The Lincoln MKZ is a midsize entry-level luxury sedan sold since 2006. The MKZ combines traditional American Lincoln luxury with an influence of European sport sedan, and blends the two with varying success. Assembled in Hermosillo, Mexico, an MKZ for sale competes with the Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES and BMW 3 Series.
Debuting in 2006 under the name Zephyr, it was intended to replace Lincoln’s aged LS midsize. Ford owned a part of Mazda at the time and the new Lincoln borrowed the chassis from the highly acclaimed Mazda 6. The initial Zephyr was a bit underwhelming, and underwent several changes for 2007. The name changed to MKZ, the interior received several upgrades and the 3.0-liter V6 was dropped for a more powerful 3.5-liter.
The second generation MKZ hit the market in 2013 and offered huge advances in styling and interior comfort. Based on the outstanding Ford Fusion chassis, the current MKZ offers a lot of car for the money.
MKZ Engines and MPG
The standard engine in the first generation MKZ was Ford’s 3.5 liter Duratec V6. It was a modern, clean-sheet design and the all-aluminum dual overhead cam design led to decent power. Sporting 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque, the MKZ was as fast as a late ‘90s Mustang GT. This power came at a cost though, as the MKZ only hit 20 MPG combined in front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive getting 19 MPG combined. If that is too low, look into the MKZ hybrid. The 2011 to 2012 model year hybrid had a 2.5 liter four cylinder with 39 MPG combined.
The 2013 second generation shakes things up, starting a new base engine, the 2.0 liter EcoBoost four cylinder delivers 240 horsepower and 26 MPG combined. The optional power plant is a 3.7-liter V6 borrowed from the Mustang that produces 300 horsepower, but only 22 MPG combined. Both 4 and 6 cylinder engines are available with all-wheel drive, but this does add a 1 MPG penalty. The only transmission available is a 6-speed automatic, with the exception of the hybrid, which is a continuously variable unit. This helps the MKZ hybrid achieve a nice 45 MPG in city and highway.
Luxury MKZ Competitors
The MKZ has a lot of competition in the midsize luxury field. The Lexus ES is probably the closest competitor, offering a V6 and choice of front or all-wheel drive. The MKZ beats the current ES in exterior style, interior design, soft ride, and MPG, but the ES wins for more luxurious feel and interior space.
For a sportier option, consider the BMW 3 Series or Cadillac CTS. The Bimmer gives up some space and only offers 180 horsepower from its base 2.0 liter four, but the steering response and suspension feedback go way up. The Caddy is a bigger option, and like the MKZ, offers avant-garde exterior styling, but an interior that gets dinged for its materials. The second generation CTS is a good alternative to the first generation MKZ, while the new third generation CTS is sized and priced out of competition.
MKZ vs Fusion
While they share the same platform and offer hybrid drivetrains, the MKZ and Ford Fusion are very different vehicles. While the MKZ is entry-level luxury, the Fusion is a standard midsize, comparable to the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu. The Fusion takes a step towards sport, offering a manual transmission, something unavailable on the MKZ. Also, the Fusion has a smaller turning radius, with MKZ owners complaining the car is hard to park. While it might make wide turns, the MKZ makes up for it with a more supple ride. The MKZ does offer a lot of amenities and a powerful V6, something you can’t get in the new Fusion.
First Generation MKZ
Second Generation MKZ
Written by Andy Jensen