If you haven’t driven a Lincoln before, the Lincoln MKZ is a good place to start. Without the baggage of ups and downs that the company has gone through, the executive sedan from the American luxury brand vouches for the remarkable effort that has gone into redefining the marque and the model. Introduced in 2013, the Lincoln MKZ remains quite the same for this model year as well.
UPSIDE: Impressive package of luxury and value, Refined power, Silent and comfortable ride, Full-length retractable panoramic roof
FLIPSIDE: Rivals outclasses in cabin décor, Lost boot space, Start up delay at signals, Layered haptic controls
THE PRICE: AED 147,000, AED 165,000 and AED 195,000
The refreshed design provides a great platform for Lincoln to settle into the contemporary mileu that the premium sedan brands lay. The effort to keep up with Cadillac, the original rival, shows and pays off largely. The newly introduced Cadillac ATS or the stunningly revamped CTS manages to stay ahead of the MKZ in many respects but the Lincoln does an especially good job with the almost liftback sort of rear sloping and the full length LED rear lights, which remind you of Yankee muscle (read, Dodge Charger!). Yet, Lincoln’s desire to stay different is noticable in… well, its placement of the fuel tank. The MKZ fills from the left.
In front as well, a larger split wing grille, or butterfly grille as I call it, adds a distinctive design character to the brand. Some might like it, some might not. But I like the way muscle and design magic combine in its character line grooved along the window ramp, from end to end.
The dark framing of the sunroof as it pulls back, leaning onto the rear windscreen, hints at the ‘designer approach’ Lincoln has employed. It carries on right to the wheels: punctuated with glossy spokes, they really look good!
The 3.7L V6 is as silent an engine as any executive luxury sedan would be pleased to have. The cabin is well insulated with very little road intrusions, and only if you listen hard you will notice that it actually drums out a nice V6 roll.
It’s a smooth and powerful engine that only lacks in anything remarkable. The six-shift tranny is responsive even though, at times, it shuffles a little to find the right gear. By the way, the Lincoln MKZ has no gear lever to hold on to. There are only buttons marked P R N D and S (yes, there is a sport mode) with apologetically sized paddle shifts, just in case you are insistent on that manual experience.
The Lincoln Drive Control pans the engine, transmission, body and chassis making for reassuring handling, but there is a strange disconnect between the steering and the driver. I guess it has something to do with the emotionless grip on the thin leather-wrap. The Lincoln MKZ shifts quickly enough but once you stop at signals and opt to stay on neutral or park, switching back to D delays the take off.
Shrugging off the executive cloak, and pushing the throttle flagged in a latent oversteer that stuck to the car’s rear wheels all along the drive (by the way, it’s a front wheel drive). Despite the tendency to fish tail for excitement’s sake, the Lincoln MKZ steadied its poise and remained composed and connected, especially on mountain roads and curvy tracks.
Cabin and comforts
Inside, the MKZ makes luxury feel at home with nicely done interiors and a cartload of driveability features. From the almost overzealous lane departure warning and a take-a-break alert, to blind spot monitoring, distance control cruising and backing-up alerts for oncoming cars, the MKZ has pretty much everything on the Driver Assist menu. My test car came with a full panoramic sunroof as well, largely retractable.
The cabin materials in the Lincoln MKZ are unequivocally superior to ordinary sedans, with a dash of wood and hard plastic, not to mention the beige perforated leather seats in the front and the rear. But it is when you compare it with rivals that you notice the compromises made in the hard plastics or the aluminium-like trims. Even the leather, which so far comes across as impressive, marginally loses its gloss when compared with the over-indulging options in the market.
The steering is thickly populated with buttons. The touch operated controls of SYNC® with MyLincoln Touch™ is another thing where the Lincoln is in sync with Cadillac’s CUE. While it is designed to offer plenty of convenience, it is fidgety, slow in responsiveness, and layered to say the least, but that is a criticism it shares with the new generation Cadillac’s CUE. The first thing I did in the MKZ cabin, adjusting the seat support, left me impressed with a six level control system. But the fact is, once out of that screen, I could not locate that control panel ever again!
The Family Drive
Despite the design extravagance, the passenger space remains impressive for a mid-sized sedan and you will be happy with the rear headroom too, unless you are six foot plus and just bumped your head on the low-hanging roof as you climbed in!
The cabin storage space is managed very well with a sunglasses holder, armrest compartment and a decent-sized glove box. It’s all well till you turn to the rear, where what could have been a spacious boot has been reduced to a large extent by a layered, caving-in sort of design that eats into the rear space dynamics.
Vertically splitting the Lincoln MKZ cabin, the executive styling of the tunnel console with the armrest extends all the way till the rear AC vents. A touch of class to the design but the family in the rear could feel alienated, because it adds a very formal touch to the cabin. However, your folks will appreciate the convenience of remote starting the car, the touch-operated boot and the 11-speaker entertainment hub.
The Essential Lincoln MKZ 2014
Lincoln, “the Cadillac Slayer” takes the fight into after-sales care as well. If the Caddy offers four years or 100,000 km of maintenance on the house, Lincoln does it for five. So if you ask me one reason why you should favour the Lincoln over the Cadillac despite certain disadvantages that only we review writers really care about… well it is the AED 145,000 price tag which gives you a 3.7L V6 engine, reasonably luxurious interiors, design-house styling, cabin material that borders on premium, a lousy interactive system just like its main rival, 8 airbags as standard and pretty good handling skills for a front wheel drive car. Just in case you fancy the next best thing a sedan could have to convertible styling, you can scoop out AED 30,000 more for that ‘deployable panoramic sunroof’ and a full array of lazy-drive gizmos.
For those who wish to play a nonconformist to the luxury traditions in vogue, yet would pinch a little more value from the segment, the Lincoln MKZ is a good choice where complaints are few and so are huge laurels.
Drive Courtesy: Al Tayer Motors
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy