By on September 9, 2013

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Øyvind Birkeland is a Mechanical Engineer from Norway who works with developing internal combustion engines. A lifelong car enthusiast, he owns a 1961 Ford Anglia which has been sitting in a barn for 20 years. Mr. Brikeland is a Panther Lover, having owned a 1997 Crown Victoria LX in the past. After reading the recent review of the MKZ here on TTAC and hearing about the fallout, he contacted us to offer his thoughts regarding the car — JB

This summer my girlfriend and I decided to do a road trip across the US from LA to Miami. Like many Europeans we have been thinking and dreaming about doing something like this for a while, so this year we decided to do it. We booked a flight to LA and a return ticket from Miami 23 days later. A lifelong car enthusiast, the biggest job for me during the preparation for this trip was to find the right car. I was seriously considering buying back my ’97 Crown Vic LX which I had owned while living in San Diego and using it for the trip, but I didn’t know what shape it was in and I deemed it too risky. We decided to get a rental instead. It was imperative for me to have an American car; coming back home to Europe and telling people I did a 4000 mile Trans-American road trip in a Kia would be an embarrassment I would not have been able to live with. Luckily National provides a rental class which only includes Cadillacs and Lincolns. We booked it without knowing which model we were going to get.

Arriving at LAX the excitement of getting to explore the parking lot’s LCAR section was pretty intense. To my absolute joy there were several 2013 MKZs waiting for us to choose from. I have really liked the design of this car after seeing the Super Bowl commercial and it was my absolute favorite of National’s LCAR fleet. This was also before Kreindler’s infamous slaughter of the car, so I was in bliss. We immediately grabbed a black 3.7. Except for the large engine, the car was in its absolute base configuration which means a MRSP of just over $37k. However, basic configuration in the MKZ includes the CCD suspension, Active Noise Control, paddle shifters, a nice stereo with Sirius XM and leather seats. I was satisfied. I think a similarly equipped BMW 330i would cost somewhere around $11k more, so my first impression was that you’ll get good value for your money with the MKZ.

It had been a while since I drove a car with an automatic, but it did feel nice to just press D on the dash and cruise around LA in this absolutely gorgeous car. I put the suspension in comfort mode which provides a very smooth ride. Combined with the Active Noise Control, cruising on both city streets and highway roads was more comfortable than in any other car I have driven to date. German cars in the same price segment do not perform as well at this as the MKZ in my opinion.

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As the picture shows we went for a drive up the winding roads of Mulholland drive. With S-mode activated the car changes character. The steering and dynamic suspension firms up and invites you to utilize all 300 hp from the V6. The active noise control does not mute the engine growl, which sounds pretty good for a midsize family sedan. However the transmission leaves a lot to be desired. It is a traditional automatic with a torque converter and it feels slushy even with the flappy paddle override activated. It is no problem keeping it in gear until the redline, but gear changes are slow and uninspiring. With such a nice engine and suspension system, the only right thing to do would be to give it a great twin-clutched fast shifting box. However, I don’t know if Ford currently has one that would do this car justice, and as Americans don’t buy stick shifts the 6F-50 was the only transmission left in their parts bin. Annoyingly, Lincoln has built in a “safety” feature into the electronics of this transmission which can infuriate the calmest of men: if you for some reason should open the driver’s door while backing up, the transmission throws itself into Park, kamikaze style. As rearward visibility in the MKZ is very bad, this “safety feature” can be very annoying when trying to figure out how far you are from the curb or another car while backing into a parking space. The lag between pushing the button and the car shifting back to R is also too long, adding to the irritation.

When we are talking about annoying things about the MKZ, it makes me want to ask Ford a serious question: Who was the genius who decided to put highly reflective chrome rings around the buttons on the steering wheel? In the afternoon when the sun is low the light hits them through the window and for some magic reason the sun’s rays always end up in the middle of the drivers eyeballs, making you want to rip the trim right off the steering wheel. And in the unlikely situation that the chrome rings are not in a position to blind you, you can be sure the big Lincoln cross in the middle of the steering wheel is. So while it surely is way too dangerous to back up at 3 mph into a parking space with the door halfway open, driving though 85 mph traffic in Texas completely blinded by the sun is not a problem according to the Lincoln engineers. Adding to the frustration the buttons on the steering wheel are unresponsive and requires to be pushed in much longer than what you assume.

However, I am not going to turn this into another MKZ-slaughter today. I do like the car a whole lot, so let me continue with some good sides again. On the outside, best side of the car is arguably the ass-side of it. In my opinion it looks pretty distinguishable, which is something I would imagine the car designers try to accomplish. The MKS is a good example of the opposite. However, distinguishable design does not always mean good design. In the MKZ’s case I believe the designers nailed it pretty well. Design wise it has differentiated itself a lot more from the Fusion than the CD3 did, even though I might like the Fusion better at least from the side view. I would imagine that it’s important for the average Lincoln buyer that people doesn’t confuse it with a Fusion. I am looking forward to seeing similar design cues on the next models. I also like the fact that Lincoln has not been tempted to use retro styling on it. Cadillac also refrained from using any type of retro styling on the CTS and it worked out pretty well at first. Nobody in their right mind would choose a 2012 MKZ over a 2012 CTS based only on design. Next year the table might have turned. The MKZ has gone from meh to wow, while the CTS has gone from cool to bloated. But then there is the situation regarding FWD/RWD. Let’s not get into that discussion.

