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2018 Lincoln MKZ: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Lincoln MKZ, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Lincoln MKZ Review

After a major upgrade last year, the 2018 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan now has a more elegant front end mimicking the larger Continental sedan. While better equipped to deal with its foreign and domestic competitors, the MKZ remains more luxury than performance sedan, and that’s perfectly fine with a large segment of the luxury car-buying public.

At its heart, the MKZ remains a traditional American luxury car, offering a smooth ride, a powerful engine and responsive handling. Although not as exotic or performance-oriented as the BMW 3 Series or Cadillac CTS, the 2018 Lincoln MKZ offers a uniquely opulent design, a choice of three capable and efficient powertrains (including a hybrid model) and a nice roster of upscale amenities.

Shoppers not as interested in a status symbol, however, may notice that some of the MKZ’s innovative features are available on its popular Ford sibling, the Fusion, for thousands less. The trade-off is a Ford badge in place of the Lincoln markings and a less powerful engine.

What’s New for 2018?

The 2018 Lincoln MKZ carries over largely unchanged. See the 2018 Lincoln MKZ models for sale near you

What We Like

Plush ride; good fuel economy; an abundance of available tech/comfort features; a powerful new engine option; no extra charge for hybrid powertrain; excellent Revel audio option

What We Don’t

Not an enthusiast-oriented performer; shares similar size and features with the Ford Fusion; some interior pieces look and feel rather common; Black Label option is too pricey

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The MKZ benefits from three different powertrains. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder delivers 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, and it offers fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

The more powerful 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 outputs 350 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque on FWD models and 400 hp with 400 lb-ft of torque when equipped with AWD. Fuel economy figures are 18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy in all-wheel drive.

The Hybrid, with its 2.0-liter gas-engine/electric-motor combination, yields a more-than-adequate 188 hp and achieves an impressive 41 mpg city/38 mpg hwy. It’s offered with front-wheel drive only. The hybrid’s performance is considerably less than that of the V6 but still proves capable in most driving situations.

Standard Features & Options

The Lincoln MKZ is offered in four levels: Premier, Select, Reserve and Black Label. All trims offer the option of all-wheel drive or a hybrid powertrain.

The MKZ Premier ($36,530, FWD, Hybrid) ($38,420, AWD) includes 18-inch wheels, automatic and adaptive headlights, rear parking sensors, a rear backup camera, push-button start, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, faux-leather seats, 10-way power adjustable heated front seats with 2-way power lumbar, driver’s-seat memory and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel. Concerning technology, the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid have the Lincoln SYNC 3 voice-command system, an 8-in touchscreen display and an 11-speaker stereo featuring SiriusXM, two USB ports and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The MZK Select ($39,425, FWD, Hybrid), ($41,315, AWD) adds auto-dimming heated and power-folding side mirrors, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a 110-volt outlet, two rear-seat USB ports, leather seating, 4-way power lumbar support and real wood trim on the doors and steering wheel.

The MKZ Reserve ($41,095, FWD, Hybrid), ($42,985, AWD) includes the Select trim’s features, plus navigation, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, a power trunk release with a soft-close feature, premium perforated leather seating, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and cooled front seats.

The MKZ Black Label Series ($48,915, FWD, Hybrid), ($50,805, AWD) builds on the Reserve package’s features by offering consumers their own shopping concierge, three unique interior wood and leather packages and additional paint color choices.

Off to the side is the Climate package, with auto high beams, heated rear seats and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and a Select Plus Package that adds navigation, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system. The Reserve trim’s Luxury package adds LED headlights and the 20-speaker Revel audio system. The Technology package includes a lane-departure system, adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel-parking system, rain-sensing wipers and automatic high-beam headlights. Lastly, the Driver’s package adds painted brake calipers, multicontour front seats, Dynamic Torque Vectoring and a sport-tuned suspension (only available with 3.0-liter V6 and AWD).

Stand-alone options include such premium amenities as a retractable panoramic moonroof, inflatable rear seat belts, a power rear sunshade and upgraded multicontour seats for the driver and front passenger. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 can be ordered on the Reserve and Black Label trims.


The 2018 Lincoln MKZ includes standard front side-impact and side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control, a blind spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning, collision warning, adaptive cruise control and inflatable rear seat belts.

In government crash testing, the 2018 Lincoln MKZ earned five out of five stars for overall crash safety, five stars for frontal-collision safety, four stars for side-impact safety and four stars for rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Lincoln MKZ its highest score of Good in all crash test and Superior in the frontal crash prevention test.

Behind the Wheel

Overall, the Lincoln MKZ isn’t much of an enthusiast’s car, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s more in the "comfortable ride and easy to live with" category. The MKZ’s ride and handling are on par with similar models, such as the Lexus ES and Buick LaCrosse, thanks to Lincoln Drive Control, an intelligent system designed to deliver a well-balanced driving experience.

The MKZ’s 2-liter turbo and 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 are both quite robust, making launches from the line and highway enjoyable. The Hybrid feels both confident and capable, yielding an impressive 41 mpg city.

In typical Lincoln fashion, the MKZ’s interior is well isolated from the outside world, making this sedan a comfortable and plush turnpike cruiser. Get the MKZ into tight turns and it will stick to the intended path. Just don’t expect an overly thrilling performance or dynamics close to those of its German rivals, although the optional Driver’s package does vastly improve cornering at the expense of ride quality.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Lexus ES — The ES may cost more than the MKZ, but it has a more luxurious interior and better resale value. Like the MKZ, the ES offers a hybrid version, but nothing compared to the MKZ’s 400-hp V6.

2018 Cadillac CTS — The CTS is a more engaged driver’s car and has a better interior layout than the MKZ. That said, the MKZ offers a hybrid model and more rear-seat legroom.

2018 Genesis G80Hyundai’s new luxury division offers a rather well-equipped sedan to rival the MKZ for price and features, with a new Sport trim for improved performance but no hybrid model as of yet.

Used Audi A6 — A 2012-2016 Audi A6 will cost about the same as a new MKZ, but offers more luxury and better performance, as well as more clout.

Autotrader’s Advice

Because the MKZ is not on the same performance tier as the Cadillac CTS, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, we wouldn’t recommend it as a luxury-sport-sedan choice. If you don’t need all-wheel drive, the hybrid model offers the best value. It brings all the opulence, amenities and soft ride of the standard MKZ but also returns excellent fuel economy that’s far superior to its nonhybrid rivals.

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