The Lincoln MKZ is an entry-level luxury car offering standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Introduced in 2006 as the Lincoln Zephyr, this five-passenger model was renamed the MKZ in 2007 to follow the brand’s new naming convention.
2013 to Present: Lincoln MKZ
The second-generation Lincoln MKZ made its debut in 2013. As before, this sedan offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. A Lincoln MKZ Hybrid model is also available.
Since its debut, the second-generation Lincoln MKZ has offered two engine choices: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque is one choice. The other choice is a 3.7-liter V6 engine making 300 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Both engines come paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The turbo edition is EPA-rated at 22/33 mpg city/highway. The V6 edition is EPA-rated at 19/28 mpg city/highway.
The available Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor that generate a combined 188 horsepower. This front-wheel drive only model is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and is EPA-rated at up to 41/39 mpg city/highway, depending on the model year.
From bumper to bumper, the Lincoln MKZ offers a smooth flowing design marked by a split-wing grille up front and a long taillight strip to the rear. This model also has wraparound headlamps, a narrow lower air intake hemmed in by fog lamps, upper and lower profile character lines, side sculpting and alloy wheels.
The MKZ has an even beltline and an arching roof. That arch is accentuated in models outfitted with the available retractable panoramic roof. When activated, the 15.2-square-foot roof slides part way down the rear window to provide a convertible-like driving experience. Wraparound tail lamps, a rear deck spoiler and exhaust ports are also present.
Inside, the Lincoln MKZ offers room for five with plush, power-operated bucket seats up front and a 60-40 split-folding seat to the rear. The rear seat is ideal for two, but offers room for three. Interior room measures 96.5 cubic feet and trunk space is 15.4 cubic feet.
The instrument panel and console layout is uncluttered, benefitting in part from push-button transmission controls to the left of the console display. This model comes with keyless entry, push-button start, power accessories and dual-zone automatic climate control. A difficult to decipher Sync with MyLincoln Touch infotainment interface is present. It offers voice-activated technology for hands-free access.
A rearview camera is standard and various audio packages are available. An optional Lincoln Drive Control system allows the driver to change the suspension, steering and noise level. Also available are rear outboard inflatable seat belts.
Based on the same architecture supporting the Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKZ’s competitors include such models as the Buick Regal, Acura TLX, Lexus ES 350 and Audi A4. Entry-level models from other brands might also be considered, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti Q50 and BMW 3 Series.
Earlier Lincoln MKZ Models
The first-generation Lincoln MKZ was built from 2006 and stayed in production through 2012. Upon its release it was known as the Lincoln Zephyr; the name was changed in 2007 to the Lincoln MKZ as the marque adopted a new three-letter nomenclature for most models.
Upon its release, the front-wheel drive Lincoln Zephyr was powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine making 221 horsepower and 205 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Beginning with its 2007 rename, Lincoln upgraded the engine to one displacing at 3.5-liters and making 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Earlier models are EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg city/highway; beginning in 2009 this model is EPA-rated at 18/28 mpg city/highway.
In 2010, the Lincoln MKZ received a significant refresh. Improved ride, including enhanced handling, a sport appearance package and incremental changes in the voice-activated Sync interface were accomplished.
Beginning in 2011, the MKZ line was expanded to include a hybrid model. The 2011 and 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which are paired with a CVT. This front-wheel drive only hybrid is EPA-rated at 41/36 mpg city/highway.