On the inside, the MKZ has been transformed from something extremely boring and ’90s looking to something that is innovative, practical and very good looking. Why any car maker that offers a car without a manual option insists on wasting perfectly good center console area on a pointless knob is beyond my comprehension. When Lincoln instead put the gear selection up on the dash it freed up space to make a very good looking dash/center console unit. There are two open shelves in the center console that is convenient for putting your phone, wallet, Snus or whatever you might carry in your pockets. On top there are some nicely hidden cup holders and ash tray/12V socket, and RCA connectors, SD-slot and two USB ports in the arm rest. There is however a serious problem with the dash and integrated touch screen, and it is called “fingerprints”. After only a day it starts to look very smudgy. This again leads to difficulties reading the information on the slow operating infotainment MySyncing Lincoln Touchness screen or whatever they call it. And why do automakers nowadays think it’s a good idea making touch screens and buttons that it is impossible to operate without actually taking your eyes off the road? What is the problem with buttons that you can feel with your fingers without looking at them? I guess they forgot how to make good looking buttons (if they ever really knew how to do it. I don’t know the answer to that one).

Everybody is complaining about badge engineering this and not a real Lincoln that, right? But then the concept of kit architecture and platform sharing is hailed as the only way to be able to survive in the future of the car industry. So where does the border go between badge engineering and platform sharing? My Skoda Superb is built on the same B5 platform as the Audi A4 but it doesn’t give me much premium car love from my non-engineer friends. Yet when I have to change any mechanical parts on it I always notice that they all have four rings stamped on them. Like the old Superb, the MKZ is built on a very good platform that is well regarded by auto journalists and car buyers alike. Lincoln’s problem however is that the Fusion got the CD4 first. VAG always gives Audi the new things first and then adopts it to VW and then to Seat and Skoda. If Ford did it the same way, giving Lincoln the new stuff first and then passing it down to Ford afterwards, maybe the situation would have been different and the accusations of badly performed Badge Engineering would calm down a bit.

We drove the car 4000 miles through nine states and it was a fantastic trip. The combination of very comfortable front seats, a good looking and quiet interior, adjustable suspension and a great stereo made it a very good highway cruiser. The computer showed 26 MPG for the whole 4000 miles. I am used to getting MPG in the low ‘40s in my diesel Superb, so I wasn’t impressed. But then again my Skoda doesn’t have 300 hp. I never really inspected the quality issues like panel gaps and poor finish in the welds on it, but I guess stuff like that would be possible to improve on the production line. If it’s still an issue I hope they will figure out how to fix it soon. My fuel filler door never popped open unexpectedly like it did on Kreindler’s loaner.

So what do you get if you decide to buy an MKZ? Is it just a glorified Fusion with a special grill and no gear knob at a much higher price? I haven’t tried the Fusion, but my initial answer would be no. The ’13 Lincoln is definitely a lot more distinguishable from the Fusion than the previous one was. Whether you like the Fusion’s or the MKZ’s design best, there is no mistaking one for the other anymore. It’s around $6k more expensive than a Fusion Titanium, but for your extra money you do get a V6, the advanced Continuously Controlled Damper system, active noise control and a more luxurious interior. And unlike new Buicks it doesn’t look like a grandfather’s car. I am a 28 year old mechanical engineer and I felt really good driving around in it, better than I would if I was driving a comparable German car. If I should give it a numerical value on a scale of zero to something I would give it an e on a scale from 0 – π.

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114 Comments on “4000 Miles In A Lincoln MKZ...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So what we need is a head to head 3.7V6 vs Ecobost 2.0 comparison to see what sorts of real world differences in driveability the stats translate into.

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    Nice to see a real-world review of a good car, instead of the drive-round-the-block hit piece we sometimes enjoy. Now for the same old chorus of Ford/Lincoln haters to explain why you’re wrong…

    • 0 avatar
      Øyvind Birkeland

      I look forward to that!

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’m waiting for Panther buffs to defend their cars and demand to know how some “FWD Unibody Taurus” could be anymore comfier than their high mileage Taxis.

      And I’ll be rooting for Øyvind.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        If Derek’s piece of the MKfuZion was an assassination attempt, this “review” is a wet sloppy Beejer down upon it, and by someone who openly admits (kudos for that, at least) that they’ve never driven its 16k to 8k “cheaper” stablemate.

        This “review” was as ambiguous, with ambiguous & hollow descriptions and catchphrases to match, as any review I’ve read in quite a while; he thinks it looks nice, rides nicely, and is comfortable (despite a literal co cornucopia of reviews that state that it does nothing better, while looking far less nice, than the Fusion.

        By the way, for whom it’s relevant, the MKfuZion is now dead last in its category, receiving 60 to the class leading Impala’s 95 points, in the edition of Consumer Reports fully vetting the new Impala.

        • 0 avatar
          thejesus

          While your comments are mostly accurate, I resent your assertion that the Fusion is better looking. It’s a cross between a basking whale shark and a member of the chess club trying to look tough. Can we not all agree to never, ever put a fake wing on a family sedan? Anyways, the Lincoln looks pretty good from the rear and the side. The front? Jeeesh…but I drive a Mazda 3 that looks like a buck-toothed drooler so what do I know…

        • 0 avatar
          MLS

          Wait. There’s an actual cornucopia of poor MKZ reviews somewhere? Where is it? Dearborn?

