With the all-new MKZ, “Lincoln needed a huge hit and came up short.” The brand’s first Super Bowl ad buy since the 1980s showed how much is riding on this would-be flag carrier for a new era at Ford’s luxury division. But while this MKZ is “faster, quieter, cheaper,” and more loaded with features than the Lexus it ostensibly matches up against, it’s still essentially a dressed-up Ford Fusion—a very good car, but not distinguished enough to earn its luxury-level price tag.
Actually, its advantages over the Fusion are substantial. The MKZ’s “striking” new look borrows nothing from the Ford, and though the proportions feel not quite right at first, the design’s nuances grow on you. The MKZ also offers an electronically controlled suspension system, and can be equipped with an optional 300-hp V-6 engine. “For those looking for something daring, dashing, and different in the midsize luxury segment,” this car should qualify as “a genuine player.”
The MKZ has presence, but “just doesn’t feel special” once you climb in. Cabin materials are “a major disappointment.” Worse, this 26-mpg Lincoln is “remarkably ordinary to drive.” Ford says the MKZ is Lincoln’s future. We say, “if this is the best Ford can do, get the headstones ready.”