Remember Rocky versus
Mr. T? Hark back to the 1980s, when in the third Rocky
movie, Stallone had to get back in the ring against the scary T) after the
humiliating loss of his title and his self-respect. That’s where
And the three-punch combo it hopes to land is new for 2007: MKX, Navigator, and the least new of the trio, the MKZ.
Least new doesn’t mean least interesting, in this case. The 2007 Lincoln MKZ sedan is a tweaked, uprated, and renamed version of the Zephyr entry-luxury sedan that bowed last year. It’s a good-looking car, with a modernized, “wide-mouthed” version of the trademark Lincoln waterfall grille up front, crisp styling pleats pressed into the hood and trunk, and chrome accents finishing it all off. The effect is neither garish nor old-school — but very much in keeping with the
The MKZ’s signature functional features are a new 3.5 liter V-6 good for 265 horsepower, tied to a new six-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive. The new engine runs on regular 87 octane unleaded, in addition to being one of the most powerful standard engines in this class.
2007 Lincoln MKZ
Other retro touches include an analog clock in the center stack and high-visibility numerical gauge facings (with LED backlighting) instead of digital stuff, which is also different — and nice because it’s so immediately self-explanatory. There are no mice, no inscrutable icons to decipher. You won’t need a 200-page manual or a degree in systems engineering to figure out the MKZ’s controls.
The MKZ can
be fitted with heated and cooled seats, a kicking THX premium audio system, GPS
navigation, Sirius satellite radio, and a best-in-class 15.8-cubic-foot trunk
(as well as nearly three feet of rear-seat legroom). All MKZs come standard
with Ford’s Personal Safety System — which means side-impact airbags for the
front seat occupants, full-length curtain airbags with “roll fold” technology
designed to make sure the bags deploy between the occupant and the side
glass, even if the occupant is not in the ideal position, and anti-lock brakes
with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and traction control.
Not the sharpest tool
2007 Lincoln MKZ
2007 Lincoln MKZ
The six-speed automatic doesn’t seem very eager to play. It has fairly languid upshifts designed for softness rather than sport feel, and won’t hold lower gears when powering through turns. The suspension tuning isn’t set up for enthusiast driving in the way a BMW 3-Series is. This car doesn’t dive eagerly into turns, daring you to push yourself closer to your own limits.
On the other hand, for quiet
cruising along the freeway at a steady 70-80-something, it works very well. The
cabin’s quiet, the ride is soft on your backside (but not so soft the car
wallows like an old Buick — or an old Lincoln, for that matter), the optional
seat heaters and coolers keep you comfortable no matter the outside temperature
and the optional THX stereo’s very good. Everything works well and is easy to
operate — and not at all hard on the eyes, either.
Priced for battle
The MKZ also compares quite favorably with middle-brand, mid-priced V-6 almost-luxury sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry that don’t have the prestige brand nameplate going for them, or the all-wheel-drive, either. The MKZ’s powerful standard engine and available AWD also put big distance between it and other domestic-brand rivals, like the front-drive-only (and barely 200-hp) Buick LaCrosse.
So if a 3-Series BMW is a bit too aggressive, and a Lexus ES a touch too expensive, the MKZ could be a good middle ground.
Base price: $29,175
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Price as tested: $35,435
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 265 hp/249 lb-ft
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front- or all-wheel drive
Length x width x height: 190.5 x 72.2 x 55.4 in
Wheelbase: 107.4 in
Curb weight: 3533 lb
Fuel economy (EPA cty/hwy): N/A
Safety equipment: Dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes and traction control
wheels; heated leather seats with 10-way power driver's seat; digital keypad
door locks; dual-zone climate control; AM/FM stereo with seven speakers, six-disc
CD changer and MP3 capability
Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles