Lincoln’s turnover of its staid lineup has been chugging along for the past few years with new MKC and MKX crossovers, but it will really pick up steam in the second half of 2016.
An all-new Continental sedan is on the way, but it’s not the only new Lincoln bound for dealerships. A refreshed 2017 MKZ mid-size sedan is has just gone on sale with new front-end styling and powertrain updates among other changes,
On the powertrain front, the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 replaces the 3.7L V6. The 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder carries over, as does the normally aspirated 2.0L four, which powers the MKZ hybrid.
Power output has been increased in both EcoBoost units, slightly (5 hp / 5 lb-ft.) with the 2.0L (245 hp / 275 lb-ft.) and significantly with the 3.0L (400 hp / 400 hp). The latter produces and extra 100 hp and 133 lb-ft. of torque over the outgoing 3.7. The hybrid’s numbers are unchanged at 188 total system horsepower with 129 lb-ft. of torque.
The engines are paired with two transmissions, a six-speed automatic goes with the EcoBoost mills and the hybrid comes with a CVT.
On the inside, the MKZ sports a redesigned centre stack with buttons and knobs replacing the slide controls of the outgoing model. Other changes include redesigned door panels with new trim materials.
The touchscreen infotainment / navigation system, powered by SYNC 3 software operates beautifully and utilizes its unique Lincoln graphics and colour palates.
The 2017 MKZ comes in two trims, Select and Reserve for both regular and hybrid models. I sampled two of the three powertrain combinations. Sadly, no V6 models were made available for the press preview.
On the road, the MKZ is a quiet and comfortable car to cruise along in. Both models were quiet at highway speed and in city traffic.
What surprised a little was how responsive they were to stabs at the throttle. Launches were quite quick but they filled the cabin with buzzy engine noise, which is bit disappointing for a car born out of quiet luxury.
One can toggle the modes (comfort, normal and sport) of Lincoln Drive Control, but it doesn’t change the car’s character much. Steering effort, throttle response and suspension damping felt much the same regardless of setting. Might as well just leave it in normal and never touch it again.
Besides, fiddling with driving modes and mashing the accelerator seems to be at odds with the MKZ’s nature. This car, and the Lincoln brand generally, is all about taking the road less traveled in comfort and style.
2017 Lincoln MKZ
BASE PRICE / AS TESTED: $42,000 / $46,000
ENGINE: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6
HORSEPOWER: 245 hp / 400 hp
TORQUE: 275 lb-ft. / 400 lb-ft.
DRY WEIGHT: 1,769 kg / 1,901 kg (AWD)
CONFIGURATION: front engine, front and all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (CITY / HWY. / COMB.): 11.8 / 8.4 / 10.3; 14 / 9.2 / 11.8 (V6)
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM): 48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES: Acura TLX, Infiniti Q50, Lexus ES
Photo by Lee Bailie