By on June 5, 2014

Car Design college was a wake-up call for this auto-obsessed kid: it festered with two-faced people. There are bastard-coated souls smiling to your face, stabbing you in the back during Portfolio Review. Or friends that pity you, being your crutch via white lies and false kindness.  Bad news, especially for a Lincoln-Mercury fanboi saddened by how the MKZ became as two-faced as the industry that spawned it.

 

1The Lincoln MKZ trades the sistership Ford Fusion’s wannabe Aston schnoz for a gigantic butterfly smashed on the face of today’s upright, stubby proportioned sedan. It works, as there’s a balance of soft curves and thin lines with hard bends and thick marks.

The butterfly grille is organic but peep that Chevelle SS worthy hood bulge! The bulge has a strong center backbone and “power dome” shape that shrinks as it reaches the front fascia. Very Hot Rod Lincoln.

 

2The grille’s thick/thin teeth add significant depth. Their harmonizing with the grille frame’s upward bend only adds to the butterfly effect.

2_1Note the bumper’s creased beak: too subtle to catch the eye, yet clashes with Lincoln’s new “point free” emblem.  This nose either needs a belt sander or the 2014 Navigator emblem.

3Aside from the plastic block off plates as the grille reaches the headlight (note how the black abruptly turns gray), this is an elegant piece of kit.

4The butterfly grille effortlessly translates and surrounds the pointy-fast headlight assembly.  It’s a dramatic change from the first MKZ, as you’d be hard pressed to mistake it for a Fusion. (yet) The lower valence’s chrome trim and fog light harmonize with the butterfly too.

4_1The headlights may look flat, but not so!

5_1Note the lighter red section below my finger: an interesting soft bend at the hood’s edge, in contrast to the power done hood. Forehead much? It’d be less flabby if the bend started with the headlight’s leading edge and swept back into the body. Then, instead of being a receding hairline, we’d see a transition between the hood-fender cut line and the central power dome.

 

6Too bad about the solid grill space on the lower valence. It looks cheap, yet nothing like the yards of fake texture on spindle-grilled Lexi and big mouth Audis.

 

7Aside from that odd forehead (it really needs to start at the headlights) the MKZ pushes the right buttons.  Everything dances to the same DJ, and the bumper’s soft curve sympathizes with the butterfly grille. And it transitions to the muscular fender haunch well.

7_1No overhang and a very European signal light; tightly constrained by the wheel arch’s flat edge.  And if Edsel Ford’s Continental was influenced by the Europeans…wink, wink!

 

7_2Interesting interplay between smoked and shiny surfaces!  The MKZ’s rims blends unique ideas seamlessly, in stark contrast to the rough draft originally seen on the MKS.

 

8Clean, restrained firewall design: good use of what should rightly be a small patch of real estate.

 

9And then it became all Fusion: the latest iteration of wrong-wheel drive American Luxury is a Fusion with more chrome.  Literally, thanks to the solid chrome DLO Fail between the A-pillar and the door.

11The MKZ chrome DLO FAIL looks more expensive than the Fusion, in the same way Target is classier than WalMart.

 

10Again, too much of a Fusion…even if it really isn’t.  If you are a badge engineer, my analysis of the Fusion will come in handy. The door skins are different, but something’s lost in translation. Perhaps it’s the BMW style handles. Or the less edgy cut lines that still retain the Fusion’s angular windows. More on those later.

The point? The “let’s avoid badge engineering” mantra that we all believe needed more money, more dedication and less modification of an existing platform to work on the MKZ.

 

12A fixed vent window paired with DLO fail?  Usually one replaces the other, but the MKZ needs ‘em both to “accomplish” an A-pillar with such speed. Ford’s insistence to honor Aston Martin via family sedan failed. (Aston uses the fixed window, which obviously works on that body.)

13The chrome-y Fusion mirrors work quite well.  Too bad they aren’t unique, but whatever. This isn’t the first (last?) front wheel drive Lincoln to portend the brand’s future, as this isn’t a 1988 Continental.

 

14Wait, is this one of them fancy flagship BMW 7 series door pulls? A pretty shameful rip off.  So kudos to Lincoln for not raiding Ford’s parts bin, ribbons of shame for raiding BMW’s warehouse instead.

15This MKZ-specific B-pillar cut line works better than the Fusion from whence it came: the door and B-pillar share a common line.

16Too bad about the C-pillar: the MKZ’s cut line is flabby on such a porky side profile. The Fusion’s extra surface tension enhances the package, instead of adding unnecessary rotund-ness.

