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New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

There is no doubt Lincoln is on the road to raising its profile to take its place with other premium luxury sedans with the 2017 MKZ and MKZ Hybrid leading the way.

  • Lincoln MKZ 2017 main1

THE PROS & CONS

    • What’s Best: You can feel the new effort Lincoln is making to become a top premium luxury brand in the MKZ.
    • What’s Worst: New grille treatment is a step forward but the MKZ needs more flash to match its rivals, which we will see with the upcoming 3.0-litre, 400 hp V6.
    • What’s Interesting: MKZ customers can choose a hybrid alternative at the same starting price as the gasoline-powered car.

HALIFAX, NS: It’s time for a change at Lincoln and the 2017 MKZ is leading the way.

Conceived in the 1930s as a counter to Cadillac, the brand has had moments of glory, but never quite the greatness of its GM nemesis.

The Lincoln brand was bought by Ford in 1922 and has had its ups and down ever since, such as the first Continental in 1942 which resulted in 1956 Continental Mark 11, still to my mind, one of the loveliest designs of the post WW11 period.

After that, Lincoln receded into the luxury car shadows with products such as the Town Car, which fueled the limo fleet market for years but did little to heighten the brand image.

The harbinger of change is the 2017 version of the MKZ which comes with a number of improvements, starting with the grille that does away with the previous butterfly design inspired by the pre-war Lincoln Zephyr.

First seen earlier this year on the Lincoln Continental Concept, the grille is an ovoid shape, not unlike the Jaguar XKF, but with a prominent Lincoln badge in the middle, similar to the Maserati Quattroporte.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

Another problem was the slider controls for the climate and audio controls, which were impossible to use with gloves on and required taking your eyes off the road to find.

Now it has proper knobs and toggles it works far better and I rarely had to avert my attention from the road ahead during the drive.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

In the interior, the stitching on the leather seats and door panels is laser straight plus finishes were chosen to blend with the aluminum trim.

The seats have Bridge of Weir leather from Scotland that is brand mark, and imperfection, free.

A knockout optional feature is the segment exclusive fully retractable panoramic sunroof.

There are two models, the MKZ and the MKZ Hybrid and two trim levels – Select and Reserve.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

Interestingly the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid Select models are both priced at $42,000 and the MZZ and MKZ Hybrid are both priced at $46,000 with a $1,900 shipping fee.

The MKZ is powered by a 2.0-litre single turbo inline four-cylinder producing 245 hp and 275 lb/ft of torque, which is almost the same torque as the 3.7-litre V6 in the outgoing model.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

With all-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, fuel consumption is rated at 11.8/8.4L/100 km city/highway.

The Hybrid is equipped with a 2.0-litre Atkinson Cycle inline four-cylinder producing 129 hp and 188 hp when combined with the electric motor/battery. Available in front-wheel-drive and a CVT transmission, fuel rating is 5.7/6.1L/100 km.

Coming later will be a twin turbo 3.0-litre V6 with AWD and a potent 400 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque.

Cargo volume is 436 litres (15.4 cu ft) on the MKZ and 314 litres (11.1 cu ft) on the Hybrid.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

Driving from Halifax up to the Northumberland Strait was done in the rain and what I noticed was the lack of tire “sizzle” (sound which comes from tread on a wet pavement) showing the Lincoln engineers really worked on audible intrusion into the cabin. This is partly due to active noise cancellation technology.

A segment of Lincoln Drive Control is an adaptive suspension damping that measures speed, steering angle and body movement to continuously adjust damping to requirements.

ALSO READ: Cadillac ATS Coupe challenges Germany’s best

Weighing in at 1,756 kg (3,871 lb) the Hybrid Reserve’s performance was more than adequate, but passing had to be well planned.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

However, on the way back with the AWD, the MKZ Reserve tracked well on the combination of two-lane blacktop and Trans Canada Highway with plenty of power for all surfaces.

Sight lines are good in spite of the highish windowsill line.

The quality of the panel fit inside and out is exceptional.

Both testers had the optional 20-speaker Revel Ultima Audio System that has to be heard to be appreciated. I noted the doors were specially designed to house the speakers.

Standard on the MKZ is the SYNC 3 infotainment system with optional voice-activated navigation.

Newly available to SYNC 3 are the Multicontour front seats with Active Motion. These heated and cooled seats has customizable air cushions adjustable for changing seat and back shapes or – get this – a gentle lumbar massage and dialed in by using the SYNC 3 centre touchscreen.

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

There is no doubt Lincoln is on the road to raising its profile to take its place with other premium luxury sedans with the 2017 MKZ and MKZ Hybrid leading the way.

ALSO READ: Fuel-sipping Sonata Hybrid a great ride

New MKZ turning Lincoln brand around

Lincoln MKZ, MKZ Hybrid 2017 

BODY STYLE: Mid-size premium sedan.

DRIVE METHOD:

MKZ, front-engine, all-wheel-drive

MKZ Hybrid, front engine, front-wheel-drive

ENGINE:

MKZ, 2.0-litre single turbo inline four-cylinder (245 hp, 275 lb/ft) with a six-speed SelectShift automatic

MKZ Hybrid, 2.0-litre Atkinson Cycle inline four-cylinder/electric motor (188 hp combined)

FUEL ECONOMY:

MKZ, 11.8/8.4L/100km (city/hwy)

MKZ Hybrid, 5.7/6.2L/100 km

CARGO CAPACITY:

MKZ 436 litres (15.4 cu ft)

MKZ Hybrid, 314 litres (11.1 cu ft)

PRICE: (Staring prices)

MKZ Select and MKZ Hybrid Select, $42,000

MKZ Reserve and MKZ Hybrid Reserve, $46,000 not including $1,900 shipping fee.

WEB SITE: www.lincolncanada.com

 

 

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