Lincoln MKZ Second Generation (2013-present): Review, Problems, Specs

You would not be wrong to call the Lincoln MKZ a posh Ford Fusion because that's what it is, essentially. Launched in 2013, the second-generation Lincoln MKZ is based on the same front-wheel-drive platform as the Ford Fusion but features a premium treatment on the inside, a more upscale exterior, and more powerful engines. For the 2017 model year, the MKZ has received a significant mid-cycle makeover aimed at further distancing the premium sedan from its Ford sibling. The facelift has brought styling and equipment tweaks, as well as a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Posh looks
  • Comprehensive standard equipment
  • Powerful twin-turbo V6
  • Fuel-efficient hybrid version

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Interior quality below more established rivals
  • Infotainment system is difficult to use
  • Not as spacious as some competitors

Stay Away From
  • 19-inch wheels (if you want a comfortable ride)
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • Lincoln recalled certain 2016 MKZ sedans in October 2015 to replace the fuel tank.
  • Some 2013-2015 Lincoln MKZs were recalled in April 2015 to replace corroded steering gear motor bolts to prevent loss of power steering assist.
  • Lincoln updated the lighting control software on 2015 MKZ models in April 2015 .
  • All four door latches were replaced in April 2015 on some 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZs to prevent doors from opening .
  • The automaker recalled certain 2013-2014 MKZ sedans in September 2014 to replace the airbags' Restraint Control Module .
  • Certain 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZs were recalled in April 2014 to replace driver and front passenger seatbacks.
  • The Powertrain Control Module on 2013-2014 MKZ Hybrid models was updated in November 2013 to prevent vehicles from unintentionally shift out of Park
  • Lincoln replaced engine block heater cords on certain 2013 MKZs to prevent the wire insulation from cracking.
Car Details
Powertrain

From 2013 to 2016 model years, the MKZ was offered in the United States with three engine choices: a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged with 240 hp, a 3.7-liter V6 with 300 hp, and an 188 hp hybrid version pairing a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle gasoline unit with an electric motor. Starting with 2017 model year, Lincoln replaced the 3.7L V6 with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 developed exclusively for the Lincoln brand that delivers 400 hp (AWD) or 350 hp (FWD). All models are offered as standard with front-wheel drive while all-wheel drive is available as an option (except for MKZ Hybrid). All models feature a six-speed automatic transmission, except the hybrid which uses a CVT.


Handling

Although the Lincoln MKZ is not a sports sedan, it's surprisingly precise around corners. V6 versions feel quite agile, particularly the range-topping 400 hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo. However, the soft suspension indicates Lincoln's intention with the MKZ was not to create a premium sports sedan like the Audi A4 or Cadillac ATS. It's a comfortable premium car that can handle twisty roads with ease, but it is not as sharp as German rivals. Still, the optional sport-tuned suspension with 19-inch wheels offers a stiffer, more precise ride.


Safety

The second-generation Lincoln MKZ is one of the safest cars in its segment, with the IIHS giving it the "Top Safety Pick" label. The MKZ got the maximum "Good" rating for moderate overlap front impact, side crash, roof strength and head restraints & seats. In small overlap front impact, the MKZ's behavior was rated as "Acceptable". IIHS deemed the sedan's front crash prevention as "Basic". The NHTSA also assessed the Lincoln MKZ and gave it an overall five-star rating, with five stars for front impact, and four stars each for side crash and rollover.

Comfort

The cushy ride is one of the MKZ's defining features. The standard adaptive suspension absorbs road irregularities with little effort, and the cabin remains remarkably quiet at all times thanks in part to the active noise cancelation system. Optional 19-inch wheels and sport-tuned suspension spoil the ride a little so you'd better avoid them if you don't need sharper handling. The driving position is good, but the touch-sensitive sliders and buttons on pre-facelift models are an ergonomic nightmare. Fortunately, Lincoln replaced them with physical controls from 2017 onwards. The dash-mounted selector buttons for the transmission require an adaptation period for the driver.


Quality

The interior is the Lincoln MKZ's weak spot, as almost all rival models feature classier, better-built cabins. The cockpit is what blows MKZ's cover, revealing its humble origins. The inside is laid out well enough, with the center stack and console looking slightly futuristic, but the materials and textures aren't so luxurious as they say for this segment. They're simply not improved enough over those found in the Fusion and trying to pass silver-colored plastic as brushed metal is not worthy of a premium brand. Furthermore, the transmission buttons feel flimsy and lack any tactile sensation.


Practicality

The Lincoln MKZ lags behind rivals in interior space as well – it's even less roomy than the donor car. That's because of styling details like the high center console, which makes the front seating area feel rather constrained, or the sloping roofline, which affects headroom for taller rear-seat passengers. Legroom in the back is decent, although not as generous as in some rival models. Trunk space is average at 15.4 cubic feet, with the 60/40-split folding rear seat improving volume when needed. However, if you want the MKZ Hybrid, you'll have to settle for a smaller 11.1 cu ft trunk and no folding rear seats.


Infotainment

All MKZ models come with the MyLincoln Touch infotainment system which integrates navigation, audio, Bluetooth and other functions via a high-resolution
8-inch touchscreen. The display has a rather slow processing speed during certain tasks, though. Having to browse touchscreen menus just to access essential functions is not very productive either. MyLincoln Touch also integrates Ford's SYNC voice command system that can control many of the car's functions.

Efficiency

It's no surprise that the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup. The front-wheel drive only vehicle returns 40 mpg combined (41 mpg city/39 mpg highway). If you don't want a hybrid, the next best choice is the base 2.0-liter turbo model in FWD configuration, which is EPA-rated at 26 mpg combined (22 mpg city/33 mpg highway). With the 3.7-liter V6 engine in front-wheel-drive form, the MKZ returns 22 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mph highway). With AWD, fuel consumption increases to 25 mpg combined for the four-cylinder and 20 mpg for the V6.


Equipment

All Lincoln MKZ models have a generous standard equipment. Features include LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as genuine wood trim on doors and instrument panel. Comfort features include 10-way heated power front seats with 2-way power lumbar, manual tilt/telescoping steering column, Remote Keyless Entry, remote start system, dual-zone automatic climate control, Lincoln Premium Audio System and more.


Acquisition

Given the MKZ's front-wheel drive layout, it competes squarely with models like the Audi A4, Lexus ES, and Acura TLX, among other vehicles. Pricing-wise, the 2016 MKZ 2.0L EcoBoost starts at $35,190 (excluding $925 destination), which may be too much. The 2016 Acura TLX 2.4 is significantly cheaper at $31,695 (excluding destination) while the all-new 2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI is not much more expensive at $37,300 (excluding destination). However, Lincoln may modify prices for facelifted 2017 MKZ models.

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