Looking for luxury and prestige? The C-Class has your ticket. Want a reliable, all-wheel-drive sedan with a sport suspension? The G37x and TL SH-AWD can do that. Looking for a thoughtful interior design? Look no further than the A4. Want the most comfortable and largest luxury sedan for your money, but you’re willing to sacrifice prestige? Try the Genesis. Need brash American styling in a luxury sedan? There’s the CTS. I won’t even mention the 3-series’ virtues. And let’s not forget Ford’s own Taurus as an option too, if you just want an American car from a non-government-owned automaker with plenty of kit.

    If the MKZ were just a few thousand dollars more than a non-luxury midsize sedan with equivalent features and doodads, it might be a compelling “tweener” option to do battle with the TSX. In fact, that’s probably what it is doing battle with; I’ve seen some pretty substantial cash on the hood of the MKZ.

    As much as Ford is doing many things right, Lincoln continues to flounder. The brand has already been robbed of any prestige, leaving it effectively a lineup of luxury option packages on Fords. And isn’t that what Mercury is supposed to be?

  • avatar
    npbheights

    At nearly $42,000 – No freaken way. At 18,999.00 for a 21,000 mile, fully loaded ’07 MKZ AWD off a two year lease like what we bought in April, 2009 from http://www.offleaseonly.com/inventory.htm it is a screaming good bargain.

    I prefer the retro design and beautiful cream and tan colors and light wood interior of the 1st gen Zephyr/MKZ to the boring generic design and ordinary colors of the 2nd gen interior. I do like the new trunk design and am warming up to the 1940′s Lincoln retro look of the grilles, but am not 100% there yet. I would consider a 2010 MKZ in 2012 for less than 19 grand though.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Thankfully – Ford started with a better base platform than the old Granada, Monarch and Versailles days.

    It’s a shame that the Mazda 6 doesn’t get much mention with regards to the Fusion, Milan, MKZ trio.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    Count me among those who actually believe the new conventional wisdom that Ford is a resurgent manufacturer – heck, I even rewarded them with my business and bought a ’10 Mustang. However, when it comes to their Mercury and Lincoln brands, they still have a ton of work to do. Mercury should just be euthanized – it stands for nothing as a brand, and the market segment it putatively covers could be just as well served by Ford branded cars, if it needs to be served at all. It seems to me that Lincoln should stand for an odd blend of Scandanavian purity of design and simplicity and traditional American opulence/luxury. The iconic Continentals of the early ’60s embodied this “Lincolness” perfectly; clean, elegant lines mixed with hints of American baroque – lovely. To me the MKS and MKT, and to a lesser extent, the MKZ, are actually handsome and competent cars in their own right. But they’re just too generic. They don’t seem special enough. Lincoln, give us a line of cars that embodies the spirit of those early ’60s Continentals but that drive as well as the newest Fords and I predict your dealers would shift a ton of them.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    When Ford bought Jaguar, then Volvo, then built started narrowing down to the best platforms it looked like they might get smart and make luxury cars that would be shared by only those brands. Unfortunately, they gave us Mondeo base Jags and Fusion based Lincolns. The S80 based Ford 500/Taurus is the closest to meeting the vision…but really they needed to create a unique car on a unique platform. Sans that, they are just rebranding with no value added.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Consumer Reports really likes this car and I can understand why: it really is very good and being a good. Not exceptional or outstanding, just holistically competent.

    Unlike a lot of luxury cars (but like the old Acura TL and the current ES) it doesn’t force you to make compromises and accept quirks for brand identity. It’s safe, handles and rides pretty well, get’s decent mileage, isn’t gaudy, has some nice features and isn’t too big or too small.

    That Ford is planning a hybrid version is a smart thing.

  • avatar
    tomm

    I drove an ’09 MKZ and found it not nearly as smooth and refined as my wife’s ’07 ES350, with an interior that felt a lot cheaper. And speaking of the ES, I don’t understand all the bashing this car takes. It certainly isn’t a driving enthusiast’s car and it wasn’t designed to be. But it is quiet and luxurious, gets decent gas mileage, and in the 3 years we’ve owned it, the ES has not been to the dealer once for anything other than normal maintenance. The wife loves it (I much prefer my 540 6-speed). Also, it feels like a very different car to the ’10 Camry SE I am currently driving as a rental. Steering, engine smoothness, quality of interior are all much better on the Lexus.