Perhaps badge engineering ain’t such a bad thing, no?  No, it’s bad…that was a trick question, son!

17And this is where it gets screwy: remember the balance of soft (butterfly) and hard (power dome hood) elements up front? There’s a bizarre, two-faced, ending to this tale. (tail?)

18The problem stems from the razor-sharp tail lights, artificially pushing back to the quarter panel/C-pillar.  And the soft spot once reserved for a “tire hump” or faux Continental kit. It’s the same idea as the power dome hood, taken to an incorrect extreme. What was needed?

The ideal balance of soft and hard elements presented up front.  How the MKZ’s butterfly grille blends with the curves of its lower valence.  This avoids the two faces of the MKZ’s design.

18_1The rear door’s flab looks muscular from here, but the number of cut lines implies “hack job”.  That is, there’s nothing luxurious about three different seams/panels on a trunk lid.

 

18_3Maybe this would be awesome if the front end ditched the butterfly for something in a Robocop.

 

18_2Nah, Robocop can’t handle these flabby planes with voluptuous BMW door pulls. But kudos are in order for not adding DLO fail to the C-pillar, like the original, super badge engineered, Lincoln MKZ.

19This is where things get ugly. Perhaps the decklid’s extra black trim is an homage to the Continental tire hump. Perhaps the two antennas (especially the quarter panel’s fixed mast) honors the CB radios that kept the Bandit out of Smokey’s reach. Or it’s just a sloppy workaround for a moving roof panel.

Then there’s the flush mounted spoiler out back: too many parts to make a single trunk lid!

19_1The extra crease adds another harsh element to the MKZ’s contrived tail.  It’s almost an homage to the Bangle Butt 7-series of yesteryear; begging for the refined (refined-ish) butt of today’s 7-series: Vellum Venom review here.

20Here you see the rotund-ness of the lower valence, in shocking contrast to the trunk lid.  Notice how rapidly the tailpipes fade to a distant vanishing point, compared to the gentle curve of the tail light.

21The harsh crease (mentioned above) encapsulates the problem: it lacks the elegance of the power dome hood on the MKZ’s butterfly front schnoz.  TWO-FACED! It’s an edgy and lumpy border, just as looney as a Continental tire hump. At least the tire hump had some precedence, and uber presence.

22The chrome lettering, spread out like the C-O-N-T-I-N-E-N-T-A-L emblems on a 1960-80s Lincoln tire hump, works elegantly.

23As do the flat top haircut with furrowed eyebrow tail lights from this angle.

 

23_1But there’s nothing Kid ‘n Play about the lower portion’s voluptuousness.

 

24The MKZ’s harsh creases accentuate with an open moon roof.  The power top must shadow the roof’s elegant curve (lest it never seals to the body), while the quarter panel has none of that.

 

25Speaking of seals: the smushed rubber at the end is less than reassuring.

 

26Definitely some “groovy” engineering involved to “channel” that much glass that far back.

 

27Perhaps my “moonroof must shadow the roof’s elegant curve” comment was incorrect. The glass top isn’t beautiful when unfurled, it’s actually ungainly.

 

28The shiny black trim looks sleek with the roof closed.  The implication of what’s possible is quite cool: the roof will slide down these rails?

No matter the MKZ’s flaws, this is still a bad ass design feature.

29Ditto the black trunk panel, just don’t  step back to see it’s misplaced round curvature. Maybe a larger swath of deck lid needed the blackout treatment.

 

30_sumsitup

While Fusion has poorly finished metalwork here, the MKZ’s rubber needs much detailing to avoid the ravages of time. Totally worth owning such a huge glass roof.  Or not: skip the two faced, almost-there badge engineering and get the Fusion.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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121 Comments on “Vellum Venom: 2013 Lincoln MKZ...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    It seems that auto designers, much like architects spend too much time trying to impress each other and not enough trying to make a design usable.

    Who at GM for decades actually thought that hiding the windshield wipers was actually a good idea? Did any of them ever try to clear the wipers and windshield after a snow or ice storm? Impossible as everything gathers in the hollow where the wipers sit. And due to this design you can’t park the car and leave the blades up so that they don’t get covered in snow. For this reason alone GM should never have sold a passenger car in Canada for about 2 decades.

    The short trunk lid on this Lincoln demonstrates another design flaw. In the winter, every time that trunk is opened, the snow is just going to drop into the trunk. And if there is too much snow, the trunk will not open at all.

    Placing lights in the ‘bumpers’, lower fenders etc is also totally impractical. Nearly very time the car gets bumped or hit by road debris there will be a light cover requiring an expensive replacement. Lights should be up high where they are visible and protected.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “It seems that auto designers, much like architects spend too much time trying to impress each other and not enough trying to make a design usable.”

      When given free reign, yes. This is why you see the best, most thoughful designs in the most utilitarian vehicles: the designers are forced into restraint.

      This is why I don’t buy the argument that thick pillars and high beltlines are the result of regulation. Econoboxes don’t have them, nor to most minivans, despite their weight. Designers like big wheels, high beltlines and fast windscreens, all of which they cannot do on, eg, a Yaris, Mirage or Grand Caravan.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        “This is why I don’t buy the argument that thick pillars and high beltlines are the result of regulation. Econoboxes don’t have them, nor to most minivans, despite their weight. Designers like big wheels, high beltlines and fast windscreens, all of which they cannot do on, eg, a Yaris, Mirage or Grand Caravan.”

        You haven’t been any many recent econoboxes recently have you? Thick pillars and high beltlines certainly are prevalent in them. Same with minivans (compare a 1st gen Nissan Quest to the current for example). It just doesn’t look like it with them because they have always had tall flat sides to begin with.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    At night, illuminated, the lighting of this car front and rear is distinctive, striking and gorgeous.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I agree with this. Every so often I see the rear end of one illuminated, passing by, and it takes me a second to figure out what it is, but it looks great.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Except for the broken middle bit of the LED, which is the reverse light. :

      • 0 avatar

        Agree about the rear. It’s elegant, like the Lincolns of the early-mid ’60s.

        The front end is another story. You can dissect it a million ways to sunday but it still looks ugly, and cheap, and there is no artistic integrity from the front to the rear. All this stupid skinny horizontal lines, and the squinty eyes.

        The first time I saw the rear of one of these, I wondered what kind of car it was. When I saw the front (which I of course recognized), I was shocked.

        FAIL!!!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Now all they need to do is make a car that looks good in daylight.

    • 0 avatar

      “At night, illuminated, the lighting of this car front and rear is distinctive, striking and gorgeous.”

      Regarding the rear, the Dodge Charger’s LED perimeter taillight looks better/more expensive at night.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        That’s very subjective. I personally like the Charger perimeter strip as well, but a number of people I have pointed it out to think it looks “tacked on” or “aftermarket”.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      She looked good until the lights came on. What had seemed a smooth curve was revealed to be a multi creased spill over mess…

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Exactly.

        The silhouette this car casts at night from any angle is beautiful. During the daylight baby got back – and the rest is sadly kind of a hot mess.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    OK, I thought the Joker’s cars were green?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The panoramic roof makes the MKZ worse. The regualr moonroof or a fixed roof looks better, and doesn’t rob headroom.

    Sajeev-

    CCS is an interesting place. It and Watyne State have helped that whole area remain one of the last viable Detroit neighborhoods. When I worked across the street, I was suprised how many international students attend CCS for transportation design. The Korean car companies were paying people to go to school there.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      I disagree. It’s a feature that’s not really meant for those outside the car to enjoy when it’s in use. Unless you drop that sucker down into the body somehow, it is what it is.

      An analogy would be nearly every soft top convertible ever made with the top up on a nice day.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I just don’t like it because I can’t drive an MKZ with a pano roof. I am too tall. So for me, I don’t like the look from the outside, and I cannot enjoy it from the inside.

    • 0 avatar

      I was shocked to see how bad Detroit has decayed since I was at CCS in ’98. But you are right, when I was at the NAIAS a few years back the facilities in/around Wayne State and CCS had improved.

      Funny you mentioned it, one of my friends at CCS was a Korean lawyer who decided to hang it up and become a car designer. I always admired his work, much like how I admire cars from South Korea these days.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Two strong-willed designers walk into a design center, after arguing for weeks, a man with wire-brimmed glasses walks in and says: “Hi, I’m here to install the roof.”

    Then a bean-counter enters, and crushes everyone’s dreams.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    So how is it that car companies keep failing these styling tests?

    I don’t necessarily disagree with these findings (although I hate the front end of this car), but do these repeated failures (DLO on almost all these reviews) show an overall incompetence on the part of industry designers or an unrealistic expectation of the author?

    I’d like to put in my vote for a review of the latest Mustang. I find the new front end on that to be ugly as well, but that’s just my taste. I’d like an analysis like the one above. Seems like a brand new car review would be more timely. Thanks

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Its not necessarily incompetence. But there are things that auto designers care more about than the general public. I doubt, for example, that most people are going to notice or care about the DLO fail of this car. It is not blatant or in your face as say the Cruze or last gen 200. Tastes are always subjective. Just because the author of this post thinks something looks bad doesn’t necessarily mean that others agree (For example, except for all the cut seams, I think the rear looks great, and I hate the shiny black trim with the roof closed.) Mehta may have been trained as an auto designer, but at the end of the day he is still just giving his opinion on the design. His opinion is not automatically more valid than the person who actually designed the thing or anybody elses, he is just better at explaining his opinion or why something might look “off” to people.

      In addition Lincoln had to design a car that could be place on the Fusion platform. That means compromises need to be made in the design. It would be great if that wasn’t the case but costs must always be considered. There is a pricepoint they have to aim for, this isn’t a million dollar car bespoke car.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    The following post is entirely subjective. Forgive me in advance for what I’m doing here, but I must get it off my chest.

    This car, in my humble opinion, is gorgeous.

    The nose is quite striking. The rear end, though bulbous, I still think looks sharp.

    Yes, the car is adorned with swoopy features here, with angular, sharp lines there. This isn’t geometry. This is a car with a very- ummm… “unique” design.

    Don’t look now- it’s a Fusion! Yeah, well- the Fusion isn’t exactly bad looking, either. (Again, this is subjective, I know, I know…)

    This car looks a hell of a lot better than a Fusion, Sajeev, my good man, whether it agrees with your protractor or not.

    By the way, this car, when clean and clad in pearlescent white, is divine. Chevy Lumina Candy Apple Red doesn’t bring this car any justice.

    If you don’t like this, well, your prayers may be answered. Lincoln just ousted one of their main designers, IIRC, so don’t lose sleep at night over this too much.

    As for me, this is very pleasing to the eye.

    By the way, I hated Geometry, although it was much easier than Algebra. Maybe that’s why I can more than tolerate what’s happened here :)

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t worry, this entire editorial is subjective too.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnnyFirebird

        I prefer the rear to the front of the car. There’s something ostentatious, very much in the manner of Korean overstyling to the Lincoln butterfly grille. Then again, the trunk doesn’t seem all that different from the Dodge Dart, but maybe is more effective on a larger vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Whenever I see a butterfly Lincoln, I’m put in mind of the NBC show which got one season, a modern interpretation of David & Goliath. The kingdom used a modern butterfly image as it’s seal, and the grille looks like that.

          I’m blanking on the name of that show at the moment, but they would certainly be using an MKZ if the show were still running.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          What I find interesting is my 13 year old (at the time) daughter saw a MXZ from the rear (daytime) and commented what a beautiful car it was.

          Just interesting to me that the next generation has an eye – I agree the rear haunch view is better than the front clip. As I noted above, illuminated at night it is gorgeous.

  • avatar
    sproc

    Does the antenna on the left rear quarter panel actually telescope? It sure looks like it. I thought those went away with pop-up headlights. Besides looking cheap, no matter how well you clean and lubricate them, failure over time nears 100%. But then, I suppose hardly anybody on a three year lease gives a damn.

    • 0 avatar
      Clarence

      That antenna looks like it came off my 1994 Mazda 626. And what’s up with FoMoCo’s approach to DRLs? I’ve seen this Lincoln on the street with cheap-looking LEDs tacked on beneath the grill. They look aftermarket, but they aren’t.

      Keep up the great work, Sajeev!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Lol I am just realizing. I had a 97 I30, which shares many design features with this car.

      -Full-width tail cluster. Check.
      -Telescoping metal antenna. Check.
      -Capital script letters across rear. Check.
      -Sunroof, check.
      -Badge engineering, check!

      Except the I30 was more tasteful.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        That’s not badge engineering. Badge Engineering is taking a Escape, putting a Mercury badge on it, and marking the price up a few thousand dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      They had to use a telescoping antenna because the normal place for an invisible antenna is to imbed wires in the roof. With an all-glass sliding roof, they couldn’t do that.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Or the back window. The Alero’s antenna was embedded here and it worked great.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        It’s not a “telescoping” antenna.

        It’s a fixed mast rubber antenna. It’s not installed on this particular car yet.

        Regardless it’s ugly, and I would prefer the standard moon roof to that.

        • 0 avatar
          sproc

          Ah, that makes sense. It wasn’t clear from the photos that it was a male screw post for a rubber antenna. That said, it looks unfinished and I can’t understand why they wouldn’t put the antenna on a showroom-prepped car.

