By on July 28, 2011

Fifty feet away and I was already furious. The oh-so-chipper Enterprise rep was leading us towards a Ford Fusion — and that is not a full-sized car in the Enterprise universe. Fusions are mid-sized. I’d specifically booked a full-sizer for this trip around Utah and Idaho. My hope was to receive an Impala, thus benefiting from the legendary 3.9V6 fuel economy and Fender-Twin-Reverb-combo-amp trunk space. This was injury added to insult. We’d waited forty-five minutes at the rental counter as a succession of elderly Mormons returning to SLC for “Pioneer Day” had asked detailed questions regarding the rental insurance, the fill-up policy, and the best place to eat near Temple Square… and now, although the parking garage was quite dark, I could plainly see the Fusion’s distinctive C-pillar ahead.

“Listen, miss,” I began, realizing that I sounded exactly like the kind of fussy old jerk I’ve spent my life avoiding and/or despising, “we requested a full-sized car, and this…”

“…is a luxury car,” she said, “I’m so sorry, we are out of full-sized cars, and I thought you would take a luxury car.” That’s when I saw the Continental star on the fender. No, the MKZ isn’t exactly a Fusion, but is it really a luxury car?

Michael Karesh provided a comprehensive styling analysis in his earlier review of the MKZ, so I will boil my opinions down to the following:

From the side: It’s a Fusion.
From the back: It could be anything.
From the front: It looks pretty good.

There you go. Michael had a loaded-out press car with the Sport package, but my rental was the $35,420 base model. There’s already $1500 cash on the hood at the moment, and if you can find a 2011 on the lots — which, honestly, shouldn’t be tough — there is $4,000 cash back on those. Either way, we are talking high twenties/low thirties.

That kind of cash would buy you a fully-equipped V-6 Accord or Camry, or it would put you into a turbocharged Korean. It will not put an ES350 or Acura TL in your driveway; the MSRP on those two is a few grand higher and the incentives aren’t quite as free-flowing. Still, those two cars are the Lincoln’s natural competition so that it is the context in which we will view it. Luckily for me, I’d just driven a brand-new ES350 a week before so my reference points were reasonably fresh.

Compared to the chunky luxo-Camry, the MKZ’s big windows and low-cowled, cliff-faced dashboard makes it seem like a much smaller car both inside and out. The reality doesn’t support the impression; not only is the Lincoln slightly heavier than the Lexus, it’s virtually the same length and offers slightly more front-passenger room. (Back-seat drivers will prefer the ES, particularly in the leg-stretching department.)

Both cars offer comfortable and not overly-sportly leather seats as standard. Heating and cooling is a $640 option on the Lexus, standard on the MKZ. During the nighttime segments of our 600-mile trip through Utah and Idaho, Vodka McBigbra kept her seat on three red LEDs while mine stayed on three blue ones. This feature alone could save your marriage, or at least save your affair.

Lexus has built a reputation on lexurious, excuse me, luxurious interiors, but while they’ve been treading water, Ford has been swimming for shore. The MKZ’s materials look and feel better than those found in the ES (to this reviewer, anyway) and its dashboard gaps are smaller. The Lexus is assembled in Japan; the Lincoln, in Mexico. Globalism on the hoof. Another surprise; the MKZ really has more interior differentiation from the Fusion than the ES does versus the Camry. I remind you all that this is the company which brought us the Versailles — but Lexus, I suppose, is the company which brought us the ES250.

Both cars ride pretty well, in the modern FWD mode. There’s a lot of weight in the nose, and no amount of gas-charged shock absorption can hide that fundamental problem. Compared to a C-Class Benz, or even my 2009 Town Car, the shocks are softer but the body motion seems considerably more pendulous. Encountering a big pavement wave at the 100-110mph velocities common out West reveals the MKZ’s severe lack of rebound damping. If you’re going to hustle in this car, consider the sport package. On the positive side, it definitely has its torque steer under better control than the Lexus, which will cheefully head for the ditch under any provocation, does.

On the freeway, our MKZ self-reported an average mileage of 26.4; around town, the number was 21.2. Given that the 263-horsepower Duratec 3.5 doesn’t exactly sing to the enthusiast soul, perhaps it’s better to spring for the no-cost hybrid option. If you’re looking for a fast car, look somewhere else — unless your idea of a “fast car” is a 1986 IROC-Z, which will find itself in arrears of the Lincoln’s wide neon taillights.

