The Lincoln MKZ comes with a 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and the six-speed automatic transmission with which it’s matched features manual gear selection, something the Fusion and most other Fords do not. Front-wheel drive is standard, but our test car’s smart all-wheel-drive system serves as much to negate torque steer and understeer as it assures wet-weather traction. We highly recommend it.
The swankiest of the trio, the Lincoln MKZ, had the greatest opportunity for improvement. A sleepy but surprisingly strong-selling entry luxury sedan, the MKZ could have added exclusive new features in proportion to its higher cost, thus creating more distance between it and the others along the Ford food chain.
Inside, the Fusion and the MKZ don’t share much, if anything, in terms of design. For 2010 the MKZ gets a new horizontal look that ditches the vertical theme of the previous MKZ.
Design in this interior, for the most part, isn’t the problem. We like the dash design – if this interior was flawlessly executed it would be well positioned versus the competition. But it isn’t flawlessly executed. Material quality in our particular tester was unimpressive, with cheap feeling plastic in the center stack and door panels. There were trim pieces that didn’t align and perhaps most egregious of all, when closed there was a large gap between the doors and B-pillar.
Lincoln’s fitment of a six-speed automatic with manual shift control (actuated via the lever itself) to the carry-over 263-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 contributes to a half-second drop in its 0-to-60 time, which is now a claimed 7.1 seconds. This acceleration boost also compelled Lincoln to make an absurd “best-in-class performance” boast, at least insofar as the TL, ES350, and CTS are concerned. Insert eyeball roll here, since we’ve hit 60 mph as quickly as 5.8 seconds in the CTS fitted with the 304-hp V-6 and 6.4 seconds in the base 263-hp version. Besides, performance includes more than just acceleration, and after hustling the MKZ up and down SoCal’s curly “Ortega” Highway 74, we doubt the Lincoln would be able to keep up with the CTS or TL on the same road. After all, the Caddy was virtually born and bred on the Nürburgring, and it shows.
One area of particular note to longer-legged drivers is the center tunnel, which when edged with hard and flashy aluminum or plastic trim can cause a bruise or at least discomfort on longer trips. The MKZ has a pleasantly soft, rubbery material here that makes it almost unnoticeable – exactly as it should be.
2010 Lincoln MKZ Specifications
Base Price: $34,965
Body: 4 door Sedan
Mechanical Orientation: All Wheel Drive
Engine: 3.5L V6
Power: 263 hp at 6250 rpm
Torque: 249 lb-ft at 4500 rpm
Transmission: 6 speed Automatic
Weight: 3796 lbs
Wheelbase: 107.4 in
Length: 189.8 in
Width: 72.2 in
0-62 mph: 7.1 seconds
Top Speed: Limited