For the past several decades, Ford has pranced the Lincoln brand around guised as a “luxury car,” but when compared to its competition – BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and Infiniti – Lincolns just never held up. The lowest of lows came in the early-2000s with the release of the failed and wholly unpopular LS.
With the launching of the MK series of cars and SUVs, Lincoln began pressing the competition, but still fell slightly short of its goal in overtaking them. To help get Lincoln over this hump, Lincoln announced that the MKZ, the automaker’s entry-level sedan, will be completely overhauled for 2013 in hopes to better compete with the aforementioned competition.
We have all been anxiously awaiting the release of Lincoln’s plans to keep its lineup fresh, as it has been on the downward slide in recent years. We saw the concept MKZ and found out that the official design will, in fact, be a near replica of the concept – thank you Lincoln – but we had yet to hear anything about the official production specifications or the 2013 MKZ, at least until now. Ford Motor Company finally released these specs, just over 24 hours before its unveiling at the 2012 New York Auto Show.
Will this update be enough to launch the Lincoln lineup back to its days of dominating the Luxury car front, or will Lincoln have the same fate as GM’s Saturn and Oldsmobile brands, which also received a last minute redesign campaigns to try to save them? Take a look at the full review below to find out.
UPDATE 07/24/2012: Lincoln has released a new configurator, which you can find here, that allows you to select two trim levels from the five available – these include: Premier, Select, Reserve, Preferred with Single Panel Roof and Preferred with Retractable Panoramic Roof – and compare the two. Of course, shortly after releasing the online configurator, Lincoln also released the official pricing information for the MKZ. Hit the jump for full pricing and package details for the 2013 Lincoln MKZ.
Hit the jump for the 2013 Lincoln MKZ review.
Fresh New Exterior
What’s there not to love about the new MKZ’s exterior? It features the aggressive, yet luxurious body lines expected in today’s luxury cars. It features a windshield that it angled further back ward and a swooping roofline that not only makes this luxury sedan look fast just sitting there, but it also increases its aerodynamics by 10%.
On its front end is a split grille with chrome outlines and a horizontal bar design. The only thing we are not a big fan of is that the center of the hood is what splits the grille, similar to last year’s model. Fortunately with the redesigned hood, this feature doesn’t look nearly as out of place as it did for the 2012 model year. The grille swoops over to meet the headlights, which feature LED lighting, making the front end flow perfectly.
An awesome feature on this sedan is the all-new, full-length, panoramic view moonroof, which Ford has already banked on being a feature that will make Lincoln unique in the Luxury market. Key elements of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ’s retractable glass roof are a wind deflector for a soothing ride within the cabin and a watertight cabin set to face the most demanding conditions. The self-adjustable roof moves eight inches forward at speeds above 40 mph to maintain a quiet riding environment.
Moving on to the rear end, this newly redesigned model features LED taillights, which allow a very thin and sleek design. There is also a taillight bar that spans the trunk lid, connecting the two taillight assemblies. Bumper integrated dual exhaust tips round out one of the more unique rear ends in the luxury sedan market.
The overall body looks almost Jaguar inspired with distinct Lincoln features. This definitely puts this sedan up there with the likes of BMW and Mercedes, just in terms of looks. Can it hang with the big boys in other areas? Keep reading to find out.
The interior of the MKZ is just as impressive as the exterior, maybe even more impressive. The two key components in crafting a luxury interior is consistency and elegance, the 2013 MKZ features both.
The MKZ features contrasting colors, with a darker color spanning the entire shoulder line of the interior, then expanding to the top of the dashboard and roof pillars. A lighter color covers the lower half of the interior and the seats. This contrast is executed with perfection, giving the MKZ the ultimate combination of modern and classy, a tough feat to pull off.
Simple, yet high-tech, interiors are the only way to go these days. Too many auto manufacturers are cluttering up the entire dashboard area with knobs, buttons, and switches, taking away from the styling of the interior. Lincoln has done a great job of keeping things ultra-modern, but integrating the interfaces into the interior design, as all of the MKZ’s gadgets and gizmos are focused on the center of the dashboard and on the steering wheel. All of the buttons and knobs appear to be clearly marked and easy to reach.
Rounding out the interior are high-grade leather seats that have 10-way power controls and built-in heaters and “responsibly harvested” real wood grain accents.
The 2012 MKZ’s drivetrain was not necessarily subpar, but it was just lacking separation from the competition, so Lincoln addressed this too. Standard on the 2013 MKZ will be a 240-horsepower, Eco-Boost 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which only has 23 less horsepower than the 2012’s 3.5-liter V-6, but gets 20% more mpg on the highway than the 2012 V-6 engine and 3 mpg more in the city than the 2012 model. This four-cylinder also has 21 more pound-feet of torque than the old V-6, which will give this sedan a more punchy feeling upon acceleration.
The optional engine for the 2013 MKZ will be a 3.7-liter V-6 that cranks out an impressive 300 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, a full 37 horsepower and 28 pound-feet more than the 3.5-liter in 2012.
Lastly is the Hybrid model, which features a 188 combined horsepower 2.0-liter engine and electric motor. This engine is anticipated to meet or exceed the current hybrid’s 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The hybrid model, as of now, will only come with a CVT and front-wheel drive.
The V-6 and four-cylinder models will come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. They will also come standard in front-wheel drive, but will have an available all-wheel-drive system. If you are looking for a shift lever when you go to test drive one, you will be looking for a long time, as the 2013 MKZ will feature a push-button shifter.
