Lincoln's midsized MKZ luxury sedan is based on the Ford Fusion. That sounds like humble beginnings, but the MKZ leverages this platform's built-in goodness, striking a welcoming balance of ride comfort, cabin quietness and interior luxury. But the sleek styling compromises visibility and access, the rear seat isn't particularly roomy for the class, and fuel economy from the base EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine is unimpressive.
A 2017 freshening brought an array of revisions. Most apparent is the new front-end styling with a more pronounced grille, but the changes went more than skin deep. Handling remains sound and surefooted but is less crisp than the 2013 to 2016 model; that earlier version drove like a domestic-branded Audi. Crucially, the frustrating MyLincoln Touch controls have been replaced with the Sync 3 infotainment system, which is much more intuitive and responsive to use.
Most MKZs will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It performs well with a smooth effortless nature, but isn't more frugal than some quicker V6-powered competitors. Most buyers will find this engine to be plenty adequate. For the same money as the base turbo four-cylinder engine, you can get a hybrid version. It's slower but returns an impressive 34 mpg overall. The 2017 updates brought an optional 3.0-liter, 400-hp turbocharged V6, replacing the previous non-turbo 3.7-liter V6. All-wheel-drive is standard with the 400 hp and V6 front-drives get a 350 hp version of that engine. AWD is optional with the 2.0-liter turbo and not available with the hybrid.
Driving the MKZ proves to be a luxurious experience. Ride comfort is excellent, filtering out bumpy roads with ease. The cabin is quiet, hushing wind and road noise. Plushly finished inside, the MKZ has comfortable and supportive seats, but rear-seat room and access are limited. Easy to use controls are a plus, highlighted by the straightforward and comprehensive touch-screen infotainment system, but some fonts in the instruments are overly small. We aren't all fans of the push-button shifter, which can be fiddly to use. At least it has comprehensive safeguards to protect against the parked car from accidentally rolling away. The trunk is large and the rear seat folds for added practicality.
A wide range of features are available, including an advanced parking assist system and inflatable rear seat belts.
Overall, the MKZ is a good choice for those seeking luxury in a modest footprint, appreciating the MKZ's ride comfort and noise isolation, and who are less bothered by the car's mediocre fuel economy and rear-seat room.