    • 0 avatar
      Audi-Inni

      @tomm – people have been saying this since I bought my ES300 in 1992 — it’s nothing but a rebadged Camry. These folks have never driven them back to back like you and I have. It’s simply not. Now, the Lexus of today is not what it was in 1992 and the new ES350 is a creampuff for the over 60 crowd (my 74 year old mom has a 2009). It’s comfortable, competent, reasonably luxurious and simply nothing like a Camry in any form or fashion. And yet, these same folks fail to mention that the TSX is, in fact, a Honda Accord everywhere but in the States.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I like the MKZ, and have from the get go. However, that side profile is looking very dated so many years out. Same for the Fusion, which I also like. However, the price does sting. I sat in my wife’s Odyssey next to an MKZ the other day and wondered how in the world it was the more expensive car. The van has seating for 8 in leather, a sunroof, a great 3.5 V6, is refined as all get out, and every bit as luxurious (and has better resale, I’m sure). How DO they justify $41 grand?

    As I said, I’m a fan. I’ll just shop it used, owned by a sunbelt grandma.

  • avatar

    Michael, nice review – except for one missing thing: how is the ergonomics? The seat comfort? The leg space? They are one of the most important things. Personally, I wouldn’t bother even considering a luxury car unless the driver comfort would be excellent.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks to the no-frills interior styling, ergonomics are generally very good, with one exception: the mirror controls are all the way up on the A-pillar triangle. This is a common location for ease of assembly, and I hate it every time, since you cannot adjust the mirrors without leaning forward. And when you lean forward, you can no longer see how the mirrors are aimed.

      Seat comfort is good, but as noted in the review there’s not nearly the sense of luxury as in the larger MKS.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    $41K for a Fusion with some shiny bits?

    What a colossal waste of money. And it looks terrible. I have seen these on the road (well…I have seen ONE on the road) and it is an ugly car…in an ‘offensive’ sort of way.

    Lincoln is such a sad story…once a great, proper luxury brand…it now is a trim level with no direction…

  • avatar
    Buick61

    The Buick LaCrosse certainly shames this car. It’s an MKS at the price of an MKZ, and they throw in a real name for free.

    Of course, at this price I’d STILL buy a Chrysler 300C. 360hp, RWD, and style for days seems like the right way to spend $40,000.

  • avatar
    carguy

    At north of $40K this car is up against the C300, 328i, A4, G37 and Hyundai Genesis – which is simply too much too ask from a rewarmed last gen Mazda6. At maybe $10K less it would be a contender but, like much of the Lincoln product lineup, this one is for hard core fans only (or savvy used car buyers).

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      +1 on the savy used car buyers. The depreciation on these suckers is steep, it’s a good way to get a blinged out Fusion at a low price. I see last gen Zephyr’s selling at 15-16,000 dollars with only 40,000 miles on them.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      +1 as well. I’d be tempted to pick a used one up at 40k miles in that price range just to get the cooled seats in summertime. And since it’s a Lincoln, that probably means it was driven by an old person who treated it like a baby.

    • 0 avatar
      npbheights

      @educatordan.

      Forget the 2006 Zephyr – go for the 2007 and up MKZ. It has 40 more horsepower. Forget 40,000 miles too – - I know where to pick them with under 30K miles for 15 to 16K. Look at http://www.offleaseonly.com/inventory.htm and search for lincoln mkz. I am just a customer, I am not affiliated. LONG LIVE THE 24 Month Ford Red Carpet Lease! Let them take the huge hit! Pick up 2 year old Lincolns still under the 4 year 50K Lincoln Commitment Bumper to Bumper warranty for Corolla money.

  • avatar
    lanetru

    Auto enthusiasts should love cars like the ES as it makes Toyota gobs of money and it’s the bread-and-butter cars like the ES and 3-series that allow car manufacturers to subsidize the cost of its low volume, less profitable niche cars.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Ford is just in a holding pattern with Lincoln and that’s fine, that’s the best they can do with their resources right now. It’s not like any of Lincoln’s cars are Sebring-esque awful, they’re just not particularly exciting.

