Overview & Reviews
Associated more with cars driven by your grandmother or a New York chauffeur, Lincoln has struggled in recent years to earn a more prestigious image. One of the most important cars to establishing a new course is the Lincoln MKZ, the brand's representative in the ultra-competitive entry-level luxury sedan category.
The first-generation MKZ wasn't especially successful in its mission, as there was little differentiation between the MKZ and the Ford Fusion upon which it was based. However, the second-generation MKZ represents another chance. Though still mechanically based on the Fusion, there are substantially more visual and mechanical delineations between the two. Unlike before, you'd be hard-pressed to tell they're related. More importantly, though, the new Lincoln MKZ is a far more appealing luxury sedan that can legitimately be considered alongside established players.
Current Lincoln MKZ
The Lincoln MKZ is completely redesigned for 2013. It's a car that's going to be hard to miss on the road, as the exterior features a boldly styled rear end and a new look for the Lincoln corporate grille. The cabin is also now suitably upscale for this class of car and adapts Lincoln/Ford's latest electronics controls. Under the skin reside new engines and mechanical underpinnings similar to those in the equally new Ford Fusion.
As is the case with an increasing number of other vehicles in its class, the MKZ's standard engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder. It produces a very healthy 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.7-liter V6 good for 300 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both engines feature competitive power and fuel economy for the class. They also both come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional. The MKZ Hybrid gets Ford's latest gasoline-electric powertrain with 188 combined hp and fuel economy in the mid-40 range.
There is no shortage of equipment, with items like adaptive suspension, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, an 11-speaker sound system and the MyLincoln Touch suite of electronics interfaces gracing the standard features list. High-tech options include a lane-keeping system, a collision warning system, rear seatbelt airbags, adaptive cruise control, an automatic parallel parking system and an enormous panoramic roof that essentially retracts its glass panel atop the rear window.
There's no question that Lincoln has packed on a lot of kit for its newest MKZ. But the end result is a little disappointing. You can still get most of those high-end features on the Fusion, for instance, and for a price that's thousands of dollars cheaper. Placed in comparison with other entry-level luxury sedans, the MKZ also suffers from its finicky MyLincoln Touch electronics interface, underwhelming interior quality and more confining seating.
Overall, the MKZ has some nice qualities, and we like the effort put forth to make it more distinctive than in years past. But shoppers in search of a top entry-level luxury sedan should also take a look at other choices such as the Acura TL, Lexus ES 350 and Volvo S60 before going with this newest Lincoln.
Used Lincoln MKZ Models
The previous Lincoln MKZ was sold from 2007-'12. (Technically, the car debuted for 2006 but was called the Zephyr for that first year.) Like the current MKZ, the first-generation MKZ was mechanically similar to the Ford Fusion of its time period, but there was substantially less differentiation between the two cars. Although the Lincoln had unique front and rear ends, in profile they appeared to be carbon copies of each other. Passenger space was no different, and both felt very similar behind the wheel.
It's important to note that the MKZ received a significant refresh for 2010. Cars produced before then can be identified by their more restrained, squared-off grille. The cabin featured a retro-inspired design consisting of an upright dash, sharp angles and a large horizontal strip of wood. Unfortunately, the quality of materials was barely better than that of the Fusion, and the various buttons and knobs were no different from those found in a Ford.
Under the hood, these MKZ models came with the same 3.0-liter V6 found in the Fusion that produced 221 hp and 205 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission were standard, while all-wheel drive was an option for all but '07. That first-year MKZ was also not available with rear parking sensors or the Sync electronics interface. Stability control was also unavailable until '09, which was a glaring omission in the luxury segment.
In general we would not recommend the MKZ in these early years. We don't think the changes made for 2010 were enough to make it a compelling alternate to Audis or BMWs, even though the MKZ was indeed greatly improved.
For that 2010 update, Lincoln ditched the retro feel for a more contemporary approach. The materials were improved, the myriad buttons and knobs were now unique to Lincoln and the number of standard features increased. The exterior transformation was less significant, but it did adopt the more dramatic waterfall grille and bolder headlights inspired by other Lincoln models at the time.
Under the hood, the MKZ received a new 3.5-liter V6 that produced 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. Once again, a six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive were standard, with all-wheel drive an option. This powertrain was shared with the special Fusion Sport model, but now it at least produced sufficient power for the class.
Also new was a Sport Appearance package, which despite the name actually provided a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels that made the MKZ surprisingly fun to drive. The ride was a bit firm, though, so most consumers will likely prefer the more comfortable standard setup that still provides fairly nimble handling.
For 2011, the MKZ Hybrid debuted. This, not surprisingly, applied the MKZ's styling and cabin to the Ford Fusion Hybrid powertrain. A combination of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, electric motor and battery pack produced a total of 191 hp and returned 39 mpg combined. That made it the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan of the time.