          Also, the RSX had a rear-window embedded antenna as well and it worked just fine. Lots of makes seem to use them.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The fact that satellite radio is now standard or optional in most cars is probably why they don’t all have embedded antennas.

          • 0 avatar
            CoffeeLover

            They probably didn’t put it on in the showroom because some fool would remove it and abscond with it.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        So those wires would be run through the roof center, alongside a normal sunroof?

        Is it THAT much more to run the wire down the lower part of the car? You’d have to keep several spares around to replace the ones stolen. (At least the rubber ones MIGHT be able to survive a car wash without being ripped to shreds, unlike the power antennas of yore, the ilk of which my Mom tended to destroy when she’d take my Dad’s Accords through a car wash, and forget to turn off the radio! :-p )

  • avatar

    I really like the MKZ I think its one of the best automotive designs in recent memory from any manufacturer, and I’m seeing many on the road and they look classy to me.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Sajeev,

    This MKZ looks like a “Back to the Future,” 1980′s vision of a luxury car people would drive in the early 21st century, or a 1990′s concept car.

    It’s just too clean, antiseptic and swoopy to be credible. Its Taurus platform mate looks like a far more believable automobile.

    I did have one question about the auto industry – why is it that when you look at the world’s roster of car designers, active and retired, they ALL seem to be graduates of either Art Center or CCS.

    Why do the car companies seem to hire ONLY alumni of those two schools for their design studios?

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    Oh well, at least the bonnet (“hood”) goes all the way down to the grille; no ugly cut-line across the schnoz just above the moustache. (Yes, I do suppose I’m thinking Finn McMissile here.)

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    The only element I would’ve outright executed differently is the taillights. The narrow band is fine, but would look much nicer if it was countersunk.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    Well here’s another attempt by the so called automotive experts in design and engineering named the truth about cars to further expound on their misguided opinions and reports on Fords luxury brand Lincoln. I guess the miss aligned gas door ripoff report didn’t hurt MKZ sales enough so you chose another path. This article is just another epic fail by a group of automotive non experts who don’t know what their talking about. You can start your next Lincoln vendetta in a few months when the new MKC goes on sale.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Take it easy there, slick.

      Was this article a personal attack towards you, in any way, shape, or fashion?

      Insulting everyone just because we’re discussing the design of it amongst ourselves is a touch excessive, don’t you think?

      Also, I don’t know if you are actually reading the comments here, but there’s actually a few people in favor of this looks of this MKZ.

      Jesus. Go have your coffee, man.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        +1

      • 0 avatar
        mars3941

        I’ve had my coffee and my opinion about this anti Lincoln Motor Co. website has not changed. All of a sudden a few automotive journalists are experts in automotive design and engineering. The men and women who design cars today are well paid and educated and if their efforts fail they are quickly out of a job. In fact Max has already been replaced, so it appears some of the negativity directed towards this car has made it’s influence on Ford Motor Company’s decisions. I agree anyone is entitled to their opinion. This car has created a lot of interest again in Lincoln and if people are talking about something it must be making an impact. If this website likes to dwell on automotive failure already in place let them make their comments on the Cadillac ELR.

        • 0 avatar
          gmichaelj

          ” In fact Max has already been replaced, so it appears some of the negativity directed towards this car has made it’s influence on Ford Motor Company’s decisions. ”

          Well then perhaps these novice opinions are worth something to someone then?

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          Max Wolff is still the exterior design chief at Lincoln, he just isn’t the design director anymore. You make it sound they showed him the door.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “… my opinion about this anti Lincoln Motor Co. website has not changed.”

          I’m pretty sure that Sajeev owns an ENTIRE COLLECTION of Lincoln and Mercury products.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      Lincoln has built many great vehicles in the last hundred years, but this not one of them. For me, the quintessential Lincoln is the 1977-79 Continental Town Car, minus the stupid curlicue trim piece along the back.

      Sadly, Chrysler is totally out-Lincolning Lincoln with the 300; in its base trim package, without the huge rims or colourful calipers, the 300 is a gorgeous vehicle.