While the hybrid option is free, the MKZ’s “THX 5.1 theater surround sound” options is not — but it should be mandatory. The “Premium Sound” installed in the base car is so bad that I ended up working the fader and balance controls trying to find the defective speaker, only to come to the conclusion that they were all defective. It’s a shame because the version of SYNC installed in this system was lightning-quick in operating my 13,646-song iPod. It never missed a voice cue, from “Vladimir Ashkenazy” (my request) to “Stronger Than Pride” (V. McB). Not that the Lexus has anything comparable to offer; its sound system will be intimately familiar to anyone who has ever owned a Corolla, in operation and features if not sound quality.

The rest of the MKZ is about what you’d expect given its Fusion roots and modern-Ford trimmings. Wind noise is low, road noise is low, the trunk is capacious, nothing fell off, and it idled without complaint for over an hour, running “Max A/C” in 104-degree weather, so V. McB’s mother could recover from an overly-ambitious kayak trip down the Snake River. It’s a solid car and it gives nothing away in that respect to the Toyota.

Is it a luxury car? No and yes. It won’t bludgeon your neighbors with prestige, it won’t impress the valet, and it won’t ever sit center stage in a rap video. Its platform is prosaic, its engines are shared with family wagons and/or CUVs, and its development schedule was less Nürburgring than it was Bürgerking.

All the MKZ can claim to be is a quiet, comfortable, well-made, well-equipped car that is pleasant to drive, enjoyable to operate, and probably satisfying to own. The pricing isn’t bargain-basement but it is a bit of a bargain given the equipment and materials provided. I personally prefer it to both the ES350 and the Buick LaCrosse. If you consider either of those to be luxury cars, then consider this to be one as well, and a decent one at that.

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86 Comments on “Review: 2012 Lincoln MKZ Take Two...”


  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Back looks cross-eyed, flanks vanilla, front attractive; overall not a very harmonious or fetching design. Although I’m a long-time Ford fan, I have to say that, on the basis of styling alone, I’d buy the Acura, or Fusion even, before ths car.

    • 0 avatar
      WorksForFordGuy

      @Robert.Walker – great to hear u are a long time Ford fan – please keep the faith. For all others + Jack: just wait until the new MKZ comes out for 2013 model season. I’ve seem the full size mock up and all the looks issues Baruth mentions (side and rear profile) have been answered. It will no longer look like a Fusion, and the engines and trannies will be a notch above the current offering – it will now be a proper entry level lux car.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        @ WorksForFordGuy: That’s very promising, because the MKZ is a good car, it’s just nowhere near as differentiated from the Fusion as it needs to be. So it’s basically only a good car because the Fusion is already a good car.

        The next Fusion/Mondeo will probably have excellent fundamental engineering, so if they can clothe that with a suitably premium exterior and interior that isn’t visually related to the Fusion itself in any way it should be a very competitive car. As it is, I don’t think it looks expensive enough next to the ES or even the TL (which, while hideous, at least looks much more expensive and “luxurious” than the Accord).

    • 0 avatar
      stephengray

      I hope this refresh is better then the first few years of this model. It had cheap plastics and bad styling inside. It now has bad styling on the outside but still no prestige or any presence at all. Lincoln should throw in the towell. It’s hard te believe Cadillac has gotten their act together with the CTS. If Lincoln can’t do the same they should give up.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I rented one of these last Summer, and think this review gives a fair assessment. My example had AWD and the THX audio. It was quite a nice car, but didn’t feel in the same class as the Lincoln LS it supposedly replaced, or the Cadillac CTS I rented shortly after. It probably would have made a better Mercury than a Lincoln.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I would have taken all the Lincolns and modified their front ends with nice Mercury front ends and sell them all as Mercurys. Except the Town Car, which I would have completely redone as a new 1961 styled Lincoln Continental – selling only one line of Lincolns for a few years.

    This is a nice Mercury. With the right price incentives, this car is even in the right price range for old Mercury. It just has the Lincoln front end.