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    My 2008 Taurus also has a bindingly reflective trim piece around the shifter in the center console. Luckily it’s not fitted especially well, so I can just pull it off when it’s a big issue. My wife questioned this a couple days ago until I turned right and the glare hit her eyes.

    This is something that is a legitimate safety issue and I can only imagine it amplifies in luxury brands as people associate shiny with fancy. I wish designers and engineers would look at things like this other than just driving dynamics and overall functionality.

    • 0 avatar
      ShoogyBee

      My 2010 Camry LE is largely chrome-free inside, but there is one thumbnail-sized piece of plasti-chrome near the transmission lever. When sunlight hits it at just the ‘right’ angle, it is supremely irritating.

      I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to drive a recent Buick or the new Toyota Avalon with their chrome-rimmed gauges and/or dash trim. The reflections must be maddening.

  • avatar
    LBJs Love Child

    Hell, even matte-black plasti-dipped pieces reflect the sun blindingly in Texas.

    Looks like the Norwegian Embargo won’t have to go into effect.

    Overall, a nice review of a nice car written from an interesting perspective.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I can’t wait til I see a landau MKZ. Gold metallic / black landau please. I love the back of this thing, but can’t say I care for the rest of it.

    I would say it’d make a good used buy a couple years from now, but it’ll take a couple years to fix up the production QC issues. So let’s say 7 years from now you can buy a 4 year old one and it might be a good deal.

    In other thoughts, can’t believe the MKS is stuck with the same engine as this car, and it’s much heavier.

    • 0 avatar
      Slave2anMG

      I saw Caddy CTS Landaus all over the Tampa/St Pete area last time I was down there…black car, white obscenely padded vinyl landau top, gold “drug dealer trim kit” badging and a geriatric behind the wheel…usually going 55 in the left lane on I-4.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Can’t look any more hideous than the last Camry I saw get that treatment. The Camry is the new Buick Century road roach. What I’m expecting next is a Prius with a vinyl roof.

  • avatar

    >>>Annoyingly, Lincoln has built in a “safety” feature into the electronics of this transmission which can infuriate the calmest of men: if you for some reason should open the driver’s door while backing up, the transmission throws itself into Park, kamikaze style.

    unbelievably stupid! Especially on top of the lousy view out the rear.

    On the styling, it IS a nice looking car from the back or the side. Too bad about the face.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “Everybody is complaining about badge engineering this and not a real Lincoln that, right? But then the concept of kit architecture and platform sharing is hailed as the only way to be able to survive in the future of the car industry.”

    I always did say that 80′s GM and Chrysler were ahead of the times, at least when I saw that VW was going the same route.

    To me platform sharing goes a few inches past changing a few badges and the front grille, but at the same time if two cars share a platform they’re still the same thing in my eyes.

    Its why I’d take a Golf R32 over an Audi TT.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I don’t know Audi’s gearboxes just have this smoothness to me that doesn’t translate to the VW. I suppose since you’d take the R32 you’d get stuck with the DSG rendering my previous point moot, but I’d rather take a TT-RS (though not at GT500 money).

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        Ion, I had a 2009 A4 with automatic, and traded it eventually for a 2012 VW Golf TDI with DSG. At least for me, the VW box is totally better in virtually every way, though you will get an occasional lurch at low speeds. A pretty minor matter when you get in return, lightning fast shifts both up and down. Jack found that soulless in the GTI he just reviewed, but I certainly wouldn’t call the standard Audi automatic soulful. You want soul, best to get the stick in either case.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “VAG always gives Audi the new things first and then adopts it to VW and then to Seat and Skoda. If Ford did it the same way,giving Lincoln the new stuff first and then passing it down to Ford afterwards”

    Lincoln accounts for 4% of Ford’s US sales (and probably zero percent of their ROW sales), while Audi is about 20% of VW sales in the US (and possible similar worldwide). It would make no sense to develop a new platform for Lincoln and then pass it down to Ford later, Ford’s bread-and-butter cars would be perpetually out of date with the competition.

  • avatar

    I think most Americans suffer from some form Post-Conti Stress Disorder and V8tits or something. For much of the ROW, this is a pure dream and a bona fide luxury car. I’ll bet 98.7% of Brazilians have never ever ridden in anything nicer.

    Great looking car, from the back, side and even the front on this one works for me. Refreshing really to see a non-American reviewing this. I’d expect more of the same from other nationalities were they to review this car

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Hehe you said v8 tits.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I guess it depends on your definition of ‘luxury’. To me, the MK-whatever is just as much ‘faux luxury’ as any of the wallowing land-barge luxury yachts of the ’70s. It’s fundamentally a much cheaper car tinseled up with toys and chrome. There’s no breeding there at all. Note that I feel the same way about the Titanium Fusion. I’d rather have the most basic German car without all the toys for similar money. Tinseled up cheap is still cheap.