    Someone else on here (I think it was TriShield) pointed out how GM did the opposite–they spread out their resources around on too many brands rather than fixing Chevy first. So you end up with a few hits thinly spread around with a lot of dogs, especially in the Chevy brand. You can see which strategy worked better.

    If Ford keeps doing what they’re doing with their Ford brand, eventually they will have the cash to go from holding pattern to an aggressive push with Lincoln.

  • avatar
    william442

    Neither the Ford nor the local Lincoln dealer ever bothered to call me back. So I leased another Accord from a very accommodating Honda dealer. Is this strategy?
    Mr Karesh: Our ML320 (07) is gone, after some incredible repair bills. I believe it is one of yours, and will check.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Great review. While I like the car’s styling (and I couldn’t say this about all Lincolns), I’m just not in the market for a luxury sedan.

    Photography tip: When photographing a bright scene, such as a white car against a snowy backdrop, a camera’s autoexposure logic will select an exposure that “averages” the scene to around 20% gray, resulting in underexposure. To combat this, dial in +1 EV or so of exposure compensation, or give the exposure a boost in post-processing.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Wow, I thought Acura gauges were bad, but this just takes the cake. What’s with the giant italicized “RPM!” and “MPH!” markings? Is that necessary? And what’s with the pulled from a minivan speedo that stops at 120?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      You think that it’ll go 120? Or that, even if it did, anyone who bought one would?

      I guess if they had one that went to 160mph it might cause some WTF consversation.

  • avatar
    John R

    I know this and the Infiniti G have two different missions, but the G37 looks and feels like it’s worth the $41k+. This doesn’t. Far from it. I wouldn’t pay more than $30k for this new.

    Hell, I think a loaded Maxima is a better value.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The G37 has an undeniably sportier driving experience, but the interior quality isn’t superior to the MKZ at all. The MKZ feels just as, if not more, luxurious than the G37.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    The center stack looks rather (actually very) cheap and barren.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    This past year I joined a company who gave me $32,500 to go out and buy a company car. As I am partial to US makes, the final choice came down to a 2010 Lincoln MKZ and 2010 Buick LaCrosse.

    I think both are fine cars, but my MKZ tiebreakers were better overall ergonomics, SYNC, smaller size and feel, and better acceleration feel.

    While I agree the Buick had more exterior style and was a very sharp car—-some of the styling elements did come at the expense of ergonomics that would be a pain in everyday driving (thick A pillar and inside door handle to name 2).

    Net, both are great cars—and contray to the test car…the 2010 can be had pretty loaded in base form at $34,500 sticker—-well below the $41,000 test car sticker

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Is that a PROP ROD I see lingering under that hood? Dooooh! Not only did Lincoln carry over the plain side doors from the Fusion but a prop rod! I think this car would benefit greatly with something to jazz the sides up such as new doors and beltline and well designed bodyside molding. The dash and steering wheel are nice but as with 97% of the cars on the road today more color choices would be a good thing. The 3.5 V6 is certainly powerful enough in the FWD model. My friend owned a 2008 MKZ FWD and it was seldom ever lacking for power in all but the hardest core of situations(Mustang GT’s and Chevy Camaro races)and got very good highway fuel economy (usually 28-29MPG). The AWD model would benefit from either the invigorated 285 HP 2011 3.5 or the MKT’s 305 HP 3.7 V6. A lot of the negativity regarding the ES350 is that it hardly looks any different than a basic Camry with a very similar dull plain shape hence many of the comments as with this Lincoln. The interior and driving dynamics are where your going to see the most difference as many of todays look alike cookie cutter sedans seem to have been penned by the same designer. Some do it better than others such as Cadillac. Find one lesser GM that looks like or drives like a CTS for example. I 100% agree that this and many other Lincolns still need work starting with ditching the silly confusing letter names!

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      I’m curious, what’s so wrong with a prop rod? I understand that it may not have the same luxury connotations of a having gas filled struts, but really, will any of the potential owners open the hood to do anything save for adding windshield washer fluid?

