Keywords: lincoln mkz review, lincoln mkz, lincoln mkz price, lincoln mkz specs, lincoln mkz photos
Description: Check out the Lincoln MKZ review at CARandDRIVER.com. Use our Car Buying Guide to research Lincoln MKZ prices, specs, photos, videos, and more.
Lincoln’s slow return to building genuine luxury cars might finally be picking up speed. While the Continental concept laid out the strategy at the New York auto show, the MKZ debuting at the Los Angeles auto show is the initial play. When it goes on sale in the summer of 2016, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ will be the first car on the road to feature the brand’s fresh design language and a new, high-output engine.
While the 3.0-liter V-6 replaces the outgoing MKZ’s normally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6, lesser MKZs soldier on with carry-over engines. The base engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, creeps up five horsepower to 245 and can again be paired with either front- or all-wheel drive. The hybrid powertrain combines a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a two-motor CVT and remains a strictly front-wheel-drive affair. Lincoln executives wouldn’t confirm whether they will continue to sell the base engine and the hybrid with the same starting price for the 2017 model, but they proudly noted that strategy has elevated the hybrid to 30 percent of all MKZ sales while poaching customers from import brands.
Interestingly, Lincoln is backing away from the EcoBoost name both in its marketing and in the badging on the car. The turbocharged gas engines will instead be branded as 3.0T and 2.0T on the trunklid. Marketing execs say they’re making the change because luxury buyers aren’t interested in any “Eco” aspect of these engines, but we suspect the real intent is to obfuscate the connection between Lincoln cars and Ford engines.
The MKZ still shares its CD4 platform with the Ford Fusion, among other Blue Oval mid-size vehicles, but Lincoln hopes it can distinguish itself from its affordably priced brethren with a new, unique look. Most prominently, the unloved split-wing grille has been traded for a single-frame grille first seen on the Continental concept. It sets the tone for a simple, handsome face, even if it’s not exactly original or imposing. However, the MKZ becomes less attractive as your eyes travel rearward and you’re reminded that this is merely a midcycle facelift, not an all-new car. The graceful, sloping nose is at odds with the heavy visual weight of the high trunklid, the thick C-pillar, and the straight chamfered shoulders of the rear fenders that carry over from the current car. Someone at Lincoln must have had similar thoughts, because the company failed to distribute any photos taken from behind the car.
Knobs and buttons are the highlight of the modest interior update. To go along with the new Sync 3 interface. a spread of physical controls for the audio and climate systems replace the fussy touch-sensitive sliders and buttons in the outgoing car. New Lincoln-specific wiper and turn-signal stalks mean fewer pieces will be pulled out of the Ford parts bin.
The updated MKZ doesn’t add new tech so much as it updates what’s already offered to catch up with the competition. The adaptive cruise control will now slow the car to a stop and reaccelerate to the set speed when the road ahead is clear. (The current car only decelerates to 12 mph before handing responsibility back to the driver.) The forward-collision-warning system now detects pedestrians and applies the brakes if it predicts a crash is imminent. The self-parking feature now recognizes perpendicular spaces as well as parallel spots and can extract the vehicle from the parked position when it’s time to leave.
As the first vehicle to wear the brand’s new look, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ marks the first concerted effort to figuratively and literally remake the brand’s image. The true test, however, will come when the product cycle allows engineers and designers to rethink a Lincoln model from the ground up. For now, the MKZ gives us hope that Lincoln can carve out a space as a proper luxury brand.