      Øyvind gets it exactly right in the VW/Audi comparison – make a platform good enough for Audi, and you have a really excellent VW (or Skoda). Making a decent Ford does not make for a great Lincolns. And then they just can’t manage to sweat the little details the way the Europeans do. Or maybe they just don’t care. Ultimately, the Lincoln IS a decent car, but it is FAAAR from being a great one, or anywhere near class leading. And the people who like this sort of thing are still dying off. GM seems to get this, what they are doing with Cadillac is certainly the right way to go. I could see myself driving an ATS or a CTS. A current Lincoln? Uh, not a snowball’s chance in Hades.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey krhodes1!

        I see you point and kinda of agree. But what is real luxury? Certainly not what’s available in smaller AudiBMWMercedes. They are well put together and work as intended, but I find the ambience in these cars very stark and unimaginative. Just on ride or sensation, I guess most people would feel the Lincoln as more luxurious.

        As to the ride, well that’s a whole ‘nother bag of worms. However, among FWD drive sedans, the Fusion and thus this Lincoln, are probably the best out there in terms of suspension, steering etc. The engines might be, or not, depending on what you value.

        BTW, I agree on Cadillac. German cars are the template. I think that whoever gets close enough to them in terms of ride, while still managing to offer comfort, more space, and a more appealing design. Nothing lasts forever. Like Volvo lost the crown on safety, one day someone will mount a credible attack on the Germans. While this Lincoln is probably not it, for them it’s probably a step in the right direction as good design and a comfortable ride, while giving occupants the illusion of luxury is certainly easier than making a Series 3 competitor.

        Finally, yes, it does depend on your POV. For people outside NA, with no Lincoln baggage, this is surely a luxury car.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          It’s all taste, ultimately. I like stark. As pointed out, glitzy chrome is pretty annoying. A simple design made out of high quality materials is what I find luxurious. My BMW may be stark, but it is all very nice stuff inside, and BMW sweats ALL the little details (no blinding chrome highlights). I also don’t think a 3-series is a luxury car any more than the Lincoln is, but it certainly is a far more PREMIUM car than the Lincoln. Ultimately, the Lincoln IS the most tarted-up version of an $18K car. I also don’t find a wallowy ride luxurious, just nauseating. Luxurious is a well controlled ride that lets you drive FAST on poor surfaces with complete confidence. There is no point in having 300hp if the suspension is so biased towards comfort that you can’t use it. A non-sport package 3-series rides just as nicely on the highway, while running rings around any of the FWD mid-sizers on a bumpy, lumpy back road, without any electronic suspension trickery that will cost the Earth to fix someday.

          I can see your point though – the Lincoln would seem luxurious to someone who had never been in anything better.

          IMHO – Volvo never really had the crown on safety, they just never had anything else to talk about. Mercedes have ALWAYS been safer than Volvos, and Saabs were just as safe if not safer in a lot of ways. 240s especially had better demographics than anything else.

          • 0 avatar
            vbofw

            From a size perspective, wouldn’t an MKZ be more accurately compared to a 5-series? Instead of a 3?

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Occasionally Volvo would mention longevity and pure durability, I always had more interest in those factors than safety.

            What modern car can you bump at 5 mph and not have an expensive repair bill?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “What modern car can you bump at 5 mph and not have an expensive repair bill?”

            Which is one of the many reasons why buying new may not be the right move.

            Also, check out 144 commercials on YT. During this period they lauded the fact the 144 was well built and could outlast most things on the road while delivering exceptional (for the time) mileage. Very comparable to Toyota-esqe marketing today, they appealed to wallets.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @vbofw

            The MK-Fusion is much closer in size and price to a 3-series, the MK-Taurus is more 5-series sized and priced. The Lincolns are a fair bit cheaper than the equivalent BMW of course. In particular, the latest 3-series is a pretty big car, much to the chagrin of the BMW faithful.

            @Ryoku

            None. That was an insurance-industry sponsored Government requirement, not anything the car makers really wanted to do. Though Volvo certainly ran with it, it fit nicely into their marketing shtick. And note, I LOVE RWD Volvos, I’ve owned more than a dozen of them, and still think the late 940s were among the best cars ever made. They are what a Panther wishes it was. But I also do not look at them through rose-colored glasses when it comes to how safe they are – if you want to try to move a bridge with a car, I strongly suggest using a same year Mercedes for that task, not a Volvo. And that holds true from the 1950′s to today.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At rhodes: One of the reasons I own an old RWD Volvo is from your advice, that and I couldn’t stand the “couch seating position” that the Panthers offer amongst other well documented quibbles.

            If I could find an old Mercedes that wasn’t run dry and abused by some hipster I’d buy it, well that and if I had the money.

            I do agree that 240s weren’t the safest car on the road for the 80′s and certainly aren’t for modern times, but without touchscreens to disract me and minimum blindspots they’re good at avoiding accidents.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            RWD Volvo? I’ll take a P1800, please…

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            krhodes, you should read the recent VW Vortex thread from the disgusted anonymous BMW employee. He rips his own company’s products as degraded, unreliable cheap crap.

          • 0 avatar
            thejesus

            krhodes1:

            While I’m vaguely on your team…though I’d say I like ‘minimalism’ more than ‘stark’…I think you’re guilty of a bit of confirmation bias, or of just liking BMWs and not liking Lincolns. By definition, ‘luxury’ and ‘stark’ don’t really go together. Nor does luxury and simple. Maybe it’s what you find attractive, but it’s not really luxurious. Nothing wrong with that, just not really how the word is defined or used in context.