  • avatar
    Andy

    I have never noticed that black section of the trunk lid before. That says something. I actually like the MKZ overall, and find it plenty distinct from the Fusion. No more similar than the Lexus ES and Camry (now Avalon) have ever been. It’s interesting and unique. And (not a design comment), a pretty good value for a luxury hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Wait wait, how much is the hybrid?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        $35K to start.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Not as high as I was thinking. I’m guessing that’s about $8k more than the Fusion Hybrid.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah. the Fusion hybrid starts at $27K. If I load up the vehicles like I would on a a purchase, a comparable MKZ is about $3K more than the Fusion before discounts. If you don’t already own a Ford product, the MKZ will be a better deal. There is a $4000 incentive on the MKZ for someone that owns a 1995 or newer Cadillac. That would make the MKZ hyrbid cheaper than a simailar Fusion Hybrid.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Right. However the difference between the MKZ with the 2.0T and the MKZ Hybrid is rather insignificant.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Styling is subjective, but the random panel fits, misaligned panels, and the way much of the gingerbread hung on this thing fails to correspond to adjacent pieces of bling is unforgivable. Maybe it would look good on some dystopian Detroit street, but without everything around it being in ruin it looks like an absence of quality.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Guh, that rubber is terrifying! I hope there are no electronics on the floor that can’t get wet.
    Vellum Venom always sends me down the rabbit hole. It’s quickly become one of my favorite subjects here. Thanks and keep up the great work Sajeev.

    PS – I’d love to see you go over the Bangle 7 Series.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    This car could have been something special is they hadn’t insisted in that ridiculous heavy glass sliding roof and instead gone model S/A7 route and made it a lift back and gone full fastback profile. Also the design elements are excellent but the front and rear below the tail lights needs to be trimmed up and made more sleek.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Cars like this are a design disaster carried over to the owner. The stupid flush front fascia, where an actual bumper used to reside, means expensive repairs to both fascia and grille when tapped by another vehicle. The stubby trunk lid means rain snow and ice will be sitting inside when opened during the Winter months. The squinty windows ensure poor visibility and the extra blacked in border renders the already hard to see out of rear window even worse. That add on little triangle forward to the A-pillar looks like an after thought. The silly push button start conspires to have me constantly bringing my hand down to a non existent shift lever which in turn makes the center console look too plain. Also too plain and antiseptic describes the fat in the middle exterior and the non nondescript door handles. The lack of a body side protection molding conspires to make the middle look far thicker than it is, makes it look plain on the sides and also leaves the doors wide open for door jams which are a nightmare to clean up when they are lined up closely down the middle of both doors!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Oh look it has a pop-up volleyball net for the front of the roof!

    Seriously, all those seams, seals, gaskets, tracks, rubber, greased components. It’s just not worth it, far too much gimmick for anybody’s good. It’s not going to age well as you’ve mentioned, as that rubber is gonna change colors, son! You would need a tube of Shin Etsu per year just to maintain this shiz.

    I can’t get into the ungainly proportions. The MKS is almost better looking at this point, though it could use a full-width tail lamp arrangement, and L I N C O L N across it. I like when names are spelled out, it’s pure class.

    Sajeev I am surprised you didn’t criticize the center portion of the LED tail lamps, which does not light up under braking, because it’s the reversing light. It’s very poor design integration, and ruins any semblance of cool from the full width lamps when in use.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    That antenna mount is frightening. Both my current car and my last car had integrated antenna with no exposed aerial, which I greatly prefer.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      The MKZ with standard roof has an integrated antenna. The sliding glass roof on the example in question necessitates the aerial, unfortunate though it may look.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I must point out a factual error. The side orange things are not turn signals. Those are the front side marker lights, and retro reflector.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    It would be interesting to get the detailed results of Ford’s Beta Testing of the 3.5L EcoBoost.

    Leaving the gym last night at midnight prompted me to stop at a Ford dealership on the way home (which is strange, don’t know why I stopped, I’m an import guy, or so I thought). After perusing the lot, I had an epiphany and realized how great of a couple myself and a crew cab F-150 would be.

    If they can stuff these EB’s into the F-150′s, I would “presume” that the engines are fairly reliable. Although I don’t know Sh*t from Shinola about the EcoBoost.

    IIRC, that same motor is already in current police cruisers… Explorer and Taurus? ??

    In turn, despite the gimmicky, gaudy, “gotcha” styling of the MKZ, the car could prove reliable for years of use. Although the electronics are likely going to produce gremlins after a while, in typical 90′s Lincoln (NON-PANTHER Lincoln) fashion.