      Besides, one prop rod is lighter that 2 gas struts and their attendant hardware, quicker to install on the line, cheaper for the manufacturer and the consumer. Gas struts generally last 3-5 years, prop rods are forever.

      One of the things that is important to profitability is sharing parts whenever it’s a good idea to do so.

      Sorry, I guess I just don’t have a problem with prop rods.

    • 0 avatar
      npbheights

      It may have a prop rod, but it also has some really cool trunk hinges that fold up like scissors and don’t encroach on the trunk space. Let the mechanics at the dealership changing the oil deal with the prop rod. It is more important to the Lincoln owner not to have his or her luxury purchases damaged by goose neck trunk hinges.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Karesh:

    +1 on your comments on interior styling. I really liked the interior design motif on the old MKZ.

    If Lincoln wants to truly go up against Lexus, I’d suggest:

    1) A LOT more product differentiation;
    2) A more “premium” dealer experience. The Lincoln dealers I’ve shopped have all been old school, with old guys selling cars to old folks in old buildings. Not even close to the experience of shopping for a Lexus.

    • 0 avatar
      chrisgreencar

      +1 on the dealer experience. When car shopping last year, I was basically ignored at the Lincoln dealer when looking at the MKZ(did I look too young at Age 41?) The dealer was also selling Mazdas and had a low-budget feel. When looking at CTS, I received high pressure service at one Cadillac dealer and surly service at the other. I ended up with Acura (certified TSX) although their sales staff was also a touch too high pressure. I was extremely impressed with the Lexus dealer experience when helping a friend purchase a GS a few years back, but was not considering Lexus myself.

  • avatar
    Joe

    Yes yes continue the Lincoln hate I’ll sit here in my Town Car and wonder why all of your “real luxury” cars have such firm seats.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    The biggest problem I have with it is the name. I keep getting confused between it and the MKS, so much that I had to keep saying to myself while reading the review “S = Taurus Z = Fusion.” If the only way for people to distinguish between Lincolns is to think about the Fords they are based on, then Lincoln really needs to do a lot of work to make itself a luxury brand.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      How do people know CTS is smaller than STS just from the name, or S550 is bigger than an E550, or that an S is a premium sedan, and an SL is a premium roadster, but an SLK is a compact roadster, and a C class is a compact sedan, but a CL is basically a coupe version of an S class and a CLS is a coupelike sedan.

      I’m not going to defend the Lincoln names much, they are confusing, but Lincoln is far from alone in using confusing meaningless letters to define cars.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Sounds to me like a well designed car. You can see out of it. You can get stuff in and out of the trunk. These days, those are rare privileges to enjoy in a car. A luxury car should offer the driver a distinctive experience, one s/he can’t get from any ordinary machine. There’s a reason why three box sedans have worked well since the first real one, the ’38 Cadillac Sixty Special.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Another benefit of the MKZ is that Lincoln doesn’t treat owners like living-breathing ATMs. The MKZ does not require, or even recommend, premium gas or synthetic oil, it’s happy to run on 87 octane and good dino-oil, and you never have to pay big bucks for any scheduled maintenance either, as it is basically a Fusion Sport under the skin, all of the parts, whether they be brake pads, spark plugs, belts, etc, are the same. So you get luxury amenities with mainstream car service bills.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      NulloModo,

      While I understand the point of not requiring premium fuel in a (essentially) run-of-the-mill car, I don’t understand the reluctance to use synth lubes.

      Synthetic lubes are so far superior to a “dino” fluid, I just don’t get why anyone would ever use one on a newish car. Ever.

      I haven’t used a conventional lube since the early 80s when the total superiority of synth lube became completely inarguable.

      Conventional lubes may be a small amount cheaper in the very short-term, direct-cost basis view, but they last so much longer, and perform so much better, I just don’t know a soul who still uses them for anything. Especially on a car they want to run for 300K.

