2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD
2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD. Click image to enlarge

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Inside Story: 2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD
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2010 Lincoln MKZ

North Vancouver, British Columbia – Based on the mid-size Ford Fusion sedan, Lincoln’s entry-level luxury sedan first appeared in 2005 as the 2006 Lincoln Zephyr. A year later, the name was changed to MKZ (pronounced MK Zed) in line with Lincoln’s new vehicle naming policy, and its 3.0-litre V6 engine was replaced by Ford’s more powerful 3.5-litre V6. The 2007 MKZ also came with a new grille, and the availability of all-wheel drive.

In 2008, heated and cooled front seats, voice-activated navigation, and Sync hands-free phone and entertainment system were added, and in 2009, electronic stability control was finally made available.

Changes to the 2010 model, which is already on sale, are more substantial: new front and rear exterior styling, a new interior design, a new six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with manual shift capability, rain-sensing wipers, SOS post-crash alert, capless fuel filler, a new Sport Appearance Package, and new optional safety features. All-wheel drive models also get xenon headlamps that swivel when going around corners.

2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD
2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD
2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD. Click image to enlarge

Notable among the new options is Ford’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Cross Traffic Alert (CTA). BLIS warns the driver of vehicles in the blind spot areas on both sides of the car using two multiple-beam radar modules behind the rear fenders – lights in the outside rear-view mirrors flash when another car enters the blind spot. When reversing, CTA alerts the driver of approaching vehicles up to 20 metres on either side of the vehicle using audible and visual warnings. These features come as part of an optional “Vision Package” along with a voice-activated navigation system, eight-inch colour screen, TH1 sound system, digital music hard drive, and rearview camera.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ’s base price has risen from $36,499 to $38,399 for the front-wheel drive model and to $42,199 for the AWD model. My AWD test car had the optional $4,000 Vision Package (navigation system, blind-spot detector, rear-view camera), the $1,500 Sport Appearance Package (18-inch alloy wheels, darker grille and headlight surround, leather-wrapped steering wheel, satin/nickel/aluminum interior trim, sport suspension), $1,600 power moonroof, $300 remote starter, and $80 block heater. With $1,400 Freight and $100 a/c tax, the as-tested price of my test car came to $51,279, not an insubstantial sum.

Interior impressions
2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD
2010 Lincoln MKZ AWD. Click image to enlarge

The MKZ’s new interior improves on the previous cabin in a number of respects. First, it looks better: previously tall and imposing, the instrument panel is now lower, rounder and sportier in appearance with a larger, brighter speedometer relocated to the middle of the new three-gauge cluster and a new speaker in the centre of the dashtop. In the centre stack, the tiny round clock has been replaced with a digital clock, the CD player has been moved below the optional navigation screen which is now eye-level with the gauges, and user-friendly rotary dials have replaced push-buttons on the heater and radio. I’m glad Lincoln removed the shiny silver trim in the instrument panel as it made the controls difficult to see. In the front doors, easier-to-grip vertical grab handles have replaced the horizontal slots.

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