    Oh, and it needs a damn name. Versailles would be better than MKZ – I mean, WTF is that? Lincoln has great names – why did they stop using them? STUPID.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      When the car originally launched with the gen-1 Fusion it was called the Zephyr. When Lincoln went all MK-dipshit they just lifted the Z from Zephyr to get MKZ.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      Yea we have a Mercury “Fusion” in the parking lot (it’s too hot to go outside to get the correct name of this clone) and it does look better than both the Ford or Lincoln version.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Heck of a good deal as a used car. Great for people who don’t give two shakes what badge is on the car. Sadly though, that’s not what a Lincoln should be.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, great deal. When I was shopping around there were just barely out of my price range (and I didn’t have time to wait for one), or I would’ve gone for it. As for the name? Well, I would disagree. Considering what you pay for this car used, people still respect “Lincoln” much more than they would “Honda” or “Toyota,” which is realistically the price point at which this battles in the used market. In a poll with my twenty-something friends, they all responded with minor amounts of “oooohs” when I mentioned the possibility of a Lincoln, whereas no such response could be garnered for similarly priced Honda options. I guess it is all about perspective. One other note: this car’s reliability (including the Zephyr) has been truly excellent, and one of Ford’s best (Michael?).

  • avatar
    triplebts

    What happened to exciting reviews of cool cars? Why do we need two reviews of the Lincoln MKZ?? Perhaps I’m in the minority here…

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      You deserve a two-part answer.

      TTAC, alone in the industry, supports the “Take Two” and “Take Three” reviews because we don’t pretend to speak with a single voice. There’s no such thing as the “TTAC opinion” of the car, the way there’s a “C/D opinion”.

      As far as the boring cars… Every time I test an 800-horsepower GT2, Boss 302, or NASA racecar, I hear from people who want us to focus on cars that people really buy in the real world. So you’re one half of the divide on that :)

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, I have Top Gear for ridiculous reviews of ridiculous cars that I will never be able to afford/never really want to own.

        This was a useful, well-rounded review about a car I would seriously consider as a solid used buy. I don’t really need to know the truth about a Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce.

      • 0 avatar
        triplebts

        Haha! I see what you’re saying, Jack. I really like the multiple reviews of the same cars. And I’m not really a fan of $200,000 exotics. I guess I just like the reviews of everyday sportier cars more. To each his own! Keep up the great work!

      • 0 avatar
        FreezingD

        I am thankful for TTAC and the reviews it has for cars just like this, that most middle class individuals can actually purchase. Leave the GT2 and Ferrari’s to the other enthusiast’s sites. This vehicle, with low miles, can be had on the used market for the mid-20s. A good value for the money.

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        Second/third takes are one of the reasons I enjoy this site.

    • 0 avatar

      Good answer, Jack. People often email me asking for a review of “uncool” cars. I hardly ever get requests to review the “cool” ones. Though perhaps this is because I’m uncool…

      Within the Buick showroom, I prefer the Regal to the LaCrosse. The Lincoln seems dated compared to either of them to me. Judging from the new Fiesta and Focus, I fully expect the next Fusion/MKZ to blow away the current cars.

      Except in one area: reliability. The current Fusion and MKZ have generally been problem free, aside from some transmission driveability glitches with the 2010 (which might have only affected the four-cylinder Fusion). The latest Fords seem much buggier:

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

      At least Ford seems to recognize the problem. There was yet another story in AN this week about how Ford will be focusing more on catching problems earlier. If this is more than just talk, perhaps the next Fusion/MKZ will be as solid as the current one.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Michael, I am curious to know why you prefer the Regal to the LaCrosse. The LaCrosse is a little higher in price and has some amenities the Regal doesn`t have. It is also styled more “luxuriously”. Anyway just curious as I have driven neither car.

      • 0 avatar
        michaelfrankie

        Amen Brother.

        Someday I hope to bitch about the lack of Ferrari reviews, but for now, and especially after today, more Colt reviews.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    +1 on the naming question. The same can be said for Cadillac. The new big Caddy should be a DeVille or a Super 60, not an XTS.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    The fact that rap stars and professional athletes aren’t clamoring for an MKZ indicates that consumer status goods are determined by the lower classes, not the middle or upper classes.

    I always wondered whether that ever made LVMH, Richemont, Rolls Royce, or Ferrari uncomfortable that they were being covetted by this conspicuous-consumption crowd, but apparently the super-prole and noveau riche is where the money’s at.

    The topic fascinates me. Is that anyone elses’ perception?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The majority of “luxury goods” sold in the post-Victorian era have always been based on celebrity emulation. The royal crests featured in Land Rover advertising were genuinely effective as long as people wanted to be like the Royals. Advertising the patronage of the Duke Of Whatever was once a great way to put prosperous-shopkeeper asses in the seats. You gave the Prince of Wales a tie because you knew that fifty noblemen would buy it in imitation of the PoW and a thousand businessmen would buy it in imitation of THEM.

