Lincoln has done a good job of packaging the MKZ hybrid without a price premium…

 

The Lincoln MKZ is the first vehicle in a four-vehicle transformation coming from the premium carmaker over a four-year timeline.

The MKZ has been selling well and the hybrid model has sold much better than Lincoln was expecting. But the reality is that Lincoln has a long way to go to resurrect this once mighty American luxury brand. It’s hoped the brand’s new fashion-forward design will attract younger buyers, rather than the older crowd that traditionally purchases the brand. Another is providing value, something luxury buyers are not used too.

The base MKZ and the Hybrid have the same starting price of $37,960.

Looks

This big Lincoln is built off the same platform as the less expensive Ford Fusion. It could be argued that the front waterfall grille is dramatic and takes that base Ford sedan and turns it into the Lincoln with good effects. The standard LED headlamps also make a statement. It is the back of the car that I’m not sure about. The super clean and rather square rear deck lid and bumper, framed by a full width taillight, look modern but the rest of the car has sweeping lines. The back is chunkier looking. One thing we really miss is a rear trunk release on the outside of the car; you have to use the key fob or the interior release. When you open the trunk, the area for storing the hybrid battery pack really limits the amount of space for carrying larger objects.

Inside

Front and centre is the standard MyLincoln Touch system, which is the same as the MyFord Touch system. If Lincoln wants to charge more for its products, it should install a different system, as Cadillac does with the Cue system. Both the regular gas model and the hybrid come nicely equipped. Many buyers will likely opt for the preferred package at $6,100 to get the huge panoramic sunroof, navigation system, heated rear seats and steering wheel, backup camera, blind spot warning system and more. This was the package on my test car, and it is a good deal, because for $46,000, the MKZ comes loaded. As a comparison, the Lexus ES hybrid fully loaded is more than $53,000.

Drive

The MKZ is sold in three configurations, the base front wheel drive (FWD) with a 4-cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine an all wheel drive (AWD) with a 3.7L V6 or this hybrid. Unfortunately, the V6 is the only one with AWD. The 2.0L Ecoboost turbo 4-cylinder is the same one used in the Range Rover Evoque and pumps out 240hp. The 3.7L V6 has 300hp and the 2.0L 4-cylinder matched to a hybrid system has a rather pokey 141hp. The upside is that this car is rated at 4.0L/100kmh in both the city and highway. As I have remarked before, the Ford/Lincoln hybrid system is one of the best on the market but invigorating it is not. This is a cruiser; the whole setup is refined and muted making this MKZ not as edgy as it looks.

Historically, Lincoln’s main rival has been Cadillac but now these two companies couldn’t be farther apart. Cadillac, with its award winning ATS and new CTS, contends with the best German products. This MKZ isn’t going to get German car buyers excited.

Verdict

Lincoln has done a good job of packaging the MKZ hybrid without a price premium. It comes nicely equipped and when fully loaded is a relative bargain in the luxury space.

But there are a few problems. One is the push button transmission. I’m not opposed to buttons, just to the fact they are not close to the driver; it’s a bit of a reach, especially going back and forth from drive and reverse, several times, when parking. I much prefer the rotary dial in the Jaguar or the column shifter in the Mercedes products. The rest of the centre console is covered in hard plastic with sliding controls for the heat and radio, the rest are touch-sensitive. Call me old school but I prefer a conventional layout. The biggest rival for this car is the less expensive Ford Fusion on which it is based. Lincoln should do more to differentiate itself from Ford.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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The Lowdown

Power: 2.0L and hybrid system with 141hp

Fill-up: 4.0L/4.0L/100km (city/highway)

Sticker price: $37,960

2 thoughts on “Car Review: The MKZ, First in a Transformative Phase for Lincoln

    Peter says:

    I saw Zack and Lacey review this on their TV show. Zack has it wrong, I own this car and there IS a trunk release, it is where they usually are on other cars, above the licence plate. The plate is mounted low on the bumper, but the opener switch is there. On his TV show he also called this the waterfall grill, when it is the split wing grill. I agree all the touch sensitive and push button items take some getting used to, but I like them, and I like the MyLincoln screen. We have the 2014 Mercedes e250 diesel also, this has almost all the features, is much cheaper and is actually getting 2 liters/100 km better fuel economy which surprised me. The Mercedes shifter was much more difficult to get used to then the push button, and the Mercedes cruise is hidden behind the steering wheel and much more difficult to use than the Lincoln.

    Peter says:

    Oh, and the preferred package does not include the panoramic roof which is a great feature. The preferred package requires the ADDITION of either the standard or panoramic sunroof. The hybrid version really has no direct rivals. There are few luxury hybrids at this price. It’s often compared to the Lexus, but that is a more expensive car and in my opinion, the styling is also polarizing, I don’t like the Lexus spindle grills and I really don’t like their dash designs.

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