            Same with your love of your Bimmer’s handling…but luxurious isn’t a ‘well controlled ride that lets your drive fast’. That’s sporty. A luxurious ride would be comfortable and, in the past, certainly a little wallowy. That’s what separated luxury cars from sporty cars. You’d be hard-pressed to find a proper Bavarian describe a 3 series as a luxury car. I’m not sure I’d go with ‘premium’ either. More ‘premium’? Perhaps. How about ‘better’? Or ‘more sporty’? Anyways, chalk it up to the continual debasement of language; seems as though everything these days must be spoken of in superlatives. Something that most people can get starting at $450 a month on lease probably shouldn’t be considered luxury…or premium. Where were we again? Oh yeah. BMW good. Lincoln bad.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I think chrome bits are to satisfy my father’s generation. Some how the newly AARP crowd associate a lack of chrome with cheapness. I know supposedly chrome window trim adds perceived value which is why Accords have it.

    I on the other hand find chrome trim tacky. Exterior chrome gets destroyed by salt and interior chrome blinds, peels, and gets dirty easily.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Some how the newly AARP crowd associate a lack of chrome with cheapness”

      I’m 32 and I equate a lack of chrome with cheapness. Tasteful chrome especially helps set apart platform mates.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I’m halfway between 32 and AARP, and I lean towards “it’s tacky”. A very minimal amount of chrome is fine as a highlight. BMW gets this right – a fine bead around the nostril grilles, a fine bead around the roundels, and on some models, a bit of window trim. Garish chrome beaks and enormous grilles, and huge swaths across the tail – tacky as all get-out. And don’t get me started on overly complex chromed up taillights (and FIAT is guilty here). Platform mates should be distinguished by sheet metal, not chrome.

        If you weren’t a car enthusiast, you would never really know to look at them that the current Fusion and MKZ are platform mates, so the chrome is just unnecessary garishness to appeal to a certain demographic. Which ultimately IS what the MKZ is for anyway. Most guys like me are going to either save a bundle and buy the Ford, or they are going to spend not much more and go German/Acura/Infiniti. This car is a throwback. My Grandparents would absolutely LOVE it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You may have a point, if I dialed down the IQ to 100 and neglected to do my homework I would probably be fooled. However as you point out a minimal amount of chrome can work well as here in the case of Zephyr.

          I have to chuckle at the notion of this model being a “throwback” as its garish “modern” styling is anything but an homage to the brand’s heritage… more of an affront.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            A throw back in the sense that the over-done styling appeals to the same sorts who loved the baroque barges of the ’70s and 80s. Nobody is going to cross-shop this with a German car. It’s not terrible or completely unattractive, but it isn’t restrained either. I can very much see it being cross-shopped with a Chrysler 300, which to my eye is a very shouty “look at me” kind of car in many of its trim levels.

            My Grandmother, bless her heart, would WANT hers with a Landau roof on it. The big sunroof would just muss her hair. She thought her ’85 Olds 98 in black with tons’o’chrome, lipstick red slither-leather, padded vinyl roof and fake wire wheel covers was the prettiest car ever made by the hand of man.

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          I’ll admit I’ve been mildly obsessed with this car’s looks since I was completely blinded by one on a small country road as it approached in the oncoming lane. With the sun behind me the grill caught ALL the light and it looked like the entire car was a headlight. That may sound stupid but it looked glorious. Definitely trumped the 300′s “look at me!” styling you mention below.

          For the record I can’t imagine any chrome use that will ever out-ugly the Verano’s taillight eyebrows.

    • 0 avatar
      69firebird

      Horsebiscuits.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice review Øyvind.

    • 0 avatar
      Øyvind Birkeland

      Thanks!

      • 0 avatar
        papaj1

        Nice balanced review of a (mostly) pointless car. A well-equipped Fusion with the 231 HP Eco-boost engine runs about $26K and to my eye is a much better-looking ride than the Lincoln.

        When I was a kid a Lincoln Continental was a true luxury brand with little or no Ford DNA; today the car is just a gussied-up Fusion, hard to imagine who in his right mind would buy an MKZ.

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          Lol, when were you a kid? as far back as at least the 60s a continental was a full sized Ford. Ford chassis suspension drivetrain etc.

          Sheet metal and other styling bits have been all that separates a Lincoln from a Crown Vic for decades.

          The last time Lincoln had its own motor it was a flathead and a failure.

          At least GM brands largely maintained their own distinct powerplants for most of their history and Cadillac specifically has maintained some significant distinctions from the rest of the house until very recently.

  • avatar
    TorontoSkeptic

    I really, really dislike the reviewer ending the article with “well it’s only $6k more that [extremely similar sedan from same company].”

    First off, $6k is real money (and yes, I know all TTAC are Porsche-driving ballers with no other financial obligations beyond their cars).

    Secondly, you have to put that amount in context. $37k is a lot of money for a car… how does it compare to the obvious competition like a G37, an IS 250, an Acura TL, hell how about a Kia Cadenza?

    Third, even if it’s “only” $6k you’re getting… not too much for your money. A V6? You can get that in almost any mid-sized family sedan (even the hated Camry). A nicer interior? That’s not worth $6k.

