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March 27, 2007 > Lincoln MKZ

Lincoln MKZ

The 2007 Lincoln MKZ is "rebirth" (Lincoln's description) of the Lincoln Zephyr of 2005. This new model gets a bigger engine and a newly styled body. Its purpose is to "...draw a new generation of luxury customers to the Lincoln brand." It's a good vehicle, and I'm sure it will help do that.

You only get one choice of drive trains for your new MKZ. The 3.5-liter, 24 valve, V-6 utilizes variable valve timing and is rated at 263 HP with 249 foot pounds of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. You can't manually shift it, but you can switch off the overdrive to get better "around town" performance. Using the overdrive allows you to get more MPG.

You do, however, get to choose how many driving wheels you want. The standard MKZ is a front driver. This week's test car had the optional "intelligent all-wheel drive" (AWD) setup. This computer-controlled system is paired up with a traction control system and can transfer power front-to-rear or side-to-side as driving conditions change. This combination delivers good traction in all weather conditions.

The AWD version gets 18 MPG in the EPA's city test and 26 in the highway test. The front driver gets one MPG better in each test.

The option list is fairly short. An upgraded THX II audio system with 14 speakers was added to the test car. Other options include a navigation system, Sirius radio, moon roof, heated and cooled front seats, and chrome wheels. There was an additional charge of $495 for high intensity discharge headlamps. That seems high to me. I wonder what it would cost to replace it?

The MKZ rode and drove like a Lincoln should, and that's not bad. It had a smooth, comfortable ride. Lincoln engineers increased spring rates and roll stiffness to eliminate wallowing on turns, and the suspension works well.

The interior is nicely laid out and all controls are easy to use. The MKZ features real wood trim in various portions of the interior. All the seating areas are leather. The MKZ has the largest trunk in its class.

It is designed as a five-person car. There is plenty of room in the back seat for three people if the front seats are not all the way back. However, the back is a tight fit if two tall people are in the front seats.

The base price on the AWD model is $31,820. Addition of the $2,495 nav system and a few other options brought the sticker up to $35,445. The front wheel drive model's base is $1,870 lower at $29,950.

Lincoln backs the MKZ with its "Lincoln Commitment Owner's Benefit Package." This includes the 4 year or 50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. The power train warranty is 6 years or 70,000 miles and a roadside assistance package lasts for 6 years or 70,000 miles with the first 12 months (12,000 miles) of scheduled maintenance included.

The MKZ may not be the "hot rod Lincoln" from the old rock and roll song, but it is a nice, entry-level luxury sedan.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists
RRYAN@FRK.COM

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