    My old man had a 96 Continental. 4.6L Intech. Still ran great up to 160k miles, but had all kinds of weird things going on, from psycho door ajar sensors, to power door lock malfunctions, et cetera. BUT… the suspension air bags never needed replaced, which is a feat, in and of itself. :)

    The MKZ could prove to be fairly reliable. At that point, the “there’s something about it” styling, whether you love it or you hate it, works.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I would look for the smaller 2.7TT V6 Ecoboost or the 2.3T I4 Ecoboost to replace the current 3.7L V6 in the MKZ. Here’s to hoping its the 2.7.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      From what I understand the Taurus/Explorer police variants seem to be hitting the shop more frequently earlier in the lives than their W-Impala contemporaries did/do. The figures I was given is at any given time on a certain shift there are eight able cars and a paddy wagon, and of those eight cars, six are Tauruses or Explorers, the other two being either 3900 or 3.6 W-Impalas. One out of those six seems to be in the shop at any given time for a variety of reasons. AFAIK none of those Tauruxplorers have yet suffered engine or transmission failure (as 3900 Impys are prone to the latter over time) but the highest mileage car is only in the 50s at this time.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Almost all these flaws can be fixed with judicious use of the ordering sheet.

    First, ditch the panoramic roof. This replaces the whip antenna with a proper rear windshield diversity antenna. This also loses the various channels on the rear window, which clears up the overall appearance.

    Second, order the car in black. The black painted section beneath the rear window now blends with the rest of the car, and the black rear fascia is no longer nearly as noticeable.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      But it looks so good in pearl white…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Requiring deletion of options and a specific color scheme means it’s -not- a good design.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Well only looking good in specific color schemes means it is not good design. Requiring deletion of certain options depends on the option and what we are specifically talking about. It just might mean that the option itself is not a good design, but the bones of the vehicle still is (i.e. a coupe generally looks better than a hardtop convertible with its top up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that convertible is poorly designed, if that makes any sense).

  • avatar
    stottpie

    Sajeev, I can’t believe you missed the worst offense of the entire car!

    The rear taillight, when lit up/braking, has a gap tooth. The taillight is not continuous from left to right, as it should properly be.

    http://image.automobilemag.com/f/58732288+q100+re0+ov/2014-lincoln-mkz-black-label-modern-heritage-taillight-4.jpg

  • avatar

    I LOVE this car. It’s fresh! It’s daring. It doesn’t really look like anything else on the road. It is the only instance that the Lincoln Grill even kind of works – to my eye. And the rear – too many panels aside – is shapely, swoopy and full of kinetic energy. Were I looking for a soft pseudo-luxo thing, this would be it (so long as you can still get it in AWD).

    • 0 avatar
      jrasero23

      Funny you say this. I own a last gen MKZ and I get 50/50 remarks on it. Half say “premium”, “luxury”, “oh a Lincoln!”, and the other half says “isn’t Lincoln for old people”, “you have a cab car?”. The new gen really sheds the idea that Lincoln are for old people and for cab drivers, yet the one thing that holds it back are its polarizing looks. While not a stunner, I think its better looking and made compared to an Acura TL or Lexus ES. Is is a CLA looking or AMG performance? No, but it isn’t made for that crowd.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    This was a timely post for me.

    One of my great passions is mid-century modern architecture (MCM)and through this interest I just got acquainted with one of Cadillac’s top designers. In fact, I had just dropped him a message on Facebook before coming to TTAC. This gentleman loves Cadillacs, knows the brand’s heritage and is a force to be reckoned with. I can’t reveal who he is, but I know Peter deLorenzo over at Autoextremist would label him a “True Believer”. Lincoln will need some big guns going forward.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Cannot imagine why this amateurish attempt at styling merited more pictures than just about any other vellum venom. It’s completely unworthy of the attention.

    The few times I actually see one of these on the street with normal numberplates, I wonder what in hell persuaded the owner to buy it. I can only believe one thing – blackmail.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    For what it’s worth, I actually like the MKZ. It looks very sophisticated and upscale, yet completely approachable…and I think that’s exactly what Lincoln strived for.

    For your observation about the “very European signal light”…it’s not a light at all. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. Usually, the signal-lights remain somewhere in the main housings or on the bumper, with the “Euro-mandated” signals actually residing on the fender or wing mirrors. What you see is probably just a reflector, necessitated by U.S.-specific regulations. It’s just that the Europeans are often considerate enough not to eff up the main headlamp housing with some ugly orange reflective feature. You’ll also see some global but American-badged cars that put the reflector on the bumper (like the Cruze). I wish that other manufacturers would follow this example.

    As far as the “DLO-fail” goes—something that I never noticed before Vellum Venom—I think this is the worst kind…when the A-pillar trim just barely misses the cutline of the door. I noticed it on the new Mk7 Golf (except that the glass itself actually extended somewhat past the door cutline), and I was disappointed.