Gadgets and Gizmos
For those tech nuts, the 2013 MKZ shouldn’t disappoint, as it features all kinds of toys to play with. It’s really hard to choose the coolest feature on the inside, but we have to award that to the 10.1-inch LCD instrument cluster. Yeah, that’s right; the instrument cluster is all LCD. No gauges, no needles, just an LCD display that simulates gauges. Look to your right and you will see an 8-inch touch screen LCD display that features MyLincoln Touch and Ford’s SYNC, which allows the driver to control the audio system, and perform a wide array of other things like climate control, voice commands and an available navigation system.
Let’s move onto the things that go “bump,” as in the audio systems. Standard on the MKZ is an 11-speaker Audiophile entertainment system. Unfortunately, Lincoln didn’t go too far into the standard stereo, but there is plenty of information on its optional system. This optional stereo is a THX-Certified Car Audio System that features 700 watts of power, 14 speakers on 14 separate channels and over 200 hours of professional tuning to perfect its sound. This system makes driving feel more like a night at a live concert than a commute.
We got into the panoramic roof a little bit earlier, but it deserves more detail here. This 15.2 square-foot hunk of glass opens up fully to allow a convertible-like experience without dropping the top. Don’t worry about safety though, as the roof’s design maintains the overall strength of a steel-roofed vehicle.
Last and certainly not least in the gadget section, the 2013 MKZ will also features camera- and radar-based driving aids. Its Lane Keeping System alerts the driver if he wanders between lanes via a camera in the rearview mirror. This system also uses radar to adjust the cruise control automatically as needed and automatic braking in emergency situations if the driver is slow to respond to audible alerts. Lastly is the BLIS system, which uses radar to help with parallel parking and inform the driver of other cars in its blind spot while changing lanes.
| Package || Price || Features |
| Premier Package (Base) || $35,925 || - 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine
Lincoln Drive Control
SYNC with MyLincoln Touch
Intelligent Access with push-button start
10.1-inch LCD instrument cluster
Premium, leather-trimmed seats
| Select Package || $37,900 || - All premier Package options, plus:
Rear view camera
Wood steering wheel
Rear park sensors
Accent lighting in headlamps
Auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
| Reserve Package || $39,950 || - All Select Package features, plus:
Navigation System with voice recognition
Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert
Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel
| Preferred Package || $43,330 without panoramic roof, $45,125 with panoramic roof || - All Reserve Package features, plus:
19-inch polished wheels with painted pockets
Premium floor mats
Heated steering wheel
Heated rear seats
Heated rear seats
THX II Certified Audio System
The entry-level luxury class has really become quite a crowded area, as every luxury car manufacturer now wants to capture the love of fresh-out-of-college business men, doctors, lawyers, etc., in hopes of reeling them in on more expensive models in the future.
For the sake of not overwhelming you, let’s consider the three top competitors, all of which, except the Lexus ES, are slated to be carryovers from 2012 to 2013. These three competitors are the BMW 1-Series, Lexus ES and Mercedes C-Class.
The BMW 1-Series has a surprisingly low entry-level cost of $31,200, but BMW is also notoriously under-equipped at the base level too. The 128i features a 230-horsepower, in-line six-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Its gas mileage falls far short of the base level MKZ and it’s nowhere near as decked out, featuring cloth interior, 10-speaker stereo, climate control and audio control memorization and other basic features expected of a base model luxury car. There are really no “Wow” standard features on the 128i. As you move up through the 1-series lineup, you get more features, but let’s stick with the base level. Also, the 128i features the rapidly aging BMW look.
Onto the Lexus ES, which should come in near the $35K mark, and featuring a newly restyled body. The ES will carry over the 3.5-liter V-6 that pumps out just 268 horsepower and will have an optional panoramic moonroof, much like the Lincoln’s. The 2012 ES 350 gets 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, which falls short of the base-level MKZ’s turbocharged four-cylinder, but it does feature a six-speed automatic as standard equipment. The 2012 ES 350 comes standard with leather seats, an 8-speaker sound system and wood trim, so the 2013 model will likely feature the same standard equipment and then some. Until we see the official body design, which we all assume will match the ES shown in China, we cannot base judgment on its styling. If it does feature this styling, then it is about even with the MKZ.
Now to the C-Class, which starts off at $34,800. This luxury sedan comes misses the mark with its 201-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It makes up for the lack of power with decent gas mileage, getting 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Both of those numbers are still not enough to put this drivetrain above the 2013 MKZ’s drivetrain. Unlike its German rival, Mercedes likes to pack as many features as it can in its base models, as the C250 – the base C-Class – comes standard with leatherette seats, leather steering wheel and seven-speed automatic transmission. The Mercedes look is still desired by many and sets the bar for luxury sedans, so there is not much that can compete with it in that department. With that said, the 2013 MKZ looks far more modern than the C-Class.
When you combine the inside and outside of the 2013 MKZ with all of its high-tech features, it is hard to say not to buy one. We will go out on a limb and say to put off buying your next car, if you are shopping this market, until all of the MKZ’s details become available. Given all of the details that Ford Motor Company released are true and the production vehicle is as close to the concept as it has said, this just might be Lincoln’s rebound vehicle, as it will sell and sell well to up and comers in the upper middle class.
Once you draw in and impress buyers on an entry-level luxury car, you have typically earned a buyer for life, so this release is of the utmost importance to the Lincoln brand.
Modern, yet luxurious, styling
300-horsepower V-6 engine
Gorgeous interior design
No manual transmission option
Very crowded market
The base price may end up being too high