by: Mike Ginsca,
Welcome to the 400 club. Don’t let its looks fool you, this Lincoln MKZ has a 400hp engine. So does that mean that this is a sporty Lincoln? Not exactly…
Engine – 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque from a 3.0L turbocharged engine is what motivates this Lincoln MKZ. The engine needs to be this powerful because the MKZ tips the scales at 1,905 kg. However moving the hefty chassis feels effortless as power delivery is smooth and continuous. In fact, it’s surprising how quickly the MKZ can accelerate both from a stop and when overtaking on a highway. It feels like the car is in a vacuum and it just keeps pulling. Before you know it, you’re closer to the 200 km/h mark than the 100 km/h mark. It is a very powerful and responsive engine. But the biggest drawback is the horrible fuel economy especially in a city. During my week with the Lincoln, I mostly drove it in the city with maybe 30% highway driving and my best combined fuel rating was 14.3 L/100km during my time with it.
Transmission – A regular 6-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the V6 engine and for normal driving it is perfect. Smooth and unobtrusive are good words to describe its function during normal driving conditions. In Sport mode though, it’s not as fast as other automatic transmissions nor is it quick to respond to driver inputs via the steering wheel mounted paddles.
Braking – There’s nothing fancy about the brakes of the Lincoln MKZ. They’re not carbon ceramic or multi piston calipers or the size of subcompact car wheels. They’re just normal brakes that may look a bit undersized behind the 19” wheels. But even so, they stop the hefty Lincoln with ease. They’re not too grabby and the brake pedal has good, linear actuation making for smooth braking application.
Handling – Although the MKZ has a 400hp engine under the hood, it does not have sporty suspension. There is quite a lot of body roll through corners but it’s not like it can’t go around them at a good pace. The big Lincoln can take corners at a reasonably fast speed but it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence because you always feel like you’re on the limit of what the tires can do and the body roll gives an unsettling feeling.
Ride Comfort – Like the Lincoln Continental, the ride of the MKZ is sublime. The suspension absorbs some bumps like as though they aren’t there. Of course bigger potholes can be felt but they won’t break your back when driving over them. The seats are plush with excellent support for daily commutes or long road trips. Front occupants space is plentiful even for tall drivers while rear seat room is adequate for average sized adults.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The interior of the Lincoln MKZ is very quiet… until you put your foot down. Once the turbos build up boost, there’s an overwhelming turbo intake noise that dominates all other noises inside the cabin. Apart from that, highway speeds are quiet and there are no odd rattles when driving over bumps.
Interior Design – The cabin of the MKZ has the quintessential luxury look with leather covering majority of the surfaces and a well laid out center console. I’m not gonna lie, it did take me a few seconds to remember that Lincoln and Ford like to place the engine start/stop button and gear selector switches on the left side of the infotainment screen but after a couple of uses, it became second nature. This allows the lower half of the center console to be clutter-less and the MKZ also has a floating console design which allows for small item storage underneath it. One other thing I really like is the cabin mood lighting. You can select from a wide range of colours and when a door is open with the engine running, that entire door flashes red. Maybe it’s a bit gimmicky but once in a while I like one or two gimmicks.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – Like many other Lincoln models, the latest iteration of their infotainment system works very well. The menus are well laid out and don’t require multiple taps in multiple sub-menus in order to change a feature. In terms of safety and convenience features, this Lincoln can be equipped with almost all of the same features as its bigger brother the Continental except for those multi-way adjustable front seats that the Continental has. But as mentioned earlier, the seats in the MKZ are very comfortable as they are.
One gadget that stands out from the rest though is the large panoramic roof. Now I like panoramic roofs and more vehicles need to have them and while this one is large, it does have one major flaw. In other sedans with panoramic roofs, only the front half opens to let fresh air in. In the Lincoln, all of it opens up which is ok but the back end of the roof extends to the middle of the rear window blocking rearward visibility.
Exterior Design – The MKZ saw a refresh of the exterior in 2017 with the new grille being the biggest change. The “mustache” grille of the old car has now been replaced with a modern looking grille that is accented by the LED daytime running lights. In all it’s a thoroughly stylish car that looks like it belongs in a bustling city.
Overall I really like the 2018 Lincoln MKZ. It’s a stylish and comfortable everyday sedan. Although it does have a 400hp engine, it’s by no means a sports sedan. It was never designed to be one. One of its biggest downfalls though is the price. This particular MKZ is in the top Reserve trim which starts at $47,950 CAD. Once it’s loaded up with options, that price climbs to $64,200 CAD before fees and taxes. For the same money, you can get a loaded German rival and at the moment the stigma around luxury brands is that the Germans are still top. If this Lincoln was at least $5,000 CAD less expensive, it would be worth considering. But it’s hard to justify that kind of money on a Lincoln… at least right now.
Thank you to Lincoln Canada for providing the vehicle. www.LincolnCanada.com
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.