    • 0 avatar
      odeen

      The Mk7 Golf has an actual window ahead of the door, not a piece of plastic:
      http://media.caranddriver.com/images/12q3/476556/2014-volkswagen-golf-gti-5-door-concept-photo-476621-s-986×603.jpg

      http://static.autoexpress.co.uk/sites/autoexpressuk/files/styles/gallery/public/3-golf-interior_0.jpg?itok=f9dF0gRS

      Since the DLO is actually open to daylight, it’s a DLO win, not a DLO fail.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I guess I’m thinking of something different as “DLO fail”. My version of DLO fail is when the door cutline goes through or around the A-pillar trim instead of meeting it at the corner…and that’s the one that bothers me the most. I don’t care about the plastic triangle itself because that’s a necessary evil if (like on most cars), the mirrors are attached to the window area rather than a stalk on the door. But you’re probably right in that “DLO fail” refers to the lack of daylight at the A-pillar area.

        My favorite combo is when manufacturers mount the mirror on a stalk and use a piece of glass in place of the triangle, but make it so that the corner of the glass touches the door cutline. Some examples of this are the Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and all current Bentley and Aston Martin models.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    This is a horribly designed car. Perhaps that is why Max was let go.

    This and the MKEscape are a disaster.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Just today I was thinking “What happened to Vellum Venom?”

    Sajeev must have been thinking the same thing.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Better yet, forget the Fusion and get a Chrysler 200C or 300.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      200C? *Maybe*. The backseat is a bit cramped, but it has style. The 300, however, seems kind of crude to me. I’m no longer particularly fond of the squared-off urban styling, and you can feel how antique the chassis is when you drive it (as I have). Especially once you’ve crested 40K, the new Hyundai Genesis is probably a better luxury product.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    The “butterfly” grille seems to hark back to the grilles on the late 1930s Zephyrs and early Continental. It worked better then on the long hoods of those days, the lower position of the grilles, and the narrower slats bounded by gently curving arcs. And, of course, the bumpers in front of the grilles muted the effect.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I’m 38 and I guess supposedly the target demographic for the MKZ, but honestly this car does nothing for me. Something about it still seems to say “geriatric”, especially looking at it from the rear 3/4 view. Also, I’m not a “sedan person”, but I love the Cadillac ATS and CTS and would really consider driving one.

  • avatar
    GMat

    Love your attention to detail. You have caused me to notice features not seen before in each of the models you cover

    Interesting that you liked the hard crease found on the gas cap door of the BMW 750i, but not so much on the Fusion.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The biggest problem with the MKZ isn’t its sheetmetal (prefer it to the ES and maybe even the new TLX), but the fact that Lincoln didn’t go far enough with the quality of materials for the interior, esp. at the price that they are asking (Lincoln did a better job in that respect with the MKC).

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    Maybe I just don’t get what other people see or maybe it’s because I own a 2011 MKZ, but for me the 2013-2014 MKZ cars are a huge step forward. Design wise they take some chances with the “butterfly” grill but journalists called the last Lincoln MKZ grill gotti or overly bold looking. Personally I like both looks and they capture American luxury lineage well. The MKZ has more chrome but is much more subdued compared to the 2010-2012 versions. Where the MKZ looses me is its sides and back, which is the same places the older gen MKZ has a lack of style. The sides of new MKZ are just too plain and Lexus ES vanilla looking and the back while original and compared to the Fusion just doesn’t do it for me. I will admit when the taillights light up when at night the cars silhouette really comes through, but in broad daylight comes off a little bulbous and very undefined. The interior is where I don’t get how people think the MKZ comes off as cheap. The leather is even softer and well done. The seats are better designed, softer, and offer more support. The dash doesn’t have a strip of metal or wooden thrown straight down anymore, but rather materials are placed with thought and character. The console is fitted to make you feel like your in a cockpit of a jet or spaceship. The steering wheel has soft leather and the controls and buttons are greatly upgraded.

    Now is the car worth $40k with some added options? No. But the 2.0 ecoboost is on par with the old 3.5 motor and even with the base model starting at $34k I think it is every good as a Lexus ES or better. Is is Mercedes good or even BMW good? No, but Lincoln isn’t going performance AMG on us or styling the car like the striking CLA but making a luxury cars for the masses. The Mkz is for the people who buy the Hondas and Toyotas of the world and see their Camry or Accord priced out in the low $30k range and see that for a couple thousand more they can step up into a premium/luxury vehicle.


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