In total, a used Lincoln MKZ produced between 2010 and 2012 will get you a lot of equipment for the money and a car that's surprisingly fun to drive despite the reputation of its brand. However, most other luxury sedans are still more desirable overall, and a loaded Ford Fusion will bring with it much of the same attributes for even less money.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 331.00
Great Ride - 2008 Lincoln MKZ
By Cathy Meagher - July 28 - 6:55 am
My 2008 MKZ was 5 years old when I purchased it. Drove to Florida 4 times, zips on to highway between traffic, when I needed speed & pick-up, very good gas milage & very comfortable ride long distance. It is 12 years old and getting 20 + mpg around town at 103,000 total miles. #lovemylincolnMKZ
Classy Car, Smooth Ride - 2012 Lincoln MKZ
By Eileen - December 19 - 6:29 pm
True Lincoln engineered ride... Crystal White exterior, light cashmere interior, nice interior wood features... ample trunk room, moon roof seldom use ... leather could be more durable... why black carpet ... should have been cashmere color. Purchased July 2015 --- one owner, spotless, looks new ... Bad mileage with AC on. Climate control & AC works great. Love backup camera... Received all manuals with some warranty remaining. Manual describes a replaceable interior air filter to mitigate dust, which I need to figure out. Was seeking a luxury car and refused to drop $45K as I drive only 7,000 miles per year, so this was a perfect pick! Considered the Cadillac CTS, but was a bit turned off for a few reasons and my mechanic advised to steer away- too many issues. He worked on MKZs over the years and gives high marks for reliability and no major issues. Newer MKZs 2013/14 are gaudy with back spoiler, takes away class appeal and interior looked cheap with no crafted wood moldings. Receive many compliments on mine and its a smooth drive, nice smooth pull. Very happy!
Made the right choice - 2008 Lincoln MKZ
By mkz fan - November 28 - 12:36 pm
I obsessed endlessly between BMW 328; Mercedes C series; CTS, Lexus Es and I35. Finally chose MKZ for its costs, fuel (regular) and full set of options. After nearly 4k miles, I couldnt be happier. Plenty of power, comfort and impressive fuel economy. SYNC needs to be linked with correct phone but after that it is wonderful as is the THX system. Car responds better than others tested and I have had more positive comments than I have had with any other car. Great on long trips and agile in city. Trunk clicks open and Ive not encountered any problem with it. Everything else has worked perfectly and dealer couldnt be more responsive. Even comparing with the MKS, Im sure of my choice.
Luxury Sports Car - 2011 Lincoln MKZ
By sussexman - November 14 - 5:48 pm
I have had my MKZ for 6 months now and overall it is a great car. I was looking for a comfortable car that kept me connected to the road and the MKZ did that better then CTS, BMW or Mercedes for the dollar. If you spend allot of time in the car as I do 8500 miles already and you are 64" this is a great vehicle. I am getting 21 MPG. The car is also very quiet. Navigation is also accurate and speech access makes it easy to use wile driving. Plenty of power both off the start and passing however transmission gets rough when you get on it. Trans is smooth during normal driving. You have to pull out the headlight switch to turn on driving lights this is poor placement as your knee turns it off.
Smiles per Miles, and going strong - 2014 Lincoln MKZ
By alfista79 - November 1 - 8:31 am
I actually have the V6 AWD, but I cannot select it in the options list. Love the exterior design, I am just smitten by its sinister beauty, especially in SmokedQuartz. The V6 is rev-happy, albeit not as torquey as GMs; the suspension is tight, and the electronic steering is not numb, nor too heavy. In AWD form with Pirellis summer rubber, the car feels glued to the road on sharp, fast turns. Acceleration is brisk enough, but remember, this is NOT meant to be a Mustang for Lincoln; rather, a luxurious performance cruiser, and it fits the bill nicely. Interior is plush, supportive, and it gets plenty of praises, especially the novel arch! Touch-controls are not bad at all, as some mags say.
Best car Ive ever owned - 2008 Lincoln MKZ
By Ben Youngblood - October 27 - 3:58 pm
While not flashy in appearance, the MKZ is an incredibly high value car considering it is nice looking, comfortable, performs well, and incredibly reliable. I bought the car used with 50K miles and now up to 85K. Nothing but regular maintenance at a 7,500 interval. Ive owned 2 Hondas, 2 Infinitis, a Mazda, and a chevy. The MKZ is easily the best all around and returns the greatest value. If looking for a high value used sedan, there are many low mileage 2010-2012 models available.
Great car for the money - 2008 Lincoln MKZ
By Bill H. - October 14 - 10:00 am
I went to the dealer to buy a Fusion or Milan, but loved the MKZ as soon as I saw it. The interior is beautiful, the engine is strong and it has all the options of a much more expensive car. I have been on several road trips and have found it to be a very comfortable ride and the gas mileage is better than average. Overall, I love almost everything about my new Lincoln as does everyone who takes a close enough look at it. Great job on this one Ford!!
Vehicle mpg not true. - 2014 Lincoln MKZ
By edsmerc50 - October 6 - 1:42 am
Disappointed in the mpg. sheet states 45mpg. Dealership rechecked 04/01/2014 for mpg and no problems found to justify why Im only getting 34.3mpg. Im going back to Audi,VW,Honda or Toyota. Ive own these vehicles before and they live up to their build sheet. American brand name vehicles are flawed and people selling them are either more enterested in selling the car than telling the truth or they dont know enough about the product their selling. Price too high for really what your getting.
Horrible Quality - 2013 Lincoln MKZ
By sobe531 - October 3 - 9:46 pm
45 mpg is an Absolute Lie! Closer to 36 mpg, and I live in super flat Florida. While the car is beautifully designed it is made from very cheap quality parts and is constantly breaking. Only 6 months old and been in the shop 4 times to repair/replace broken pieces and currently waiting for the entirely new interior roof trim to come in for a fifth visit. That will also need to have several other areas replaced/repaired for a second time. I am tired of the constant apologies from Lincoln about how awful the car is, I just want them to take it back. The interior is a piece of junk. Rattles, squeaks, pops, crackling noises all over the interior.
Huge Transmission Problem - 2012 Lincoln MKZ
By Bill Kane - September 11 - 9:52 pm
Car needed transmission rebuilt after less than 80,000 miles.