      Our celebrity culture has merely transfered from one group of people (the upper classes, including arrivistes like the Astors) to another (entertainers of all stripes).

      That’s my opinion, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      ” The fact that rap stars and professional athletes aren’t clamoring for an MKZ indicates that consumer status goods are determined by the lower classes, not the middle or upper classes.”

      Or, maybe it indicates Lincoln is not a “consumer status good” ?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Finally! Ford invented the Camry!

    I dunno about a stinkin’ Lincoln, but the rental Fusion we had two years ago on vacation was quite impressive.

    Sounds like Lincoln hit its target. Too bad it doesn’t scream “LINCOLN”, but “DRESSED-UP FUSION”!

    I like that grille, though…a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Zackman: I’m of mixed feelings about this car, it seems like something Ford cooked up to meet CAFE regulations, not really advancing the Lincoln brand. There’s a lot of Fusion easily seen in this car, although I’m finally warming up to the Baleen Whale grille. If it’s supposed to be a modern update of the 30′s Zephyrs, then at least it’s reasonable.

      I would agree with others that the crappy naming scheme, like the one Pontiac was saddled with right before the end, is lame. Except for the late 70′s-early 80′s, the Zephyr name had some history and equity. If Ford would have been willing to do this right, they could have used the Fusion body but made it more distinctive and properly revived the Zephyr name.

      I keep wondering if Lincoln in 2011 is like Oldsmobile in 2001 or Pontiac in 2007. Just about to the end, but no one has called it yet…

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Geo, I wonder what “G6″ meant anyway, let alone the others beginning with, say, T1000? At least “Aztek” stood for something!

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Zackman: In a stroke of good fortune (as far as these things are concerned) all of the Pontiac G numbers really did mean something. In the case of the G6, it was the sixth generation Grand Am.

        The G8 was the 8th generation of Grand Prix along with the G5 (US, G4 in Mexico) being the 5th generation J-car. Except the G5 was a Delta chassis, not a J-car. But the Pontiac J-cars had so many different names, one could stretch the logic a little to make the case for the G5…

        The G3 Aveo clone was more of a stretch, I don’t think North America ever saw the first generation Aveo, but I don’t know for sure. I thought the Aveo came with the buyout of Daewoo, and I would have to research that. Just not now.

        Pontiac used an alpha-numeric system in the early 80′s, but it wasn’t nearly as tidy. Starting with the T-1000 (Chevette in most markets, or the T-car), J-2000 (the original Pontiac J-car, before Sunbird/Sunfire), but stopped using body designations when it got to the 6000 (FWD A-car) and used the old names entirely for the RWD cars B-body Bonnevilles and Parisiennes, and G-bodies, LeMans and Grand Prix.

        Are we confused yet?

        As a former (and possibly soon to be again) Aztek owner, that name was lifted from the 1999 Detroit show car. The show car was frakin’ far out, but the actual car was productionized to please bean counters.

        We got our first one in March of 2001, and the car got more stares than driving down the road in a Top Fuel dragster that was aflame with a naked Jenny McCarthy on the hood! People would stop and stare and cops would pull you over just to take a look at it. Now, it’s just another old funky Pontiac…

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @Geo: My wife and I also looked at an Aztek in March of ’01! We were quite impressed actually. I’m one of the three fans of the vehicle, chiefly because I like oddball vehicles. My wife was most impressed with the cooler option, as we camped more back then. We didn’t buy anything that year.

        BTW, the ONLY abbreviated naming schemes I have ever cared for are, in no especial order: SS, GS, GTO, 4-4-2, 2+2 & RS!

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        I still don’t understand how Azteks had any fans. I get that it had a certain functionality to the packaging, but the wrapper is part of the package too. In 2002 when I was looking to buy my first house there was one that I dismissed in large part because the house across the street had not one, but two Azteks in the driveway. I did not want to walk outside and look at that every morning.

        I also don’t understand why the same people that loudly ripped on the Aztek completely ignored the Buick Rendezvous. It was the *same* car with staid chromy trim in place of the black plastic.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Zackman: Well, I confess, that I was not a fan at first. I thought the car ugly frankly, and I really wanted an Oldsmobile Intrigue, or a Pontiac Grand Prix GT instead. My wife wanted something bigger, but didn’t want a (regular) SUV or a mini-van. She found the Aztek and liked it. Since it was her car to drive, I wasn’t that concerned.

