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Motoring: 2017 Lincoln MKZ: Out with the old in with the new?

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

The new MKZ is too similar to the old version and although it's technologically advanced, it's not worth the upgrade.


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 24th, 2016




There is something oddly familiar about the 2017 Lincoln MKZ, partly because it isn’t an all-new model, but also because its face seems to have some European influence.

While Lincoln would like to tell you that the new face of the MKZ ties it up with their new flagship sedan, the Continental; truth be told, it looks like someone grafted the face of the Jaguar XF on the MKZ body, and just gave it a Lincoln grille.

If you think that is lazy styling work, just walk around to the back, where Lincoln hasn’t changed anything between the now old MKZ (2013 to 2016), and the new 2017 model.

The only difference I could spot between the older MKZ and the new one’s derriere is a little strip of chrome at the bottom of the bumper.

I think the old MKZ looked better, since the styling of its front and rear flowed nicely together. I do think the new MKZ is an attractive car, but I wish Lincoln had bothered to change its tail to match the new nose job.

Step inside and the interior is largely the same as before, but there is one big change: all the soft-touch buttons on the dashboard are gone, replaced by more conventional, easy-to-use real buttons. This is a major step in the right direction, even if some might think of it as two steps back.

The living quarters haven’t changed at all, which means, you still don’t have a lot of headroom, and the front seats, which have a lot of features, including heating and cooling, and a massage function, are not exactly comfortable. I tried hard to get the seat to suit my back and all I could manage was to get it to be tolerable.

I have an issue with the steering wheel also; its angle is tilted forwards too much. I tried to remedy that by lowering it, but then the wheel was in my lap.

Under the hood, there is some big news. For the top trim model, gone is the old 3.7 letre, naturally- aspirated, V6 motor, and in comes a new 3.0 litre, twin-turbo, V6. The new, smaller motor actually makes more power, for a total of 400 horsepower and 400 pounds per foot of torque (the old 3.7 litre motor made around 300 horsepower).

Power is still fed to all-wheels in the top model via the old six-speed automatic gearbox. While this box shifts cogs smoothly, it isn’t quick and its fuel economy suffers because it only has six gears to play with, not eight like most of its competition; I averaged 11.8 litres per 100 kilometres in my test week.

The all-wheel drive system has active torque vectoring, which sends power to whichever wheel can best handle it. That result is decent handling, even though the chassis has about as much composure as a wet napkin.

Acceleration is decent, but it won’t blow you away. Most of all, in normal driving, you’d never guess this car has 400 horsepower and I think the old motor had more character and better throttle response.

If the top model is not satisfying, then maybe one should consider the MKZ Hybrid because then you can have all the luxuries and style and save money on gas.

I will give its Hybrid variant top marks for fuel economy, as I averaged just 6.4 litres per 100 kilometre with it, but there is a downside, it is deathly slow. It’s acceleration is so slow that you have the fear of being hit as you come out of an intersection because it can’t move out of the way of oncoming traffic fast enough.

The MKZ Hybrid has a 2.0 litre, inline-four cylinder motor that, with the help of its electric drivetrain, produces a max power output of 188 horsepower and 129 pounds per foot of torque. Couple that with its horrible CVT transmission and its weight and you have a car that can be out accelerated by a moped.

There is a model that is between the Twin-Turbo and Hybrid in terms of performance, and it comes with a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged motor that makes 240 horsepower, and 275 pounds per foot of torque, but I haven’t driven it yet and I don’t think Lincoln would want me to drive one after they read this review. Could it be the best of the bunch?

From what I experienced, the new MKZ leaves a lot to be desired. While it has lots of tech, which includes a great stereo, it is not as comfortable as you’d want it to be, nor is it as nice to drive as you’d hope for it to be. Prices start from $41,250 for the 2017 MKZ, but with options and drivetrain choices, that sticker can quickly move past $60,000.

I really wanted to like this new MKZ, but I didn’t. It leaves a lot to be desired, so I say back to the drawing board Lincoln.
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