I love the shape of the MKZ – it’s sleek, modern and refined, and it stands out in the crowd. Lincoln dresses things up a big with bright adaptive LED headlights flanking the love-it-or-hate-it-grille, as well as a nifty strip of LEDs that make up the tail lights. Meaty 245/40-sized tires come wrapped around the handsome 19-inch rims, and the overall package is, to me, distinctive for its elegant simplicity.
The MKZ’s clean flowing lines continue inside, where everything feels seamlessly integrated. At first, premium amenities like the genuine walnut wood accents, heated steering wheel and the leather-trimmed heated, cooled, power-adjustable, massaging seats are pretty awesome. But I soon noticed that the cabin still feels dark and the materials aren’t up to snuff in the entry-level luxury category, and neither is the fit and finish. Likewise, neat touches like the “suspension bridge” centre console seem great at first, until you realize that reaching underneath the centre console to get your stuff isn’t all that practical.
The MyLincolnTouch system with its familiar 8-inch touch screen handles everything – your climate settings, your navigation and phone functions and the spectacular 14-speaker, 700 watts THX sound system. It’s relatively intuitive but not very responsive – I give it full marks for super-fast and accurate voice recognition though. And it is slated to be replaced by Ford’s new SYNC 3, which should be a major improvement.
If you love driver assistance technology, you’ve come to the right place. Loaded like my review vehicle, the MKZ comes complete with blind-spot monitoring, active park assist, rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, lane keeping system, driver alert system (that presumes to know when you need a break based on your driving habits, like how many times you’ve crossed the middle line), adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake support and rear cross traffic alert. Wow! All of it works pretty well and is relatively unobtrusive.
I hate the push-button transmission controls. It feels slow to use and it is as irritating as the complete lack of buttons on the centre stack. Yes, this clean things up visually, but none of it feels good to use, and those capacitive touch-strips are an ergonomic nightmare.
2015 LA Auto Show: 2017 MKZ shows us the new face of Lincoln – again
Overhead, the absolutely massive panoramic sunroof is a triumph when it comes to giving an interior a nice airy feel, but it looks horrendous when it’s open and it acts like an air scoop – the buffeting I experienced while driving with the roof open at freeway speeds was unacceptable. Furthermore, all that hardware means more things that can go wrong and I heard a nearly constant creaking from one side of the roof. That would drive me crazy if I owned this car.
The swoopy styling makes for somewhat limited head room in the back, although I (at 5’10”) had enough. Happily, the leg room and foot room is more generous.