2012 Lincoln MKZ Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality

Compact for a luxury car--and especially for a Lincoln--the 2012 Lincoln MKZ doesn't leave a lot of excess interior room on the table. It's a structural clone of the Ford Fusion, after all, but to us that means four adults can fit inside with good comfort, swaddled in Lincoln's upgraded materials.

We think the MKZ's interior looks rich and high-dollar nearly all of the time, though some critics complain that the mix of materials inside varies a bit more from high-rent to low-rent. It's about on par with the latest Buick LaCrosse and Chrysler 300, even with the Lexus ES 350, which admittedly is off the Lexus mark set in the early 2000s. At times, the MKZ's switches and controls can seem counterintuitive--voice controls aside, the small buttons on the steering wheel need a rethink. The best details, no doubt, are the seats, faced with lovely Bridge of Weir leather seats, a big step up from the baseline leather used in most near-luxury cars these days.

Four adults will find a plush leather-lined home inside the relatively compact Lincoln MKZ.

On the scale of absolute space, the MKZ does very well for front-seat passengers. The chairs are comfortable for long drives, and the driving position is lower than in other Lincolns, with a lot of leg and knee room. The console intrudes on the space a bit, and the standard sunroof will force taller adults into a less upright driving position.

The rear seats are a bit more confining. Entry and exit are easier by far than in, say, the Cadillac CTS, but leg room is a bit less ample than in those other luxury-leaning American sedans. It's good enough for two large adults in long-trip comfort.

The trunk is especially large. Almost the size of the cargo hold in the much larger Lincoln MKS, it also has a more cargo-friendly opening. The Hybrid's trunk is smaller, the space given up to house the battery pack. Hybrids also lose the fold-down rear seats, again for battery placement.

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