2007 Lincoln MKZ
2007 Lincoln MKZ. Click image to enlarge


Article by Chris Chase; photos by Chris Chase and Paul Williams

Ottawa, Ontario – There’s a revival happening at Lincoln these days. Like what General Motors has been doing with Cadillac over the past few years, Ford has focused on its own luxury division with a view to making it competitive with the new Cadillac, not to mention Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Headlining the launch of the “new” Lincoln are three models that it feels will be key players in the brand’s revival – the MKZ sedan, MKX crossover and redesigned Navigator full-size sport utility. Naturally, parent company Ford of Canada is eager to show off these newest members of the Lincoln family, and invited Ottawa-area media to a brief preview.


MKZ

While the MKZ’s name is new, the car isn’t – it was actually introduced for the 2006 model year as the Lincoln Zephyr and has been on sale for many months now. The new badge simply brings the car into line with Lincoln’s new naming convention.

2007 Lincoln MKZ
2007 Lincoln MKZ. Click image to enlarge

That said, this car gets a notable improvement for 2007 in the form of Ford’s all-new corporate 3.5-litre V6. With 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque on tap – power numbers achieved on 87-octane gasoline – the MKZ is certainly quicker than the Zephyr, which made do with a 3.0-litre V6 shared with the Ford Fusion. The MKZ is also available with all-wheel drive, a feature that will certainly boost the car’s odds of success in a market segment with many all-wheel drive competitors. The MKZ gets the same six-speed automatic as its Zephyr forerunner.

2007 Lincoln MKZ
2007 Lincoln MKZ
2007 Lincoln MKZ. Click image to enlarge

Both front- and all-wheel drive versions acquitted themselves nicely on a tight handling course, though our initial impression is of a little more body roll than you might experience in an Audi A4 or BMW 3-series. Granted, the venue was hardly representative of real-world driving and our time behind the wheel was too brief to make any concrete assessments, so we’ll reserve judgment until we get a chance to spend more time with the car.

The only aspect of the MKZ that gave us pause was the interior, with a blocky dashboard that evokes strong (and not in a good way) memories of the 1970s. We prefer the Fusion’s dash, whose more organic shape we find much prettier.

The 2007 MKZ is arriving at Lincoln stores as you read this, with prices starting at $37,899 (front-wheel drive) and $39,899 (all-wheel drive).


MKX


2007 Lincoln MKX
2007 Lincoln MKX. Click image to enlarge

Our first impression of the MKX was to wonder if the folks at General Motors are kicking themselves for not making the Pontiac Aztek and Buick Rendezvous look like this instead. The MKX (and its Ford Edge twin) is a very attractive crossover thingy, particularly from the rear, where a band of red stretches across the tailgate between the taillights.

The MKX gets a nicer-looking interior than the MKZ. While the dash is dominated by a prominent centre stack, as with the MKZ, that feature is better-integrated and more attractive in the MKX, despite employing most of the same components.

2007 Lincoln MKX
2007 Lincoln MKX
2007 Lincoln MKX. Click image to enlarge

Notable, too, is the MKX’s large cargo hold. There’s tons of space with the rear seats in place, and the 1,945 litres (68.7 cu. ft.) of capacity achieved by folding the rear seats will make the MKX a very flexible vehicle indeed. The rear seats, which can be collapsed using a seat-mounted lever or a power-operated switch in the cargo area, also fold flat – a nice touch.

The new 3.5-litre V6 and six-speed gearbox also find a home here, and all-wheel drive is again an option. While our spin around the handling course was quite brief, we had a chance to spend about 30 minutes behind the wheel of the Edge at the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s Testfest in late October and were impressed by its ride and handling and acceleration from the new V6.

The MKX is on sale now. Pricing starts at $42,499 for a front-wheel drive version, and $44,399 for an all-wheel drive model.


Navigator


2007 Lincoln Navigator
2007 Lincoln Navigator. Click image to enlarge

Lincoln says the 2007 Navigator “looks powerful and capable without looking pretentious.” We’re not sure, though, if there’s any better word than pretentious to describe a full-size truck with standard 20-inch chrome wheels and a huge chrome grille.

Generally speaking, though, the Navigator’s styling is tasteful, at least on the outside. We found it’s still recognizable as a Navigator despite the 2007 redesign. The power hideaway running boards are useful, and also nifty in their automatic operation. We’re leery about how they’ll function when covered with several inches of Ottawa slush and ice, but Ford’s people assured us this feature was designed with Canada’s harsh winters in mind.

2007 Lincoln Navigator power running boards
2007 Lincoln Navigator power running boards. Click image to enlarge

As you’d expect in a truck of this size, interior space is good. Even the third-row seat is reasonably comfortable, though as with most such seating set-ups, we’d rather sit in one of the front or second-row seats for a long trip.

The high cowl and imposing dash are a better fit here than in the MKZ, though we hope Navigator buyers don’t notice that the MKZ, whose starting price is roughly half that of the Navigator, uses many of the same buttons and dashboard components as the Navigator. The gauge cluster brings back more memories of decades past, with a rather small speedo and tachometer that don’t lend themselves to easy reading. Also, they’re square. We don’t get it. Along the top of the cluster are a set of four secondary gauges for engine temp, fuel, charging system and oil pressure. It’s not terribly user-friendly and doesn’t fit in an interior that Lincoln refers to as “modern luxury.”

2007 Lincoln Navigator
2007 Lincoln Navigator
2007 Lincoln Navigator. Click image to enlarge

Through the short handling course, the Navigator handled, well, like a truck. But it never felt unsafe, even when hustled through the course’s tight turns. An exceptionally tight turning radius creates a nimble feeling that’s unexpected in a large truck, though we certainly wouldn’t recommend cranking the wheel to full-lock at any speed above 40 or 50 km/h.

The 5.4-litre V8 has 300 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque and moves the Navigator with authority, at least off the line, but the Cadillac Escalade has a little more than 400 horsepower, not to mention a much nicer interior. We do prefer the Lincoln’s exterior, however.

The third-row seat folds flat to create a large cargo hold, and the second-row console is a delete option that, when deleted, would turn the Navigator into a capable cargo hauler. The second-row seats don’t do any disappearing tricks, but they do fold flat.

The 2007 Navigator is priced starting at $73,199 and is on sale now.

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