2019 Lincoln MKZ Adds Tech, Ditches Black Label, Begins Probable Death March
With the future of Ford’s sedans looking rather bleak, Lincoln has made some changes to the MKZ for the 2019 model year. There’s nothing really wrong with the luxury sedan; it’s a solid performer (minus the recalls) and has become rather handsome since its 2017 facelift. But it’s too similar to its sibling car, the Ford Fusion, and has lacked some of the technology rival manufacturers have added as standard equipment.
This has caused the model to hover around 30,000 annual delivers in the United States for as far back as we can remember. Meanwhile, the Fusion went into 209,623 American driveways last year. However neither vehicle is on course for a record sales year. The Fusion has endured a major decline in popularity since 2015 and the MKZ might not even break 20,000 sales in the U.S. by year’s end.
Ford plans on dropping the Fusion eventually, which means the MKZ is likely to follow it into the grave. But the pair should stick around a little longer than the rest of the company’s passenger cars, so Lincoln wants to give customers something to remember it by while simultaneously streamlining its production.
According to CarsDirect, Lincoln will no longer offer the Black Label configuration for the 2019 MKZ. It will continue being affixed to other models, however. This leaves the sedan limited to just three flavors: base and two tiers of the Reserve trim. You might not remember (or care) but Black Label offered exclusive interior options and perks like free car washes and annual detailing. It also yields members free rentals from AVIS when traveling and a bevy of other interesting hookups like complimentary dinners at fancy restaurants.
The MKZ is also losing the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 on all but the highest Reserve II trim. It was previously available on the mid-tier configuration, offering 350 hp for the front-wheel drive model and 400 ponies on the all-wheel drive. But now you have to buy the fancier model, which is a bummer since it means shelling out several thousand dollars more to have an unassuming bruiser. The MKZ Reserve II with the best engine now costs $48,740 for the front-wheel drive version and $51,740 with all-wheel drive.
The good news is that you can still order a 2018 model with the bad-assed V6 at a lower price point and still nab Lincoln’s Black Label — if you’re into that sort of thing. However, we recommend pumping the brakes if you’re not interested in power because you’ll risk missing out on the tech upgrades coming with the 2019 model as standard.
Those include Co-Pilot360, which bundles automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam crawling, a reverse camera, and automatic high beams. Those features were previously part of a rather-expensive technology package but they are now standard — rising the base MKZ’s price to a claimed $36,990 including destination.
That’s incredibly reasonable if you consider the 2018 model with emergency braking required customers to step up a trim level and buy the tech pack to the tune of $42,000. However, if you’re not interested in those kinds of features, then all you’ll see is a 2.0-liter base model that costs about $500 more than it did last year.
A problem remains, however. With the exception of the 3.0-liter turbo you can get vast majority of these features on a Fusion equipped with the reasonably potent 2.7-liter EcoBoost (325 hp) and all-wheel drive, for less than $36,000. We’d definitely recommend cross shopping if you’re considering the Lincoln and seeing what kind of incentives are available.
[Image: Lincoln Motor Company]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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