Stepping out of Ford's shadow
With a sleek design, Lincoln's MKZ will surely outshine the Ford Fusion.
However, Lincoln realized this, and started differentiating itself from the products wearing the blue oval badge.
The first product to come out of this new plan is the Lincoln MKZ sedan, which was launched last year as a 2014 model.
While under the skin, the Lincoln MKZ has a lot in common with the current Ford Fusion, the body is completely different, as is the interior, and the MKZ gets an engine not offered on the Fusion.
So, how is it?
First impressions are spectacular – the 2014 MKZ is a beautiful car to behold. Of all the four-door coupe styled cars in the market these days, the MKZ is the best looking among that bunch. From every angle, it looks chiseled and refined. You certainly will get noticed anywhere you go in this car.
Open the door and you’ll be greeted by a very modern interior that has lots of gadgets (like optional massaging front seats and a massive panoramic roof). There is plenty of space in the front and back also, and the trunk is of a very decent size.
My only complaint about this interior is the quality of the plastic used in places like the center console, plus some areas of the steering wheel would benefit from some extra filing down.
Is it great to drive? That will depend on which model you pick. There are three powertrains currently available on the MKZ. Base engine is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-charged unit that produces a healthy 240 hp. One step up is the Hybrid model, which actually has less power – total system output between gas and electric motors is 188 hp. While these two models are nice to drive, the one you'd want is the 3.7 AWD. This model, as you’ve have guessed by now, has a 3.7-litre, V6 engine that develops 300 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox, that is quite smooth, however, I do wish its shift times were quicker.
I spent a week with the 3.7 AWD model, and found it to be a joy to spend time with. It is remarkably quiet out on the highway, and its ride quality is excellent. It handles well also, with the all-wheel drive system offering plenty of grip, which was further helped by the Pirelli P-Zero Nero tires my tester was wearing.
However, fuel consumption is not great I’m afraid. On a clear, highway run, keeping up with traffic, I struggled to do much better than 9.0-litres/100km. My city and highway average was 12.1-litres/100km. You will need to fill up its 66-litres fuel tank quite often then.
Pricing is very competitive in the luxury car segment this vehicle is in. The 2.0 EcoBoost and Hybrid model start at $37,960. The 3.7 AWD model starts at $41,660 – but if you spec it with all the available options, the price can quickly climb north of $50K.
To sum it up, the MKZ is a great first step to move the Lincoln brand away from Ford, and if they keep going in this direction, the future will be even brighter.