By on July 29, 2018

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]

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31 Comments on “2019 Lincoln MKZ Adds Tech, Ditches Black Label, Begins Probable Death March...”

  • avatar

    The Fusion may have dropped in popularity, but I still see an absolute ton of the things around here (upstate NY), with lots of them post-2015 (based on headlight design). Not as many as I see crossovers, but probably more than any other single car model.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis


      That’s part of the problem. As people switch to crossovers there are a ton of used Fusions and Focuses hitting the used car market. Suppressing resale values across Fords entire line.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The facelift was for 2017, actually. Which actually emphasizes your point.

      • 0 avatar

        Ah, I thought the new headlights came in in 2016. So, yeah, that means there are quite a few pretty recent ones around.

        There’s definitely some skew due to dealer presence; there are no Mazda/BMW/Merc/Lexus/Infiniti dealers within about 50 miles, for example. But it’s easy enough to get your mitts on an Accord/Camry/Sonata/Altima/Malibu and there are still absolutely tons of Fusions.

        Fusions had been on my own list for when my Sonata’s lease came up, but two sub-par rental experiences and the difficulty of finding a non-stripper example dented my enthusiasm. Ended up with a nearly loaded super-low-mileage Hyundai Genesis…

  • avatar

    Go toward the light, Ford, just let go.

  • avatar

    The MKZ and the Fusion are both great cars for the money (we know both are heavily discounted), but people are just not that interested in great cars anymore. I bet you could get this MKZ for pretty close to $40K. I wish I was in the market for a nice sedan

    • 0 avatar

      CPO MKZs are fairly reasonably priced as well. 2.0T, AWD, etc. for the low to mid 20s. I’ll definitely look at one the next time I’m in the market for a sedan.

    • 0 avatar

      it has not been my experience that the mkz (the 3.0t awd reserve or better that is worth having) have seen great discounts. one of the reasons why it will not break 20K sales this year (is overpriced for what you get)

    • 0 avatar

      We got our CPO MKZ about 28 months ago with 17.5K on it. We got over 20K off the sticker on a new one and it came with all the options we wanted: 3.7, AWD, glass sliding roof and massaging seats. We’ve put 20K miles on it and it has been bulletproof. The surprise, for me, is that if you dial up the most aggressive suspension and transmission settings, it’s a hoot to drive, with solid power and a tendency to delay upshifts which makes it behave more like a car with a manual transmission. Handling is good and, as a bonus (with Blizzaks mounted) it’s the best winter car I’ve owned. The back seat isn’t great, but no one ever rides back there anyway. It may not be the best car in its class, but as a CPO car, you would be hard-pressed to find a better value.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a 2017 with the 3.0L TT and can confirm what bunkie says. I’ve dialed the settings to sport when in Drive and gone for the sportiest settings when I select Sport. The suspension really firms up, the steering seems much tighter but it’s the throttle response in Sport that really puts a grin on my face. The 3.0L engine is a real gem too. This is hands down the nicest car I’ve owned in the 34 years since I bought my first car.

        But… having said all that, I have come to the conclusion that as great as this car is it isn’t for me. But I’m probably the only guy who ever bought a Lincoln hoping it would be an engaging car. Most likely this will be succeeded by a Golf R next year. Yeah… go ahead and heap on the scorn. I’ve own a bunch of VWs and have never had even a minor issue with them.

  • avatar

    Buy this wallpapers Fusion for 70% off in 3 years (it is overpriced and a soon-to-be orphan).

    2021 Jim HACKett legacy Hot Garbage CPO Sale.

  • avatar

    I’m still surprised that Lincoln is just going to quit the field rather than do a proper redesign and smash the ugly, uninspired ES350 that still has no AWD option, nowhere near as much power, is boring to drive, doesn’t even offer heated rear seats, and has ugly, cheap looking rear turn signals that look like incandescent bulbs but aren’t? Because China, or something. Did I mention Lexus remote touch is still garbage?

    How is it that Honda can keep making a business case for the RLX that sells about 17 cars per year, but Lincoln won’t keep these around?

    The Fusion comparison is always strange to me considering all of the tech that’s available in the ES350 is also in the Camry, or most other luxury/mainstream equivalents. I’ve driven both the Ford and own the Lincoln. Touch any surface, literally ANYTHING in both cars, and you can immediately tell which one is the mainstream car you’ll find on rental lots across the country.

    The Ford is nice for what it is, but even the top level stereo is pretty much crap, there’s no panoramic roof option, no massage seats, you get a cheap looking instrument panel, the steering wheel feels the same in your hands as what’s in a Focus, whereas the Lincoln wheel feels comparable to a Mercedes or BMW steering wheel.

    There’s nothing wrong with this car that a materials upgrade comparable to the Navigator and a modern 8+ speed automatic wouldn’t fix, but Lincoln seems content with abandoning an entire customer base instead to sell upscale school buses like Acura does.

    • 0 avatar

      The massage seats, panoramic roof, and yes the steering wheel made the difference to me, to go for a MKZ over a Fusion.

    • 0 avatar

      Lincoln giving up is standard old Detroit thinking, back again at Ford. If something doesn’t sell, they cancel it and replace it with something of a different name. Still haven’t figured out that the top sellers in each segment get regular redesigns and keep the same name from year to year.

      As for saying the MKZ is too similar to the Fusion – that again is an old auto writer saw that was relevant for decades, but especially now is no longer correct. Aside from sharing the chassis and engines, the MKZ is a unique design. No one complains that Audis are too similar to VWs, even though they share everything and are even starting to look alike.

  • avatar

    I’ve always been intrigued by this car. I am a big fan of the Fusion, and I love the style of this Lincoln and the upmarket touches.

    I suspect my next ride will be a truck/suv so I can get myself out in the mountains camping and skiing more away from every last possible human, but if I were to get another sedan, I definitely have this on the list. Unfortunately for Lincoln, slightly used however.

  • avatar

    These are at the top of my used car shopping list. I’ve always loved the sculpted rear view, glad they didn’t change that with the refresh.

  • avatar

    prob is they are cheap feeling inside. the logical buyer for this town car owns a Chrysler 200. I don’t know what they are thinking- if alfa can come in and sell cars in america after so long- and make a great product with an interior that is basic but very nice, why can’t Lincoln?

  • avatar

    can’t prove it, but my opinion is that the Cheshire Cat mustache design motif killed 6 years worth of Lincoln sales.

    The Jaguar copycat snout looks much better. Especially on the MkX/Nautilus.

    Hope that it isn’t too little too late. And Lincoln survives the next recession—whenever, if ever it shows up.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t hate the Cheshire Cat grill. It grows on you. Looks good on the 2012 MKZ.

      However, you’re not wrong. It certainly had a negative impact on sales. A very odd choice.

  • avatar

    “…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.”

    So, are you are a responsible good driver who is looking for a car that you would actually enjoy driving or you looking for a comfortable moving living room with all the electronic gadgets needed to remove the “chore” of actually driving?

  • avatar

    I like the Continental much better and have actually started to see them in the wild (but only when I venture to the “big city” like Albuquerque.) However Continental CPO advertised prices are pretty sill compared to a CPO XTS.

    The only current generation MKZ I can recall seeing was 2 when they were first released (one in a black cherry metallic in a grocery store parking lot and one in white owned by a neighbor of my in-laws). Otherwise they seem to be even more thin on the ground than many other vehicles that supposedly sell 30,000 copies per year.

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