words and photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes
Modern American mid-size comfort
The Lincoln MKZ model has really matured gracefully since its early days as the Zephyr. I remember Kevin preferring the Zephyr, the most luxurious version of the Ford CD3 platform, which at the time (2006 to 2012) was also used by the Mazda 6, Mercury Milan, and the Ford Fusion. The much larger 2nd generation model uses the CD4 platform. For 2017, the Lincoln MKZ got its mid-cycle update and it is a lovely luxury sedan.
Funny though that the Aluminum Trim package in my test car is confusingly named the Sonata. Someone in Lincoln may not have had enough coffee on the day a name was needed. The previous MKZ model that we tested last year already felt larger than expected, so much so that when I took delivery of the new test car I thought it was the all-new Continental full-size sedan flagship initially because of the new headlights on the new face as it drove up my driveway. It looks and feels so much better now, and the interior is especially awesome. Lincoln did not hold back in redesigning the classy cabin, which also has the very best audio equipment that I have ever heard in a Ford vehicle, the 20-speaker Revel Ultima system.
It may not be the Continental but it sure felt extra-large on the road. I had my 3-year old son in his child-seat at the back and when I would talk to him and check up on him while driving, it seemed like he was much further than I was used to. Thankfully the MKZ felt very planted and solid, which revitalized my confidence level. The MKZ that I tested was the mid-range model powered by the same re-tuned engine found in a Ford Escape with a similar AWD system, so the power delivery felt very familiar to me. It was certainly not explosive and exciting, but I also did not think it was anemic either.
Mid-range variant or not, the MKZ Reserve was supremely plush. The driving experience with the new adaptive suspension called the Lincoln Drive Control, which automatically adjusts depending how you drive every 2 milliseconds, rode comparatively to some of my favorite premium European and Japanese mid-size sedans and was almost as quiet. I’m not sure yet if I like the new transmission selector, which are simply buttons on the center console, but I did get used to it after almost 800 kilometers of testing. Then again, if the system works for Aston Martin then I’m sure there is more logic to it than just being different and saving a little space. The first time I tried the system was in a Vantage GT Roadster almost two years ago but Kevin greedily hogged that test car. The MKZ uses a 6-speed transmission for now, but I’ve heard that for the 2018 model it may get the 9-speed or even 10-speed system co-developed ironically with its competitor General Motors so the promise of even better fuel efficacy and driving dynamics is not far away.
I really like the Lincoln vehicles. I really wish that they were sold in the Philippines. They offer all of what Ford has, and builds on them with more equipment and more adventurous designs. I also have a soft spot for the brand because my grandfather, the original car-guy in my family, had them and we all have the warmest memories riding in them with him.
Specification – 2017 Lincoln MKZ AWD Reserve
Engine: Inline-4, 1999 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, Ti-VCT, 6-speed AT
Max power: 245 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max torque: 275 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 7.4 sec.
Top Speed: 216 km/h (135 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 20 mpg City & 28 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 53,180.00
C! RATING 9.5/10
+Aesthetically better than before, more comfortable and more appointed, debonair.
– The 400 bhp 3.0T AWD is the variant to have for enthusiasts.