    It’s like those reviews of the complete dregs of the industry – Dodge Avenger, last-gen Impala and Sentra – that take the contrarian view and say “hey this isn’t really THAT bad.” Cars have to be taken in context, compared to the market, otherwise every review just ends up at “well I guess it works and has some good features.”

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Dude you can get an ES for less than $37k too. Which on size and power train is more competitive with the MKX than the IS.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Camry derived or Fusion derived V6 sedan… hmmm. If I want to stand out a little, its going to be the latter, if I’m resale conscious the former. Both will be pretty nice at what they deliver and both are hideously overpriced. Personally with 37K I’m going to build/rebuild the car I want.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Nope, the ES is now on the Avalon platform.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Point taken. Wikipedia is not very clear it says they are based on each other for MY13 under the ES and Avalon pages. The platform is called XX40.

            “The redesigned ES no longer directly shares the Toyota Camry platform, and instead is built on the Toyota Avalon platform which is 50 mm (2 inches) longer than the Camry.”

            “The redesigned Avalon was partially revealed at the New York International Auto Show in April 2012, to be based on the same platform as the Lexus ES.”

          • 0 avatar
            Ion

            The Avalon is still based on the Camry. The same way a Flex, Taurus, and Explorer are all related.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            The Avalon platform is just a stretched Camry platform and yes, many still confuse platform sharing with simple rebadging.

    • 0 avatar
      Øyvind Birkeland

      Well, I didn’t write that it’s only $6k more. I wrote that it’s around $6k more. The reader/potential buyer must decide for themselves whether it’s “only $6k” or not. I haven’t even driven the Fusion so I have no idea.

  • avatar

    Nothing about this car interested me so I didn’t even consider it. Sure I could save thousands on gas each year, but it’s just not in any way interesting to myself. Nor is the MKS.

    I’d rather take that $50,000 and put it towards an XTS.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      “I’d rather take that $50,000 and put it towards an XTS.”

      You may be able to get an XTS for that – last I checked they were throwing $5,000 of dealer cash, prior to all the other one-off $1,000s and $500s here and there.

  • avatar
    vvk

    What would be a “comparable German car?” BMW 5er, Mercedes E-klasse, Audi A6 and Opel Insignia?

    Just curious what you are comparing with…

    • 0 avatar
      TorontoSkeptic

      I’m wondering that too… E-class and 5-series are a huge step up from this in price, like $50k for a base model with a 4-cylinder.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        You can’t get an E or 5 with a 4-cylinder engine in the States*, where Lincoln is competing.

        When he says “I think a similarly equipped BMW 330i would cost somewhere around $11k more, so my first impression was that you’ll get good value for your money with the MKZ.” that makes me think he was thinking the 330i was comparable, though my impression is the 5 series is more apt in terms of size.

        (* The 40kEuro E200CDI with 136 horsepower is *baffling* to me. Sure, that kind of power is adequately zippy … in my Corolla. But a 40,000 euro Sedan? WHAT?)

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Say what? The 528i has the very same turbo-4 as the 328i here in the states. Debuted that engine in fact. We don’t get the 330i anymore, haven’t since ’06. I imagine that the base E-class will also be a turbo-4 when the new one comes out, but I don’t know that for a fact. As an ex-Saab pilot, I am all for the turbo-4s. Power when you need it, economy when you don’t.

          You would buy an E200CDI if you are in one of the countries that taxes the hell out of anything bigger than a 2.0L. 136hp, but probably well north of 200lb-ft of torque. It will get around quite nicely. I’ve driven an e34 518i with a 1.8l gas 4 with 134hp and no torque to speak of, and even that was entirely adequate. The little diesels are much better.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The “F10″ 528i originally debuted with a 3.0L naturally-aspirated I-6 in MY2011. It did not get the 2.0L turbo-four until MY2012.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Kyree, you are correct, but the 2.0T debuted in the F10, the F30 3-series did not come out until 2013.

        • 0 avatar
          Marko

          An E250 Bluetec, with a four-cylinder turbo-diesel, is coming soon.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I don’t care for the “German car” or “American car” labels. If it’s wrong to assume things about people because of their nationality, it should be wrong to do the same about cars. Don’t generalize and compare it to “German cars,” compare it to specific cars (which happen to come from Germany) and note specific details about the comparisons.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        No its not wrong. Companies make products not people and you have to judge the potential quality of a new product by the past efforts of those same companies.

        BMW has a long history of building solid cars with a whole list of assets besides along with a list of deficits. When deciding what car to drop your money on it is perfectly valid to look at past products and past conduct of a corporation to help determine the probable outcome of a new product.

        A new BMW will almost certainly have most of the attributes of the cars that preceded it. So if those cars were what you want in a new car the new car is likely to meet your needs.

        More simply put we know that cars from Germany tend to be solidly built with class leading refinement decent power and performance less than stellar reliability high costs for replacement parts and service and a steep depreciation rate. All those things that applied to past cars will almost certainly apply to a new one.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The MKZ is a FWD midsize (like the Acura TL) that competes with the compact RWD segment on price – so altho they are their own distinct sub-segment, usually get compared to the compacts and not the RWD midsizers.

