By Phil Shuyler
Look out for Lincoln. This longstanding nameplate (started in 1917) is working hard reimagining their brand, and their vehicles. The MKZ sedan has joined the fun and is updated for 2017.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this doesn’t look like a Lincoln – or what we think a Lincoln should look like. I received a lot of positive comments complementing the car’s styling, however then they’d say “…but it’s a Lincoln.” That’s the stigma Lincoln has to eliminate, or reduce, as they move forward. Buick is in the midst of a similar task. Both of these brands were, and primarily still are, seen as vehicles for older people. Both brands want to appeal to buyers under 65, so they’re doing all they can to reach and appeal to a younger audience.
So that’s a little on the status of Lincoln, now lets dive into the car! Inside, one of the first things you’ll notice is the sunroof that’s the definition of panoramic. It’s enormous, and is one giant piece of glass with no bars or gaps. We highly recommend choosing this impressive option. The waterfall look of the center stack is visually appealing and works well. The engine start/stop and buttons for the transmission are integrated into the waterfall, which takes some getting used to, but after a short time with the car, reaching for them becomes second nature.
The weather was quite cold during our test, and the heated front seats, rear seats and steering wheel were a must. The entire rim of the steering wheel is heated, which may seem simple, however other luxury vehicles only heat part of the wheel. When it’s 15 degrees, and you have a warm steering wheel, it’s nice to be able to move your hands and always enjoy the heat. Heated and cooled front seats are standard, and the heated rear seats and steering wheel are optional.
On the road, the massaging seats helped reduce fatigue and entertained and impressed each front seat passenger. The massage function is very noticeable and truly does make a difference. Another way to keep drivers engaged was through the use of the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Not something many buyers in this segment will use, however they’re always fun to have.
As far as safety and semi-autonomous systems, the MKZ has adaptive cruise control (which we love) as well as a lane keep assist (LKA) system. We tested the LKA system on multiple occasions, and it was consistently inconsistent. We would engage the system, the lines would turn green, and once it reached the edge of the lane, the green line would turn yellow, and then the system would shut down. This could happen for multiple reasons like unrecognizable lines on the road, bad weather, or too sharp of a curve, however we would try to always test in ideal conditions. I think Lincoln has a little ways to go before they master LKA technology. And if you’d prefer to do all steering yourself, lane keep assist can be turned off, or just give you an audible alert when you depart from your lane without using a turn signal.
Additional safety features include blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic alert. There’s also a numeric keypad on the door that allows you to unlock the vehicle without a key. This is great if you ever need to leave the car for someone with the keys inside (which will not leave the car unlocked) or perhaps you want to go for a jog without your keys in your pocket. Just leave them in the car and use the keypad to get back in.
There’s a smartphone app available for the MKZ as well. With it, you’re able to remote start the car, lock or unlock it, and of course find it if you forgot where you parked.
The MKZ sports a 6-speed automatic transmission and a turbo inline 4-cylinder engine that delivers 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Hitting winding canyon roads, the adaptive headlights help increase visibility by illuminating around the upcoming curve. The intelligent all-wheel drive system kept us planted to the road, even when road conditions turned to compact snow and ice. During our 10 days with the car, we experienced 22 MPG city and over 30 MPG on the highway, which is right on par with Lincoln’s claim of 21 city and 31 highway.
Pricing for the 2017 Lincoln MKZ starts at $35,170 for the front wheel drive model and can reach around $50,000 for a fully loaded all-wheel drive model.
Make no mistakes about it, the MKZ is a vehicle you need to put on your shopping list. It’s comfortable, has tons of features, includes the latest technology, and has attractive styling. The main questions is, can you drive a Lincoln?