        But, after using it for all kinds of things from camping to helping friends move and a couple of cross country trips, I gained a respect for the beast. It was a great size, you could easily park it in the city, got good fuel mileage, a good interior design and went where ever we needed it to go, especially on some of the scouting trips. I didn’t think we could get the beast into some of those places; but it went there and back.

        Typically, most people look at the wrapper and think “what an ugly car”, and have never been in one and seen how well they worked. Too bad for them. At one time, they had the highest satisfaction numbers in a JD Power poll, and when you would meet other Aztek owners, they were rather passionate about their cars, most nauseatingly naming them something cute. Like many MINI owners I’ve encountered…

        I just called the place where I saw a Liquid Silver 2003 Aztek AWD last evening, he’d sold it yesterday. Bummer.

  • avatar
    obbop

    The price paid for that car would buy a Coot Shanty, even one with a Coot-built Closet.

    I also suspect my yearly property tax here in Hillbilly Land is less than the cost of registering that vehicle.

    And a USA worker attaining the likely inevitable working-poor socio-economic position upon the socio-economic pyramid would have many problems living within the rolling now-abode.’

    Maybe the sole benefit would be when parked at any dumpster BUT mine while rooting through it for food the jack-booted thugs may ignore you since the car screams out “the operator belongs to the better class of folks; not the commoner scum who need to be kept moving along so the vermin end up elsewhere.”

    Still, a van would be a better choice of vehicle.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Glad you enjoyed your trip through Idaho and Utah. While not a Mo, it’s been my stomping ground for 15 years now…this southerner won’t be going home either. Boise may not seem like much, but I sure enjoy what it has to offer. I live on the northwest side of town, right along the river and greenbelt.

    A midsize luxury car is great for some of the interstates and highways out here. Good AC, quiet engine for the higher speeds, smooth rides on old highways (did you get caught up in the never-ending Idaho construction?). I prefer taking the Acura in the non-snow months (versus the Outback) and this Lincoln would make a great replacement in a few years.

  • avatar
    aircooledTOM

    I sell these (rarely). They’re great cars. The “free” hybrid is teh best deal in fuel economy. This car is exactly as Jack said it was. It’s understated, quiet, nice riding, with an enormous trunk.

    I prefer the LaCrosse (I sell those too), but the MKZ is a great little car and can be had for CHEAP right now. I’ve even got 3 2010′s still on my lot. We’re talking 7grand off sticker. Anywho, yeah these cars are underrated, and rarely considered by my customers.

  • avatar
    mtunofun

    I’m currently an intern at Enterprise and the one thing I absolutely hate is their business model of overbooking reservations and running our fleet tight. But kudos to that girl. Enterprise has taught her well.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Enterprise seems to have a knack at teaching their staffers well. Across the street from my place of work is a line of something like seven rental car agencies, including all the majors. Years ago, having tried just about all of them, I settled on Enterprise and have remained a loyal and repeat customer for the 2-3 times a year I have to rent a car. And they’ll continue to get my business as long as they continue to perform.

      Booking the fleet tight? An unfortunate necessity to make a profit in today’s business climate.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Vladimir Ashkenazy? I haven’t heard that name (in non musical setting) since my college days. I am a fan of Russian composers and musicians. Do any of the 13,000+ files on your iPod contain any of the works of Dmitri Shostakovich?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I am not a huge Stostakovich fan, but my sister-in-law, who is on the faculty at Morehead State’s music department, won’t shut up about “Chaik” and “Shosty”.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a Shostakovich piece or two on my phone but I usually skip to Beethoven and Dvorak. My msg alert, though, is Peaches en Regalia. Frank was the best. Actually, at my son, my only son, whom I love, Moshe’s wedding, they played a recording of Peaches when the new couple entered the reception. It’s my favorite fanfare.

      • 0 avatar
        alfabert

        “Peaches en Regalia” – your choice or Moshe’s? Admirable either way.

        My late lamented friend Bobby had threatened to sing “Duke of Prunes” at my wedding reception, 30 minutes after the vows. “And I know (I think) the love I have for you will never end (well maybe)” might have seemed a “little” edgy back way when. I would have been laughing, and things might have gone downhill from there…
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfFzUCgIBfk
        The early Mothers were game, but not always up to FZ’s musical requirements.

