Thursday, December 21, 2017



After going through a mid-cycle refreshing this year, the Lincoln MKZ will remain basically unchanged for the 2018 model year. which means that unless you are fanatical about having the “latest, newest” of everything, you could get into the entry-level luxury market at some savings by going with the 2017 MKZ.

In fact, you could probably go back to the first year of this, the second, generation (2013) and still get to enjoy the laundry list of features that Lincoln has built into this mid-size family sedan while keeping the MSRP in the mid-$35,000 range.

Or you can go full-blast with the top-of-the-line Black Label edition of the MKZ and get even more.

Black Label is a program Lincoln introduced to dial up the luxury for its top-of-the-line trims, upgrading interiors with higher grade leather and real wood trim and faux suede headliners and offering unique exterior colors and wheels. It was first introduced, appropriately enough for this review, on the 2015 MKZ.

Going with that option does add to the cost, of course, as the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label edition with all-wheel drive that I had for a couple of weeks carried a base price of $50,485 (including destination and delivery) with extras like the 3.0-liter V6 engine, a climate package,and a batch of technological features running the total to $61,765.

That’s not quite the bargain of the basic MKZ, but it’s still under what most of its competitors ask for with their top models.

Though the optional twin-turbo V6 engine delivers up to 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque (in all-wheel drive configuration; front-wheel drive models are limited to 350 horsepower) to enhance the driving experience, the MKZ is not so much about performance as it is cruising comfort. Frankly, that’s probably more in line with what many of us expect from the luxury class to begin with.

The combination of the V6 and AWD mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission results in somewhat disappointing fuel figures of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway, and 20 combined.

To compensate, it does run on regular 87 octane fuel. So, too, do models with the turbo-4 and the hybrid setup that are rated at 21/31/24 and 40/38, respectively. Many competitors in the segment demand premium fuel. Or at least recommend it.

The list of standard equipment for the MKZ includes that Alcantara headliner, dual exhaust with chrome tips, adaptive headlamps with signature lighting, dual zone electronic auto climate control, heated and cooled 10-way adjustable front seats with lumbar support, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote start, rearview camera, leather seats, and a voice-activated navigation system.

That's enough to satisfy most of your needs without even going into options.

I have seen the MKZ referred to as a “Baby Continental” but would take issue with that on a couple of counts.

One, when the MKZ was introduced in 2006 as Lincoln Zephyr, in homage to the Lincoln Zephyr models of the 1930s, the Continental had been out of production for about four years. By the time Lincoln brought the Continental back as a 2017 model, the MKZ was well into its second generation.

Also, though the Continental has numerous merits in its favor, calling the MKZ a “baby” anything demeans it unnecessarily. Yes it is slightly smaller than a Continental — at 193.9 inches long the MKZ is 7.5 inches shorter than the Continental and its wheelbase of 11.2 inches is 5.7 inches shorter — but it has a roomy feel about it.

Legroom in front is a generous 44.3 inches — about the same as that offered by the Continental — though the back is a more snug 37 inches compared to the 41. 3 in its bigger sibling, which can be a factor if you typically have a couple of adults riding back there.

Plus, I’ve never seen a Lexus EX referred to as a “Baby LS.”

What I liked about the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label: Getting the hang of the Sync 3 system for infotainment functions is a snap, and the 8-inch screen is easy on the eyes. Getting into the driver’s seat was easier than getting into the Continental with its front-seat side bolsters getting in the way. Styling is a matter of preference, but I like the MKZ’s exterior look.

What I didn’t like about the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label: A little more in the way of performance might be nice, as well as improved fuel mileage. Guess that’s a conflicting wish there. The trunk is roomy enough in non-hybrid models (15.4 cubic feet) but the configuration to accommodate rear speakers makes arranging storage loads a big tricky.

Would I buy the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Black Label? Yes. If you want a traditional, true luxury car without a luxury price tag the MKZ is worth a look.

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