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2019 Lincoln MKZ: New Car Review

It appears the American luxury sedan is falling out of favor with many buyers who instead are opting for small and midsize SUVs. That’s a shame, because there is a lot to like in a luxury sedan such as the 2019 Lincoln MKZ. From its powerful engines to its available hybrid and all-wheel drive options, the MKZ makes a great all-around mode of transportation. And, its expressive styling both inside and out is a refreshing change from other luxury cars chasing European competitors instead of making their own bold statement. 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 2019?

The 2019 Lincoln MKZ gains more standard equipment including Co-Pilot 360 (auto high beams, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and a rearview camera), adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer and, on Reserve II models, satin finish 19-in 7-spoke wheels. Trims are reduced to base, Reserve I and Reserve II, with the latter being the only MKZ to offer the more powerful turbocharged V6 engine. The Black Label series is dropped from the lineup.

What We Like

Plush ride; good fuel economy; an abundance of available tech/comfort features; a powerful V6 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

How Much?

$36,990-$57,000

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 20 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy with AWD.

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 FWD and 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy in AWD models.

The Hybrid, with its 2.0-liter gas-engine/electric-motor combination, yields a more-than-adequate 188 hp and achieves an impressive 42 mpg city/39 mpg hwy. It’s offered with FWD 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 three levels: MKZ, Reserve I and Reserve II. All trims offer the option of AWD or a hybrid powertrain.

The MKZ ($36,990, FWD, Hybrid) ($38,990, AWD) includes 18-in wheels, Co-Pilot 360, adaptive cruise control (standard on Hybrid), Lincoln Drive Control with 3-mode adaptive suspension, Active Noise Control, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer, automatic and adaptive HID headlights, heated side mirrors, rear parking sensors, push-button start, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-in configurable LCD gauge cluster, faux-leather seats, 10-way power adjustable heated front seats with 2-way power lumbar, driver’s-seat memory and a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. Concerning technology, the MKZ and the MKZ Hybrid have the Lincoln Sync 3 voice-command system, Lincoln Connect Wi-Fi hot spot, an 8-in touchscreen display, an 11-speaker stereo featuring SiriusXM, two USB ports and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The MKZ Reserve I ($39,990, FWD, Hybrid), ($41,990, AWD) includes a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, power-folding side mirrors with a driver’s side auto-dimming feature, an 110-volt outlet, 2 rear-seat USB ports, 4-way power lumbar support and real wood trim on the doors and steering wheel. Also standard is navigation, a power trunk release with a soft-close feature and Bridge of Weir leather seating. Options include the Reserve Plus package that adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a single panel glass moonroof, a 14-speaker Revel audio and 19-in wheels.

The MKZ Reserve II ($45,990, FWD, Hybrid), ($47,990, AWD) adds Active Park Assist, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated power adjustable steering wheel, a 14-speaker Revel audio system, navigation, multi-contour front seats with Active Motion, a single pane power moonroof and perforated leather seating. Optional on the Reserve II is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine, AWD and the Luxury Package that adds adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic glass moonroof, a 20-speaker Revel Ultima sound system with a CD player, HD radio and Quantum Logic surround sound technology.

Standalone options include inflatable rear seat belts, AWD and an engine block heater

Safety

The 2019 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 (Hybrid), auto high beams and automatic emergency braking.

In government crash testing, the 2019 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 the Buick LaCrosse, thanks to Lincoln Drive Control, an intelligent system designed to deliver a well-balanced driving experience.

The MKZ’s 2.0-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 42 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.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 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.

2019 Cadillac CTS — The CTS is a more engaging 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.

2019 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 2012-2017 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, the BMW 3 Series or the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, we wouldn’t recommend it as a luxury-sport-sedan choice. If you don’t need AWD, 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 non-hybrid rivals.

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