        The Fusion/MKZ (economy/”luxury” car?) seems an appropriate reminder of the dichotomy of FZ himself (doo-wop drummer from Lancaster?/”the modern day composer [who] refuses to die?”). Lots of people couldn’t figure out how seriously to take FZ, and lots of people (including me) can’t figure out how seriously to take an MKZ.

        Call the car the Lincoln FZ, and it’d never be confused again with a MK-yada-yada-yada. And we’d all have a precedent for the cognitive dissonance.

      • 0 avatar
        alfabert

        “Peaches en Regalia”
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZJoJNv0O5Q
        with Ian Underwood’s technique up to FZ’s demands.

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    Jack, were those pictures taken in Twin Falls? There is some great driving in that part of the country.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    “From the front: It looks pretty good.”

    I think it looks like a Baleen whale. (No, that’s not a good look)

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    An unlistenable base stereo in a Lincoln strikes right at the heart of the problem with the brand. My Honda Fit has a terrific sounding stereo. If I’m buying something purporting to be a luxury car, take care of the shit like that, at least as well as my foreign econobox does. Don’t punish me for not stepping up to higher model. A Lincoln should be a step up to begin with.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      I’m betting Ford has determined the demographic for this car really doesn’t care what the stereo sounds like. I know my parents and my inlaws wouldn’t even put sound quality on the checklist of details to look at in a car. Does it play an audio book cd and tune in Rush Limbaugh? Good enough for them.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I can’t quite wrap my head around Ford’s stereo selection process. Some models have pretty solid sound systems in base form, such as the new Explorer or Edge, others have crap base stereos, like the Flex, F-150 (which I guess I can understand to a degree, you don’t need a solid sound system in a work truck) and the base Lincoln MKZ.

      The optional THX certified system in the MKZ is very good, and well worth the money if you value sound quality in your car. Although it brings up another odd point – some cars have radio upgrades that are just listed as ‘Ford Premium Sound’ like the Expedition or Escape, some have Sony branded systems, and the Mustang has the Shaker branded system (which is my least favorite, the Sony or Ford Premium setups are better for everything beyond maximum bass). At least the Lincolns are consistent with the THX Certified options.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    A friend had one of these as a company car when she worked for Ford Credit. It is the modern day 1984 LeBaron to the Fusion’s 1984 Reliant K. There is just something exceedingly generic, thread-bare, and impoverished about these cars compared to the best in their classes that reminds me of Iacocca’s effort to build mainstream sedans that could do everything with nothing.

  • avatar
    ajla

    …unless your idea of a “fast car” is a 1986 IROC-Z, which will find itself in arrears of the Lincoln’s wide neon taillights.

    The highest spec ’86 IROC-Z ran a 14.9@92 and had a 140MPH top speed. It is also a 25 year old car. Every test I could find of the MKZ or Fusion Sport had it running in the low 15s and is limited to 120MPH.

    The Fords are faster to 60 though, if that’s what you meant.

  • avatar

    Haha, bürgerking. Nice.

    Brand or whatever-wise I think there’s nothing wrong with this car. It’s about the bigger Lincoln sedans… (is there one?)

    I actually have no idea if the MKS is higher or lower on the MK totem. I’m guessing higher. And that’s terrible.

    And speaking of Lexuses, what the F is this?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    “its development schedule was less Nürburgring than it was Bürgerking.”

    thats pretty funny. good review. thanks.

  • avatar

    Vodka McBigbra kept her seat on three red LEDs

    Oh, the punchlines I could come up with for that big fat softball. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want the lovely Ms. McBB to punch me next time she sees me.

  • avatar

    less Nürburgring than it was Bürgerking.

    Speaking of the ‘Ring. Today is the anniversary of Tazio Nuvolari and Enzo Ferrari spanking the big boys at Mercedes Benz & Auto Union, and embarrassing the Nazis by winning the 1935 German GP in a year old Alfa Romeo. Pictures and video here:

    http://www.carsindepth.com/?p=3269

    PS. Shouldn’t that be Bürgherking?

  • avatar
    jj99

    Again. Another domestic vehicle I have never seen on the east coast. Why do you keep reviewing oddball vehicles that only exist in and around metro Detroit?

