2013 Lincoln MKZ. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Peter Bleakney
A Tale of Two Lincolns
Lincoln has been suffering an identity crisis for quite some time now.
Turns out a series of rebadged and gussied-up Fords just ain’t enough to raise this brand to its former (and we’re talking many moons past) level of prestige and glory. Currently, the Edge crossover begets the MKX, the Taurus the MKS, the Expedition the Navigator and the Flex the MKT. At least the latter has significantly different sheet metal.
And of course there was the last-gen MKZ – a boxy mid-size Ford Fusion sporting a barely perceptible layer of mascara and some extra cow and timber within. A decent car, but ultimately so Ho Hum.
Enter the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. Ta da. Penned by in-house stylist Max Wolff (fantastic name, by the way), this radical new sedan is the first indication of the reimagined Lincoln – a car that will finally give this brand the mojo and momentum it so dearly needs. So Lincoln tells us.
I will say this. My MKZ 3.7 AWD tester ($47,300 base) in Bordeaux Reserve Red Metallic (another fantastic name) garnered more unsolicited positive comments from onlookers than any press car in recent memory. It truly is dramatic and unique. If Lincoln is looking for some identity they’ve got a good start here.
And if you think the snout is an affectation, note that the “split wing” grille was introduced way back in 1938 on the Lincoln-Zephyr. So they own this one.
Running down the side of the MKZ is a Volvo-like ‘shoulder’, concluding at a blunt rear end featuring a side-to-side swath of LED lighting.
Indeed, the 2013 MKZ follows the Lincoln playbook by being based on the latest Ford Fusion, but no one will argue that this all-new Ford is not a great starting point. The bones are good, and that translates intact to the MKZ.
2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Click image to enlarge
Let’s look at the MKZ Hybrid first. At $44,050, Lincoln is not charging a premium for hybrid technology as the “base” front-drive MKZ with 2.0L EcoBoost has the same sticker. (The mechanically identical Fusion SE Hybrid starts at $29,999.)
To me, this 2013 MKZ Hybrid is a complete package in a weird, retro, Jetsons kinda’ way. This could easily have been someone’s vision of the car-of-the-future, back when I was a little tyke.
First, the swooping bodywork, turbine-fan wheels, aforementioned taillights and front LED headlamps that defy the darkness with a piercing white light.
Second, the space-age technology. With the key in your pocket, the doors automatically unlock! Ooooohh.
Peer inside and the centre console houses a real TV – the rest of the central architecture sweeps away in all its black, hard plastic glory. There’s lots of silvery hard plastic too. And we all know how cool and futuristic hard plastic is.
Like all proper cars-of-the-future, our MKZ Hybrid has a glass roof that retracts ($3,450) and push-button start. And like the Edsel, the gears are selected by pushing buttons too. Ahhhhh.
Place yourself in the seat, and you’ll feel it squeezing your lower back a bit more than expected. Apparently, people-of-the-future will be thinner and in great shape.
Other than a few lashings of chrome, there are no gauges. How can anybody drive with no gauges? Time to push that Start/Stop button and fire this atomic puppy up.