With its agile handling, comfortable interior, and stylish exterior, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ is a strong entry into the field of midsize luxury sedans. Although Lincoln is well-respected as an American luxury car brand, it’s never quite been as famous as its European and Japanese competitors. With this model, Lincoln has sought to change that. The MKZ, which was first introduced in 2013, is now in its second generation, and Lincoln has given the model a moderate refresh for 2017. It gets a new grille, new headlights, and a new chrome strip along the bottom of the front and back bumpers. These details enhance the already upscale appearance of its exterior.
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The MKZ is offered in three trim levels: Premiere, Select, and Reserve. The Premiere is the least expensive option, with a starting MSRP of $35,170. The Select has a starting price of $36,920, and the Reserve will set you back at least $39,760. While the MKZ is by no means a cheap car, it’s one of the more affordable models in its class. A hybrid version is available in all three trim levels. The hybrid version starts out at the same MSRP, so it doesn’t cost any extra to improve your fuel economy.
The MKZ may have the same chassis and wheelbase as a Ford Fusion, but the interior is far more luxurious. This sedan seats five and comes standard with 10-way heated power front seats. Heated rear seats are an option on the Reserve trim level. Buyers can choose between soft-touch cloth or leather upholstery. The front seats offer 37.9 inches of headroom and 44.3 inches of legroom. The second row of seats have 36.6 inches of headroom and 37 inches of legroom. The MKZ’s interior is small compared to its main competitors.
Buyers can choose from ten exterior paint colors which include: Black Velvet, White Platinum, Midnight Sapphire Blue, Ruby Red, and Jade Green. The MKZ has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches, a height of 58.1 inches, and a length of 193.9 inches. In addition, it offers 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is quite large for a midsize sedan. There are several wheel options available, including 18-inch aluminum wheels or 19-inch wheels with a satin finish.
Performance and Fuel Economy
For 2017, Lincoln has enhanced the MKZ’s maximum performance. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that generates 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque. This option gets a fuel economy of 21 city/31 highway mpg. Buyers who enjoy having a lot of power under the hood can choose a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers 400 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy is slightly lower with this engine, providing 18 city/27 highway mpg. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Opt for the hybrid version, and you’ll get a 2.0L Atkinson-Cycle I-4 hybrid engine with an electronic continuously variable transmission. This setup can deliver 188 horsepower. Compared to the V6, it might seem boring, but it makes up for it by delivering excellent fuel economy. It gets 41 city/38 highway mpg. The hybrid MKZ is the only powertrain option that doesn’t allow buyers to choose an all-wheel-drive system.
The MKZ comes standard with a touchscreen that uses the Sync 3 infotainment system. Compared to the version in previous models, the layout is more intuitive, making it easier to access applications. It also utilizes state-of-the-art voice activation technology, so you can select entertainment options without taking your hands off the wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.
A premium-grade, 11-speaker audio system is standard, but if you upgrade to the Reserve trim, you’ll get a Revel Ultima Audio System with 20 speakers. Buyers can choose between a retractable panoramic glass roof or a traditional powered moonroof. Other optional features include:
- A voice-activated navigation system
- A heated steering wheel
- All-weather floor mats
- A windshield wiper de-icer
- Automatic high beams
The MKZ comes with many standard safety features. These include anti-lock disc brakes, front side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera. Plus, the Sync 3 infotainment system can automatically dial 911 if it senses that your airbags are deployed.
If you purchase a special technology package, your MKZ will come with some of the latest safety features available in cars today. These include adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, pedestrian detection, and enhanced park assist.
How it Compares to the Competition
There are many impressive vehicles in the luxury sedan segment of the auto market, and they present the MKZ with stiff competition. In terms of affordability, the MKZ is near the top. It’s starting price of just over $35,000 makes it significantly less expensive than the BMW 3-Series, the Jaguar XF, or the Lexus GS. However, the MKZ doesn’t retain its value as well as similar models from BMW or Mercedes. The Audi A4 or Volvo S60 have similar starting price points, and they may appeal more to drivers who prefer European styling.
One drawback of the MKZ is that it only comes with an automatic transmission. Drivers hoping for the control and responsiveness that a manual transmission provides are sure to be disappointed. It’s also lacking a V8 engine option that many rivals have. The BMW 3-Series or Infiniti Q50 are probably better options if your main priority is to have a fun driving experience.
Pros and Cons
The 2017 MKZ presents buyers with a long list of pros and not a lot of cons. Its exterior styling has a sleek and modern design, and the interior is comfortable, especially in the front seats. The layout and infotainment system have been improved over models from previous years. The 400-horsepower engine is also a big draw to drivers who want a sedan that can accelerate quickly.
If you’re interested in a hybrid luxury sedan, the MKZ is an excellent option. The hybrid version starts off at the same price as the gas-powered version, so there’s no sacrifice there. The hybrid engine delivers good fuel economy when compared to other hybrids in the same class.
The drawbacks to the MKZ are that it only has an automatic transmission and the acceleration on the base-level engine may not feel impressive. Compared to other midsize sedans, the back seats are a little small and might be uncomfortable for grownups during long rides. Although the MKZ has a relatively low starting price, the premium features can be quite costly. The panoramic glass roof costs an additional $3,450, and the top-notch sound system will add an extra $5,500 to the price tag.