      Would you really drop $40K and then not fill the crank, trans, and rear end with Redline or Motul?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Seeing thousands of used oil analyses and witnessing many vehicles with hundreds of thousands of miles on inexpensive conventional oil has convinced me that modern conventional oils are perfectly capable of providing all the lubrication and protection needed for a typical vehicle in a moderate climate. Sure, I’ve got German Castrol 0W-30 in my car right now, but I had conventional Supertech in there for the previous interval. I’m willing to run inexpensive conventional oil for up to 8000 miles in all the vehicles I service because I’ve seen no evidence that wear is increased relative to any other method. Conventional oils have improved greatly since the eighties. I’d be willing to go longer on a synthetic than a conventional if I had to, but I’d rather get the filter change in anyway. While I defend the use of conventional oil where temperatures permit, I do tend to run 0W synthetics in winter because -40C is guaranteed at least once every winter here. I have MT-90 in my transmission for the same reason, though I’d probably run that in any climate as decent manual transmission oils are surprisingly uncommon and Redline makes good ones.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      porschespeed –

      My view on synth oil is that the engineers would have stated it as a requirement and had it filled that way from the factory if the car needed it.

      I’m sure it is better overall than regular oil, and you may be right in that if you intend to keep your car for 300,000 miles maybe it’s not a bad idea, but most people don’t intend to keep their cars even 100,000 miles, and plenty of other things are more likely to go bad before 300K than the engine anyway.

      When I read in the back of MotorTrend how they take one of their long term testers in and get charged $150 for an oil and filter change and a tire rotation I always chuckle to myself. I can get an oil and filter change for $15 and a tire rotation for $20 somewhere in town most of the time. People pay way too much for maintenance.

      So, in any even, if you have an exotic high-revving low-tolerance engine or you plan to keep your car for ten years and a quarter million miles, by all means use synthetic. For the average joe, dino is fine.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I have always used premium conventional oil in all my cars and run them hard on a regular basis. Sure I dump the oil every 4K miles, but I have had a total of zero lubrication related issues and I do insist on 200K plus life. This is out of some pretty pedestrian stuff, too. I can’t imagine Chrysler expected owners to rev their 2.2 litre engines to 45 MPH in first gear on a regular basis. All this with the “orange can of death” to boot…so unless you operate in extreme temperatures, I am not sure if syn is worth the extra bucks…

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      There is the ‘who does your oil change’ as a differentiator.

      If you are going to get charged 4 times more for synth oil change, then I understand where it becomes a difficult decision.

      Not sure exactly what pricing is where you are, but as a general rule, I’ve found synth to be about 2-3 times the price of dino – that’s buying retail, not shop price.

      Life on synth is generally at least twice as long – generally much longer than that. I just look at it as extra protection for (roughly) the same outlay, even on cars that aren’t hi-po, or valuable.

      Don’t get me wrong – dino is pretty darn good these days, and some older cars will bleed synth like stuck pigs. In the end, if you’ve had good results with dino, then I’m not going spend a lot of time trying to sway you.

      I’m not looking to start the ‘oil wars’ over here, that’s for other sites. Anyway, if you get bored google up “used oil analysis” and you too can know more than you ever want to about oil.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Actually, you may have swayed me, at least to think about the economics of it, especially considering the value of my time. I do my own changes BTW, but have upgraded to a higher quality filter as I now know about what happened to Fram quality. So if I can double the time between changes and buy the stuff on sale, I may wind up spending close to the same money and save the hassle of getting under the cars…Thanks, I think I will check those oil sites…

  • avatar
    drivelikejehu

    What features does the MKZ have that a fully loaded Fusion doesn’t? I’m sure there’s something but it can’t justify the price premium. Anyway, a somewhat different (and unattractive) appearance plus a few options does not turn a Fusion into a luxury car.

    Depending on the configuration, the Fusion can offer a good product for the price. The MKZ has no rationale except to help keep Lincoln afloat until (if?) they receive more legitimate models. It might be an OK deal used, but high depreciation is not something to brag about.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The MKZ vs the Fusion offers –

      Standard 3.5 liter V6 (you have to go to the Fusion Sport for that, and that is only available with a black interior)

      HID headlights

      Air-Conditioned seats (standard on the Lincoln, as well as heated, but heated are also available on the Fusion)

      THX certified audio system

      real wood trim

      nicer leather

      longer warranty (4/50 + 6/70 vs 3/36 + 5/60) and first year maintenance free

      full 10 way power adjustable driver and passenger seats with power lumbar and driver’s memory

      I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, and you can get a Fusion pretty well loaded, but you are paying some for the Lincoln name and badge, just as you do with an Audi A3 vs. a GTI or a Lexus ES vs a Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      drivelikejehu

      Therein lies the problem- the Lincoln badge isn’t worth much these days. I understand Ford can’t invest heavily in Lincoln right now, but style is something that can be added on the cheap. Maybe that’s impossible with the current grill, but it looks like they didn’t even try with the MKZ.