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      I’ve seen many around Houston TX

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve seen a bunch of them here in NYC. Thing is, I’ve seen way more Lacrosse, CTS and just about everything else.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny, New York Times movie critic Pauline Kael famously couldn’t understand how Nixon got elected because nobody she knew voted for him.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      This link:

      http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Cars-Trucks-/6001/i.html?_nkw=lincoln+mkz&_dmpt=US_Cars_Trucks&_catref=1&_fspt=1&_lsbx=0&_lsot=1&_sop=7&_sadis=100&_fpos=10023&LH_Distance=10023..100

      will take you to 62 Lincoln MKZs for sale within 100 miles of Central Park West.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        Funny, I saw an MKZ with Mass plates just this weekend and another one on July 9th. They might have been rentals but still, wheels on the ground are wheels on the ground.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        We have a 07 MKZ in our family. I just used it for a 300 mile drive to CT. Nice car, very reliable (zero repairs of any kind). Pretty quick, but low 20′s for MPG. Egronomics are not great as the speedo is often blocked by my hand on the wheel. Not a Lincoln, certainly not like my old LSC, but a damn good Mercury.

  • avatar

    My Uncle had a 2007 MKZ on lease before re-leasing into a MKS Ecoboost. THE FUNNIEST PART was him trying to show me HOW FAST IT WAS LOLZ.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    God…Lincoln has really become just a trim level on a lowly Ford.

    Just kill the brand already before you screw it up even more Big Al.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Yet another great review, Jack.

    I just want to say that a) I am astonished at how far Toyota has fallen, and b) I am astonished that Lincoln charges so much for a V6 Fusion with more options (I know that many are into this integration between their iPads and vehicles, and maybe Apple will soon join up with Tesla or Mini to make their dreams come true).

    I think car prices are insanely high and insanely unstable, however, given what C4C did to the used car inventories (whereby used cars are even more insanely high), and so I will keep my RX-8, because I can, and because it’s been uber reliable for 5 years (not a single problem), and because it has a usable back seat (really), and because it’s so damn fun to drive.

    Oh, that reminds me; in looking at circa-my era of cars (2000 to 2006), it just strikes me that autos are getting worse in terms of interior finish, build quality, and exterior styling, and although some will claim I’m bashing Ford for some petty or non-rational reasons, they seem to be among the worst offenders of these trends, especially when considering the ‘interesting’ exterior designs (MKS, MKZ – my eyes! my eyes!) of the Lincoln lineup, along with what are essentially the same and for the most part, industrial sounding Ford engine being used in them versus their cheaper, downstream sibling.

    I want to be in a 2003 Lexus 400L or a 1988 Mercedes S or E Class.

    Interestingly, Jaguar seems most improved, by a wide measurement, in terms of exterior design, quality of interior materials used, and trim, though I can’t and won’t speak for the reliability issue.

    Cars right now, despite all 24/7 non-stop media inputs, reviews, fawning and gushing, seem so overrated, underwhelming, overpriced, indistinguishable and – uninspiring.

    Maybe I’m unique in that I could care less about a 8 speed transmission (give me a manual) or synch or other gadgets. I long for those good old days of distinguished styling, tank/vault like solidity, a wider range of flavors than the plain vanilla new crop.

    Cars are so uniformly blah, today, for the most part.

    I long for those good old days.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      You’ve got two pressures bearing down on stylists right now. One, of course, is fuel economy.

      The other, largely undiscussed but huge in its effect, is pedestrian protection standards. To my eyes, these have led directly to blunt upright noses, which stylists have been hard pressed to disguise with all manner of funky grilles and angled headlamps in a vain effort to retain some look of motion.

  • avatar
    John R

    Meh. I’ll take the turbocharged Korean.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: From the side: It’s a Fusion.
    From the back: It could be anything.
    From the front: It looks pretty good.

    This is the single worst thing about this car and many pthers these days. They look too much alike and it’s hard to distinguish an expensive luxury car for a plainer cheaper model. The clean side fetish car designers have has gone too far IMO. This car desperatly needs something more to catch the eye on the side view and some differences to the side glass and belt line. A nice chrome insert door molding would also do wonders. The interior is one of the few areas where this car justifies it’s price but a Fusion Sport with the same 3.5 and leather gives me pause.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    My eyes hurt !!!
    Please keep it on your side of the pond.

