- Modern yet classic styling
- Long list of standard features
- Quiet ride
- Standard stability control
- Available heated and cooled front seats
- Not the sharpest-handling sedan
- Interior looks too close to that of the Ford Fusion
Though it’s in a very conservative package, the 2009 Lincoln MKZ is a credible luxury bargain for those who value comfort over driving excitement.
The mid-size Lincoln MKZ was originally called Zephyr for 2006, but the name later changed; it was significantly upgraded for 2008 and continues as a 2009 model with very few alterations.
The 2009 Lincoln MKZ is an example of traditional American luxury—prioritizing comfort and luxury amenities over raw autobahn performance. With a 263-horsepower V-6 and available all-wheel drive, it is no wallflower, though. It shares many components with the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, but wraps them in a more stylish sheetmetal. This equation is followed by plenty of manufacturers, including Lexus, which creates models off Toyota platforms.
Distinctive Lincoln styling helps the 2009 MKZ stand out from other luxury cars, although in a very conservative way. The look is clean and modern, but the tall grille and boxy back end make it instantly recognizable as a Lincoln.
The standard running gear for the MKZ is a 3.5-liter, 263-horsepower V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission with either front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Unlike many other engines of its power output, the Ford engine doesn’t require premium fuel.
Dynamically, the 2009 Lincoln MKZ handles well but unremarkably. Acceleration is quick in front-wheel-drive models, but the extra weight of the all-wheel-drive system slightly dulls throttle response. If you deal with inclement weather where you live, this is a worthwhile trade-off.
Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction control, and side plus side curtain airbags. Performance in government crash tests is solid, but the IIHS side crash test only earned an "acceptable" rating. AdvanceTrac electronic stability is standard for the 2009 model year, bringing it in line with its competitors.
Lincoln claims that the MKZ’s interior is the roomiest in its class, and that doesn’t surprise editors from TheCarConnection.com. The standard front seats include both heating and cooling settings, and the backseat is roomier than expected—good enough for two large adults in long-trip comfort.
New-for-2009 options include a Midnight Black special-edition package that features premium leather seating surfaces and contrasting wood inserts to help create a unique interior, as well as a voice-activated navigation system. Other standard features include a reverse-sensing system; Lincoln’s SYNC system, which uses voice-activated commands, Bluetooth, and a touch screen to control communications and entertainment; Sirius Satellite Radio; and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
All of this equipment resides in an interior that looks and feels rich, a sensation helped by high-quality materials and tight panel gaps. On the road, the interior is quiet, though the powertrain can get loud under full throttle.