      It seems from this thread a lot of people are straining to give Lincoln the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure they appreciate it, since objectively they are bringing a stick to a tank fight.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I’ve been waiting for this review since a lightly used MKZ has seemed like a good replacement for my aging Accord. That said, I’m totally unimpressed with that interior. Quite honestly, it doesn’t look like much of an upgrade over the ’98-’02 series Accord. Exterior styling while bland isn’t a problem for me. I like conservative styling and think it has a more timeless look than the current crop of entry level lux out there. But I spend more time interacting with the interior of a vehicle and I’d expect a Lincoln to compete with what Lexus, Infinity & Acura offer…this does not. (While I like German interiors they are well, very German, and not IMO comparable to Japanese/American vehicles.)

    As for Lexus…I’ll hate on the ES a little bit. My spouse and I cross shopped the ES and prev generation TL and found the Acura to be superior in every which way. Then when we noticed that a GS with the same mileage and age was only $5-7k more than the ES the choice was clear. While you could argue that the Acura RL is no better than the TL, the Lexus GS is every which way better than the ES.

    BTW, I do my own oil changes and tire rotations on the Lexus. Only a sucker actually believes only dealers can work on a Lexus, or Bimmer or Audi or whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The pictures shown are probably the worst interior option available on the car (steel grey leather with the metal trim package).

      Take a look at this –

      http://www.dymee.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-o-matic/200909-2/3d073_2008_la_2010_lincoln_mkz_image019.jpg

      or this

      http://www.caranddriver.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/features/09q3/david_e._davis_jr._have_you_driven_a_lincoln_lately_-column/gallery/2010_lincoln_mkz_interior_photo_43/2808820-1-eng-US/image_cd_gallery.jpg

      or this

      http://z.about.com/d/cars/1/0/v/j/1/ag_10mkz_intbt.jpg

      The grey leather/grey metal just doesn’t have enough contrast to make the interior design work, but no matter what color scheme it is ridiculous to compare it to a mid or early 90s anything. Touch and feel inside is also high quality, and all of the leather, wood, etc, you see is real, no fake wood as in the Hyundai Genesis.

  • avatar

    My uncle got rid of his 07 MKZ and bought an MKS Ecoboost.
    http://www.epinions.com/content_506248924804

    Definitely a good idea because the MKZ was a snorefest.
    The interior quality was decent…but not Benz or BMW quality (or even Lexus quality decent). I’d expect the Milan to have the level of refinement the Lincoln does. But, for the Lincoln to have gapped panels, plastic such lame interior materials – its pathetic.

    THE NEW MKS is really not much better.

    Tell me, what’s the point of having an MKZ that looks just like the MKS on the inside and front?

    Now I see why BENZ made the new E-class look so 2004′ while the S550 looks 2007…They want you to get less so you’ll want the car that is more.

    MKZ, MKS…Ford can keep this stuff.

    Just keep my shareprices RISING >:-(

  • avatar

    I’d take a Buick Lacrosse over the MKZ in a second.

    A FULLY LOADED Lacrosse costs slightly less than $41,000 before taxes. But, that’s including rear DVD screens, the HUD, and an appearance package so it actually costs less than $38,000 purchased conservatively.

    http://www.epinions.com/content_483387018884

  • avatar
    runwithscissors

    I truly can’t even begin to comprehend the pricing of this car. Who is making these decisions at Lincoln?

    There are plenty of cars that compete well (some much better) than the MKZ for 10k to 20k less.

    When all is said and done, the MKZ is a rehashed Fusion.

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    “But the Fusion should have door panels this nice, rather than the econo-car moldings it does have”

    What?

  • avatar
    orick

    you can’t fold the rear seat on a Lexus ES? Really? My father’s 2003 Camry has folding rear seats. Surely the ES would too.


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