Review and photos by Jeff Wilson
Unquestionably, one of the greatest appeals of reviewing cars regularly is the opportunity to drive a variety of machines, especially when they’re very special cars or for very special occasions.
Recently we’ve read how editor Jacob Black had the privilege of securing not one, but two high-end German sedans for his personal wedding carriages. Last summer my family cross-country road trip was done in a slick, British luxury sedan. And this past Christmas, I know of a certain Senior Editor who did his best drug lord impression stocking his garage with high end German, British and Asian vehicles to suit every possible occasion or weather condition he might encounter.
Perks of the gig indeed.
So when a road trip of any sort is coming up, we auto scribes generally dig deep into our memories and experiences to select a steed worthy of conveying our spoiled hides. And so with a few weeks leading up to January’s North American International Auto Show, I weighed the choices available in the current press fleets and considered the following criteria. My chosen ride for this occasion must be…:
1) Quiet, smooth-riding and relaxed for long-distance touring. (The trip between the Greater Toronto Area and Detroit is as exciting as watching snow melt and as curved as uncooked spaghetti).
2) Reasonably fuel-efficient since, although the car is provided, I have to spring for my own gas – and I’m a cheap-ass.
3) Equipped with an ear-bleeding stereo system so I can drown out my own singing.
4) Fitted with very comfortable seats.
2014 Lincoln MKZ. Click image to enlarge
There is one final consideration, too: the car must be available for when I need it, which, given how many other spoiled brats, err auto journalists were attending the Show, could be a tricky one.
And that’s how I ended up booking myself a 2014 Lincoln MKZ AWD.
In retrospect, I might’ve considered the 2.0 Hybrid version of the car to help with number 2) above, but hey, more power is more power and my test car’s 3.7L V6 creates 300 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Of course, at a rated 11.6 L/100 km city and 7.8 L/100 km highway, it more than doubles the consumption of its hybrid sibling. Despite my efforts and an almost entirely highway-driven trip, the best I could muster was a disappointing 10.7 L/100 km. The roads were clear, the skies sunny (though cold) and my test car didn’t even have snow tires on which to blame the unimpressive efficiency.
Complaints of the MKZ’s consumption aside, the rest of the motoring experience was a positive one. The V6 produces a nice, refined snarl and pulls the big car along swiftly. My careful planning also considered that I’d be driving through a notoriously snowy region in January, so the idea of the all-wheel-drive system was a good one.
Fortunately the sunny weather meant I didn’t need to put it to the test, but in an attempt to liven up my drive a bit, I went back-road bombing down some of the long, prairie-like rural routes – some of which were quite muddy. Here I had a chance to try some standing starts to see how well the Lincoln managed a lack of tractable surface. I’m pleased to report it simply gripped and pulled itself out with competence each time I tried it.