Share This Page

With Lincoln MKZ, luxury is relative

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

It takes more than good genes to survive almost 100 years in the auto business. It requires grit, stamina, courage and, in the case of Lincoln, a tremendous amount of chutzpah to “introduce” a company that's been around longer than the light switch. Like 111-year-old geriatric Cadillac and the even more elderly 114-year-old Buick, Lincoln is part of an automotive old folks club that refuses to go gently into the night.

With its 2013 MKZ, Ford's luxury division kicks off a four-model reinvention strategy designed to appeal to buyers who are younger than the brand's 65-year-old median age but still AARP-eligible. Unusual as it seems to reboot a legacy brand with a redo instead of an entirely new model, the MKZ makes a certain amount of sense. In the seven years it's been on the market, the midsize sedan has become Lincoln's best-seller, part of the fast-growing, entry-level luxury segment.

What luxury means, of course, is relative. In the case of the MKZ, it forgoes dramatic exterior design for creature comforts and safety features in a vehicle priced ever-so-slightly out of reach of mere plebes. The version I tested cost $49,585.

The first vehicle to emerge from Lincoln's dedicated design studio in Detroit, the 2013 MKZ sports a slightly more aerodynamic and edgy style than the outgoing model with a large panoramic roof, LED brake lights that extend across the entire rear end and a split-wing grille vaguely reminiscent of a Beemer. Still, its most significant innovations are technological.

The base model MKZ is powered with a 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine. I was driving the 3.7-liter V-6, which was responsive off the line and felt completely comfortable cruising the carpool lane at speed. It did, however, yield an abysmal 21.7 mpg. A hybrid model more than doubles fuel economy to an EPA-estimated 45 mpg and is priced the same as the gas model, which starts at $36,800.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.