2010 Lincoln MKZ Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
January 5, 2010

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ wraps its roomy, cozy interior in a conservative bod-with a slight nod to sporty drivers.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the 2010 Lincoln MKZ and have compared it with other luxury sedans to write this hands-on road test. Editors have also compiled quotes and opinions from other sources to produce the most comprehensive look at the new MKZ on the Web.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ shares much with the latest Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, but it's making steady styling progress this year with new front and rear designs, as well as a classy interior update. The MKZ is not truly a sport sedan, but a quick, fairly responsive four-door with available all-wheel drive and technology features second to none. The 2010 MKZ is priced from $35,000 and competes most closely with the Acura TL, Lexus ES 350, and Buick LaCrosse.

There are familiar lines and curves in the 2010 Lincoln MKZ sheetmetal borrowed from the Ford Fusion, but a distinct Lincoln silhouette is evolving right on its nose and tail. Updated this year to share more cues with the larger Lincoln MKS, the latest MKZ wears a twin-wing grille and slimmer headlights, which Ford designers say give it a wider look. The taillights are wide and narrow toward the center of the trunklid, a look that's more Japanese family sedan than luxury liner. In all, the MKZ doesn't shatter the perception that it's an upstyled Fusion-though that's no faint praise, given Lincoln's forgettable recent past. Inside, the MKZ is happier in its imitation of the MKS. There's a wide band of wood or aluminum trim against dark, tightly grained plastic, framing a big LCD screen for audio and entertainment features. Thin ribbons of metallic trim frame big panels of dash in a look harking back to the heyday of Lincoln in the 1960s-but also recalling Ford's work with the Land Rover brand. It's an improvement for sure, though less of a stretch.

A single powertrain is offered in the 2010 MKZ. It's a 3.5-liter, 263-horsepower V-6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and available with either front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. It's amply powerful, though when wound up near its power peak, the V-6 sounds less smooth than it should wearing a Lincoln badge. Ford says improvements in engine breathing and responsiveness have dropped 0-60 mph times to 7.1 seconds. The MKZ sips regular gas and still is rated at 18/27 mpg, fine numbers for the class. Fitting with the brand, the Lincoln MKZ is no dynamo around corners-it handles without much steering feel, and despite a manual-shift mode for its transmission, it's just no BMW. All-wheel drive dulls its responses with more weight, and all versions are tuned for quiet, stress-free driving instead of brisk responsiveness. The newest version has a touch smoother ride, which can be nullified by a new sport suspension option with a tighter feel and 18-inch wheels.

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TheCarConnection.com's editors have praised the Lincoln MKZ's interior in the past, and for 2010 there's even more reason to cheer. It's among the roomiest in its class, and with ventilated, power-adjustable front seats, the MKZ is quite comfortable to drive over long distances. The backseat's just as roomy for adults, good enough for two large adults in long-trip comfort. The trunk is especially large-on par with the larger Lincoln MKS, with a much more cargo-friendly opening. The MKZ's new interior is several steps up the quality ladder from the 2009 edition, with tighter fits, better-quality plastics, and lovely leather and wood trims as options.

For the 2010 model year, the MKZ earns five-star front-impact crash scores from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), with five stars for driver-side protection, but just four stars for rear-side protection. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) awards the MKZ "good" ratings in both tests, and named it a Top Safety Pick. Standard safety features include dual front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; and traction and stability control. Rear parking sensors and a 911 Alert system are standard, while a rearview camera is an option, as is a blind-spot alert system and Cross-Traffic Alert, which warns of cars in the lane in which the MKZ is turning.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ comes fully equipped for its $35,000 base price. It sports SYNC, which uses voice-activated commands to control phones and audio systems; Bluetooth; and a touchscreen LCD for navigation and other functions. An AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with Sirius Satellite Radio is also standard, along with 17-inch wheels; leather upholstery; and heated and ventilated power front seats. Options include a voice-activated navigation system; Sirius Travel Link, which offers on-the-fly data, such as traffic info, weather, movie times, and sports scores; ambient lighting; adaptive headlamps; THX-certified surround sound; remote start; and a moonroof. For 2010, an Executive Appearance Package gets its own paint colors and special leather-trimmed seats, walnut trim, and thicker floor mats.

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