  • avatar
    360joules

    In my corner of the Left Coast I see younger salespeople driving these and upper trim Fusions as corporate cars and as barcode rentals. In my area, my demographic is raised to hate big 3 autos but the other night we got bored and squirreled around in some different rentals – torque steer was best tamed in this thing. Interior room was nice for me 6’4″ and um, almost having to buy “husky attire.” I liked the car.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      And that is why it will take Detroit time. Today, the reputation from the past often just does not apply. If fact, it often didn’t apply back then either. But now with the J3 slipping in overall material quality and the toaster testers finally making note of it, Detroit has a chance to use this as an opportunity to break into that anti American b–s.

  • avatar
    Keith Tomas

    Not even a different roofline to make it look different from the Fusion. It’s merely a Fusion (which IS a nice car, but not a LUXURY car, as has been noted) with a different grill. Hopefully future generations of this car will look decidedly different from its Ford twin. Why oh why did they ever stop making the LS?

  • avatar
    grayj

    As I conclude my 60th year and reflect on my lifetime’s cars ranging from a 1968 Volkswagen to the best and worst cars I have owned [77 Ford Pinto and 94 Acura Legend] to my current 2011 MKZ, I find this to be the perfect car for what I desire at this point. But, then again, I’m old.

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, but this car looks so…..pedestrian.

    If you had to describe the MKZ, it has all the look and feel of a Publix grocery store in an upscale section of town. It’s “luxury” for people who don’t know any better.

  • avatar

    How did you get Chelsea Handler into your cheap rental?

  • avatar
    amca

    I know exactly where that picture was taken – the one with the bridge in the background – Oregon, just shy of Redmond on 97. I was just there a week ago.

  • avatar
    Kate2011

    Just got a MKZ about a month ago. I have driven foreign cars for 30 years. Because of the economy I needed to spend less on a car. Between my brother’s employee discount and the rebate I got the car for a song. (0 down, free maintenance)

    I really like the car!! It drives well and I like the interior. I have to admit I was a little embarrassed to be driving a Lincoln and most people I see driving them are around 100 but I do like it and I might try the MKX next.

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    Just got a CPO 2011 MKZ AWD.

    So let me address the authors first question: is Lincoln luxury? Yes and no. Lincoln is probably fitted in between Buick and Acura. But no where near Infiniti, Lexus, Cadillac, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. Buick and Acura are similar to Lincoln in re-badging cars but Buick sells luxury at entry level prices and Acura has relied on features, performance, and value compared to competitors. Lincoln has slight edge over Buick in name in my opinion but charges Lexus prices and doesn’t provide any performance difference compared to a Regal GS or TSX or TL.

    Like I mentioned Lincoln charges Lexus prices, which is crazy. If I want to pay $35k-$50K I will buy a Lexus or Mercedes. Where the car becomes applicable is used. The car I have has the premium paint, moon roof, and AWD, which put the car new around $40k. I got the car for less than $20K.

    Is the MKZ too Fusion? Yes and no. The sides and rear and hood are very Fusion, but my biggest complain of the Fusion was the large bland grill, which is replacement with an aggressive handsome toothy grill. Styling is the one area where Lincoln could have been more creative but the inside I found to be very nice. So while the MKZ’s inside isn’t Mercedes or BMW luxury the supple leather and wood/aluminum trim made a handsome and comfortable experience. Some have pointed out plastics that don’t match color/texture, cheap e-brake, and poor eyeglass holder, but these are little things.

    Performance. This is the main problem for many reviewers. Its one thing to have your luxury car look like your sister mid size sedan or have marginal luxury improvements, but it’s another thing for performance to be the same and then pay a premium for it. The MKZ does has a more supple and quiet ride but has 263 HP V6 that that is slower and more course compared to the competition. The Buick Turbo has better handling and pep and the Acura TL has better power and feel. This leaves the MKZ in a weird spot, by now means is the standard V6 bad, but its no where near as refined compared to others. But the available AWD is nice and the Hybrid at the same cost as the gas version is even better and is something that makes the MKZ compelling.

    Overall it’s not a sports car or a true luxury car, but rather a car that tries to throws Lincoln’s hat into the ring for consideration. There are some positives with buying a Lincoln such as the huge amount of feature/tech you get standard. While Sync Touch is slow and dated even for 2011, Sync without does is very useful with its media controls and Bluetooth audio. Furthermore standard features such as Blis make the MKZ a safer car to drive.

    Lincoln tried to sway our opinion on what Luxury is about with the 2010-2012 MKZ and to be honest they put a very good package together but for me the problem of the success or lack of was do to price. You can’t try to refocus what luxury is if your charging the same prices of the competitors and I am talking about Lexus and German car prices.


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