Strengths and weaknesses:
- overall style
- too many buttons & sensors
The luxury side of Ford
This week's test vehicle is from Ford's luxury division, the 2014 Lincoln MKZ. It's interesting, to say the least, and for several reasons. The MKZ recipe is a sprinkle of fun for some, not too much for others, but at the end of the day it depends on what type of driver you are.
A young monsieur?
If you're looking to American cars as a potential purchase, Lincoln is Ford's wealthy uncle, and the MKZ is Lincoln's rich teen. Starting at $37,460, it's the cheapest luxury car in the line-up.
It's also a hot car, what with its slick exterior lines, the curve of the rear, tinted windows, trademark moustache-like grille, and classy headlights.
The taillight as a red banner across the rear of the vehicle, along with the overall appearance, all express the merger of two worlds. It's easy to spot, because the style floats somewhere between young and mature adult.
The MKZ is something of a young monsieur in this regard, with a bit of sizzle in the 3.7L V6 engine, and 300 horsepower to boot.
But once you open the door and dip your head inside, it's a bit of a different story. In fact, it's like flipping a coin: heads you like it, tails you don't. It's a driving style preference.
Here's the question you may have to ask yourself: do you enjoy driving a car that is almost entirely made up of on-screen buttons and sensors?
SYNC with MyLincoln Touch
The driver's seat is separated from the passenger seat by a snake-like body cascading down the dashboard. It is an island of multimedia options and storage compartments.
This Lincoln is essentially a giant gadget.
There is no traditional gearshift that you can grab and move around. Instead, there is a vertical line of buttons to the right of the steering wheel. If this method of driving is preferable, then it is a matter of becoming accustomed to selecting the different driving modes – large and easy to spot!
Everything else in this department, from the heating and cooling of your seat, to the radio stations, navigation system, number dialling and so on, can rely on the pressing of a finger on the screen (unless you are using voice activation).
The climate controls are placed below the navigation/multimedia unit, along with the increase/decrease of sound, you will have to leave your index finger on the sensor for a moment.
This is the "intuitive touch screen" controls, part of Lincoln's SYNC with MyLincoln Touch technology. However, there are times where you will miss the simplicity of turning a knob and receiving an instantaneous result.
The tech also includes hands-free calling, voice commands to access entertainment or manage climate controls, and more.
The MKZ offers a lot of options to make your driving experience comfortable and enjoyable – to the point of including the option of a seat massage. Odd or awesome, I'm actually not sure, but if you're driving, it may be best to leave this type of enjoyment to your passenger.
Overall, know where the buttons are located. Otherwise, you risk the possibility of an accident, as your eyes tend to wander too long on the screen as opposed to the road.
Driving and Performance
The rest is business as usual. The MKZ is your everyday Joe in terms of comfort and space provided in a standard mid-size sedan. It's also nice that you can set your seat position.
Handling is good, and visibility is decent at best, due to the thick B-pillar to the left of the driver. Rear visibility is not fantastic, probably due to the tilt of the window. Lights tend to shine and reflect at angles you would prefer they did not, and the car could also benefit from a rear wiper.
It's hard to say if this Lincoln is going to be on your favourite five, or axed from your list. As an entire package, the MKZ presents itself very well in terms of style, comfort, space and the range of options it provides. The iffy part falls on the technology: the sensors that don't always react and the lack of a traditional gearshift. And so, what type of driver are you?
2014 Lincoln MKZ V6 AWD
Price as tested (before taxes): $56,700
Options on test vehicle: White platinum tri-coat ($600), Technology package ($2,450), Panoramic sunroof ($3,450), multi contour seats ($750)
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.7L V6/ 6-spd auto with sequential shift
Power/torque: 300 hp/ 277 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Premium (66L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11.6 city, 7.8 hwy
Warranties: 4 years/ 80,000 km (basic), 6 years/ 110,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Acura TL, Hyundai Genesis, Infiniti G37, Lexus ES 350