      As an aside, nowadays, don’t see how a Kia Cadenza would be any more “embarrassing” than the MKZ.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Kia doesn’t have decades of heritage, its a brand as recently as ten years ago that sold cheap wind up toys and called them cars. By building something that some may consider ridiculous they are shooting for the moon and it might work… if not oh well in the grand scheme of things its a forgettable brand. Lincoln is a brand who as recently as ten years ago offered serious semi-luxurious models and now has fallen from grace.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          10 years ago? What a Town Car? Please.

          Sorry, but the Quoris absolutely wipes the floor with any Lincoln made in the past 10 years, even longer.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Very much disagree, however its difficult to do a direct comparison of models designed in the mid to late 90s (or earlier) to ones designed in the late 00s.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          I’m talking about here and now and not models from the past.

          From a purely auto basis, the Cadenza is on par with the MKZ and the Quoris is way better than any current Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      My point is that truly comparable German cars are, while undeniably more expensive, probably substantially better and more desirable. Nice things cost money…

      BMW 330 is a compact executive, not the same category as the MKZ or whatever this Ford Fusion is called. It’s a mass market car, of course it is cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        thejesus

        $450 on a lease, about half a million sales…sorry, but the 3 series is an aspirational mass-market car. Someone working at Starbucks and living at home can drive one. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game…

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Oh please. Nobody working at Starbucks is leasing a new 3-series unless Daddy leased it for them. $450/mo is still a decent chunk of change.

          Ultimately is comes down to would you prefer to have the tinseled up version of a cheap car, or the base model of something more premium. The price is about the same. In fact, the base MKZ is more expensive than the base model 3-series in the States (at least not considering the inevitable cash pile on the hood). But ultimately, a $35K+ MKZ shares an awful lot with an 18K Fusion, while a $32K 320i is the same car as a $60k 3-series, just with less power and fewer toys. Different ballparks entirely.

          • 0 avatar
            thejesus

            krhodes1:

            Man, I wish it weren’t true because it would make me feel better about my life. But it is true, at least here in Vancouver. Indeed, unlike most things, I didn’t pull that one outta my a$$; it’s my friend and coworker’s sister. Worked part time at Starbucks going through school, just went to full time and decided that her present to herself for finishing school was that 320 she always wanted. It’s not unusual for people in this city to live at home till they get married due to culture and the face-melting price of housing so her car is her big expense, mom and dad don’t charge her rent and medical isn’t an issue. Minimum wage here is $10.25/hr and she makes just north of that so just south of $20k a year plus tips. When I made fun of her financial management she said that she paid for her car and insurance out of her tips, roughly $7500 a year that the government doesn’t know about.

            Ask anyone who has ever been here…lots and lots of young folks in 3-series, C-series and A4′s. And it’s not because mommy and daddy paid. They went to school, got a reasonable job and, living at home, a car isn’t a big expense. I drive a Mazda 3 because I have this weird idea that I should pay in full for my cars. It’s not a BMW, but it’s all mine at least.

            As for the comparison with the MKZ, trust me, I’m with you. My first memories of a car apart from a VW Van are whippin’ around with my dad in his Bavaria, a machine that was a stripped down version of a fancier ride. I love BMW’s and I’d much rather have a small rear-wheel drive car with none of the bells-and-whistles. Hell, rip out the power seats and make them manual adjust and cloth. I guess I’m taking issue with semantics…for me, the 3 series is a better car and the one I’d like to own, I’m just not sure it qualifies as ‘premium’ and I think it probably comes close to meeting the definition of a mass market car. What can I say, though, I’m a prole and would be happier to drive a BMW if it was a prole’s car.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I love the embrace of American culture from Scandinavians.

    I owned a 1977 Cadillac Eldorado a few years ago, and the buyer was a Norwegian that shipped it back to his country. American cars like that are apparently all the rage.

  • avatar
    NeinNeinNein

    The fact is you cant compare these cars to German cars and end up looking positive. German cars are the standard by which everything else is judged unless you’re looking to get from Point A to B—in which case you go ToyHonHudaKiaNissan. Whatev.
    My advice, get some wrenches or save your $$ and go German.
    Jah Jah Jah.
    Lincoln………..hahahahahah. Cmon.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Wow, those annoying chrome assets on the steering wheel are even glinting in the _official interior photo_! Strange how they’re so shiny, while the “metal” trim on the dashboard has a brushed/matte finish:

    http://img2.netcarshow.com/Lincoln-MKZ_2013_800x600_wallpaper_0a.jpg

  • avatar
    slance66

    I like the piece. It’s a good looking car, much nicer than the prior generation. The Fusion platform is solid, and is a European platform for those who bother with such things, as it underpins the Mondeo, which they sell quite a lot of across the pond. So the usual Ford haters who say a VW gets an “Audi” platform, as if that means anything, can own up to that reality. Per Jack’s pieces on the Fusion, it seems that the platform itself and the inherent capability of the suspension, is not lacking in the least. It would be a step up from say, the Passat.

    The only two complaints I see as valid are (1) that it seems some models were poorly put together, at least based on anecdotal evidence and (2) it costs more than a Fusion. Which begs the question, is this a bad deal at $37k (assuming you didn’t know about the Fusion)? Is the Fusion just a great deal at its price?

    The real complaint I see is that like Cadillac, BMW, Audi, MB and JLR, Lincoln has included brand markup in the price and most of you think the brand is worthless and therefore object to paying more for it than a Ford.

  • avatar
    vbofw

    THIS: -> “Why any car maker that offers a car without a manual option insists on wasting perfectly good center console area on a pointless knob is beyond my comprehension.”

    Nicely done.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    ” On top there are some nicely hidden cup holders and ash tray/12V socket, and RCA connectors, SD-slot and two USB ports in the arm rest. ”

    RCA connectors?

    What… are they for?

    (SD? Like that; it’s at least 3/4 sensible as a way to let you just drop music [or a maps/firmware update] in without having a USB stick randomly jutting out.)

  • avatar
    hands of lunchmeat

    Its been discussed here before, but Broughamization has brought this discussion upon us. Camps divided between people who want the supposed better brand, versus those who dont see the point. Its hard to argue with the latter when very few options divide the two. Ten years ago when you couldnt get baubles like PDC Nav or Xenon in all but the most loaded to the gills Lux cars, to 5 years later when you could get a compact car with those option boxes it gets hard for people to justify why you would.

    Id Say the biggest discrepancy between buying your tarted up avalon versus your tarted up fusion is 99% of the time, the fusion is sitting right next to it, while the avalon is down the block in a different store.

  • avatar
    wc1972

    The stupid feature of shifting to ‘P’ with a open door would have saved a few stupid lives in China, had they had this feature in their cars.
    A woman who just got her driver’s license managed to kill her husband and herself while parking into her garage, with her kids in the Lexus RX270 (a I-4 version of the RX350).
    How did she do that? She was practicing parking back into her underground garage (which has three walls and one door AND with a driveway so narrow that it is not possible to park head-first). Her husband was giving her direction while standing INSIDE the puny garage. She pushed the gas paddle too hard, crushing her husband against the wall. Realizing what she did, she panicked, OPENED THE DOOR, leaning out of the door halfway, AND pushed the gas even further, with the gear in ‘R’. This killed her husband, and killed herself, when the door scraped against the left side wall, with her jammed between the door and the frame.
    This feature would have saved her life, probably her husband’s as well. The open question is, of course, what other safety ‘features’ does she need to save her in the future? ‘No gas when wearing heels’? ‘Automatic braking when talking on the phone’? Or ‘Autopilot’?

  • avatar
    mies

    Øyvind makes a good point about chrome trim on the interior. My Honda has a chrome H in the steering wheel and I have had some uncomfortable drives from the glare. I’d rather just have the H imprint in the rubber and be done with it. Steering wheels don’t need chrome trim.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Oyvind, it was interesting to read your perspective on this car . . . as a person who is not in the business of critiquing cars, but who simply drove one a good distance and noted his observations.

    My first experience with the predecessor of this car, the Zephyr, was about 4 years ago. I was completely underwhelmed in almost every way (the engine/drivetrain was o.k.). In particular, the suspension was hard, but did not afford good handling. And the interior probably looked good in photographs . . . but certainly not in person. There was no way I would pay a premium for this car over a top-line Fusion.

    I haven’t read anyone getting too excited about the “Ecoboost” turbo 4 in the topline Fusion, so, I suspect, the V-6 from the Taurus is a nice upgrade.

    I hope you and your friend enjoyed your drive across the U.S. It’s something everyone should do at least once.

  • avatar
    h2323

    not a bad review, horrible picture though, horrible

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m just glad they don’t offer a Landau top, those not only hark back to an era in Detroit we’d best move on from, but they also often collect moisture and increase rust on the roof.

    On top of that they just plain look ugly 90% of the time.

  • avatar
    Doeth

    Took this car on a 900 mile trip recently. 2014 model was a loaner from Enterprise. I was very disappointed with this car. I wanted to like it, but at the end of the day would not spend the extra cash to upgrade from the Fusion.

    I found this car to be surprisingly loud on the highway, with lots road and tire noise.

    I think Lincoln tried to walk the line between sports tuned wheel balance and good old American luxury cruise balance. In the end, however, the steering was unsatisfactory in both categories.

    The interior was flimsy in many spots, especially around the center console.

    I did like,, well love, the 3.7 engine which supplied great power to the car. Overall however, I would not purchase this vehicle. Frankly it had been on my radar of cars to buy, it no longer is. I think Lincoln still has much work to do if they want to be a class leader, or even fully differentiate itself from the Ford brand.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Since you posted this comment, it reminded me of something I saw this weekend. The Derek review which made Lincoln mad included a reference to the gas cap hanging loose often.

      On Saturday I drove by an Enterprise office, and there was a rental MKZ parked outside, in the nice dark red color. The gas cap was sagging and hanging open!

      • 0 avatar
        Doeth

        Funny, I had a similar experience on my rental. At first I thought I had broken the gas cap lid, then quickly realized that it was just very poorly designed and executed. AM has hit a home run with Ford, to bad he has not sprinkled some of that magic on Lincoln.

  • avatar
    jfinftw1982

    I just test-drove a fully loaded 3.7 MKZ, fwd. It drove great, looked great, but the interior was cheap. Also, I counted five different rattles in the car. I don’t know if it was because this car had the HUGE panoramic sunroof option, or not. It just rattled, and I was turned off.


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