Lincoln's entry-level MKZ sedan is back for 2012 with more than you'd expect for a starter course in Lincoln's lineup buffet. Based on the mainstream Ford Fusion sedan, the MKZ boasts a retuned suspension, more sound insulation, and laminated glass for a much quieter and more spirited ride than its corporate cousin.
Coming in two flavors - with the same base price for each model - the standard MKZ sedan packs 3.5-liter V-6 that puts out 263 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, making it a bit of a hot rod Lincoln. If it's a sporting devil, the MKZ Hybrid is certainly the angel of the duo with a 2.5-liter I-4 and an electric motor that together deliver 191 horsepower and net 41 mpg city.
Taking an in-between route between sportiness and luxury, the MKZ boasts better fuel economy than its closest rival, the smaller Lexus HS 250h, while giving the driver a more enjoyable experience behind the wheel than the Lexus ES 350. It's a hybrid sedan that says, "I don't want to give up having fun for the sake of environmental consciousness just yet."
Body style: Four-door sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter, V-6; 2.5-liter, inline-4 with AC motor (Hybrid)
Transmissions: five-speed automatic (V-6); Continuously variable automatic (Hybrid)
Models: Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln MKZ AWD, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Available for the first time, the 2012 MKZ will come available with AppLink with Sync. AppLink will allow users to operate their favorite smartphone apps through SYNC's hands-free interface. The MKZ gas and hybrid models will both offer heated seats as standard equipment, and two new colors are available for the 2012 model year: Cinnamon and Crystal Champagne.
Featuring Lincoln's split grille and styling that underwent a significant refresh in 2010, the MKZ's design uses crisp lines that give it a look of stateliness. Wraparound LED taillights complement the back of the car while large Lincoln badges adorn the flanks and front of the car just in case a reminder might be needed. Available colors include black, Steel Blue Metallic, White Platinum Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Crystal Champagne Metallic, and Sterling Gray Metallic.
With three different leather colors available, each tanned with chromium-free dyes, and wood appliques that only come from environmentally-controlled tree farms, the MKZ shows that luxury and environmental consciousness are not mutually-exclusive. Choosing between Luxury, Executive, and Sport Appearance trims will yield different color options and will also come with accent piping on some seats and stitched panels on the dashboard. All of this adds up to be an upscale-looking car with some style to boot.
Performance & Handling
Though it's not the quickest or most agile car in its class, the luxury-lined MKZ still puts up respectable performance numbers. With the sport suspension, the MKZ receives a retuned suspension. Whichever way you go, the MKZ's ride and handling are smooth, quiet, and well-controlled. Sport models also get steering that's reengineered for a sportier feel. While none of this will challenge the top-runners for the title of the sportiest car in its class, it goes a long way toward adding some life in the segment of luxury cars that lean on the cushier side of the spectrum.
AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, dual front airbags, front seat-mounted
side airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, SOS Post-Crash Alert System, LATCH child seat anchors, perimeter alarm, and SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft System all come standard on the Lincoln MKZ. The MKZ also comes with MyKey available, a feature that allows owners to be able to program a second key with limited top speeds and limited volume control assigned to it.
EPA Fuel Economy
MKZ: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway (FWD); 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway (AWD)
MKZ Hybrid: 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway
- Fuel economy (hybrid)
You Won't Like
- Exterior styling
Good lux sedan with polarizing styling and plebeian origins
If You Like This Vehicle
- Lexus ES 350
- Lexus HS 250h
- Acura TL
- Volvo S60
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