2014 Lincoln MKZ Review

2014 Lincoln MKZ - The 2014 Lincoln MKZ is a strong contender in the luxury car market.


Prices:  Approximately $35,090-$38,080

The 2014 Lincoln MKZ sedan turns heads, and it's been a long time since this automaker has built a car that does that.  
The MKZ is part of Lincoln's attempt to put it on the lists of more luxury car buyers. It has the looks, ride and handling to make it competitive with some Cadillacs and foreign luxury car models.

Steering is sharp, an adaptive suspension makes the ride comfortable, and the car handles as well as some top-line European and Asian luxury sports sedans. The brake pedal has a good feel and causes the anti-lock brakes to bite early and surely.

So why hasn't Lincoln offered a car such as the MKZ several years ago? Unfortunately, Ford Motor let its Lincoln division slide into mediocrity for a long time, and it will take time to regain Lincoln's old reputation, despite more competition than it has ever faced.

Many don't know that Lincoln's limited-production 1956  Continental Mark II was America's most expensive car and outdid all Cadillac models and that it's cleanly styled 1960s models were considered exclusive.  

While many past Lincolns were just tarted-up Fords, the 2014 MKZ I tested,  which is virtually unchanged for 2015, is striking out on its own and is a definite leap in the right direction.  Yes, the MKZ is partly based on the excellent Ford Fusion sedan, but component sharing has become common in the auto market and the MKZ is no upscale Fusion. It has an especially distinctive, but rather low, front end and even such things as artfully shaped twin exhaust outlets.

My test MKZ's assembly quality seemed flawless, so it seemed odd that the outside hood latch wouldn't let the hood open after the inside hood release lever was pulled. (The owner's manual didn't help here.)  

The Lincoln media test site is vague on details, but sources say the MKZ  has list prices of approximately $35,090 to $38,080. It has either a 188-horsepower gas-electric hybrid system, a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 231-240  horsepower and a 300-horsepower V-6. I 'd opt for the V-6.

The MKZ has standard front-wheel drive (FWD), but all-wheel drive (AWD) is offered for extra money on all models except the Hybrid, which comes only with FWD. The transmission for the gas models is a smooth six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, while the Hybrid comes with a CVT automatic.

My test car had AWD and the 300-horsepower V-6, which was potent for in-town and highway driving. It provides an estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on highways. The base four-cylinder model delivers 22 city and 33 highway with FWD, while Lincoln says the hybrid has a rating of 41 city and 39 highway. (Car and Driver magazine says the Hybrid's numbers have been lowered to 38 city and 37 highway.) Go easy on the gas pedal, and the Hybrid is said to go to 62 m.p.h. in electric mode only.

My test MKZ had a $38,080 list price, but it was loaded with options that  raised the price to $51,215--or to $52,110 with an $895 freight charge.

The extras  included striking $495 Ruby Red clearcoat finish, the $1,230 300-horsepower V-6 and a $2,250 Technology Page that has active park assist, adaptive cruise control and a lane-keeping system for sleepy or inattentive drivers. The car also had a huge $2,985 panoramic sunroof, $595 multi-contour ultra supportive seats and $135 rear inflatable seatbelts.

Other options for my test MKZ included a $5,375  Equipment Package that contained a rearview video camera, reverse sensing system, navigation and crosss-traffic alert systems, premium audio system and rear heated seats.

This isn't to say an MKZ buyer couldn't live comfortably with just standard equipment. It includes dual-zone automatic climate control, power front driver and passenger seats with leather covering, amd a push button start. Shifting is done with five square buttons  on the center stack at the head of the console. I found the buttons easy to use quickly.

Safety items included plenty of airbags up front and a safety canopy for side protecton.

The MKZ has four large door openings for easy entry and exit to the quiet interor. The large front console has  room for two large beverage holders and a deep console bin, but the console eats up a fair amount of front-seat room.

Moreover, the nicely appointed interior has gimmicky controls, including distracting touch-sensitive controls for audio functions and a stylish but too-thin sliding dashboard lever for the climate control system fan.

Rear seat room is very good, and a large backseat armrest contains twin cupholders.

The cargo floor is a bit high, but the trunk is especially large.

Ford Motor seems serious about returning Lincoln to top-drawer status. The MKZ strongly indicates that this can be done.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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