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2007 Lincoln MKZ AWD Review

The New Face of Lincoln?

Lincoln MKZ AWD

In short: A fine road sedan to lead Lincoln’s future.

With the exception of the Town Car, Lincoln’s large cars are gone. The Continental drifted away and the Mark series stopped count at VIII. This leaves the MKZ as the only other sedan in Lincoln’s lineup among a sea of SUVs.

Originally named Zephyr for its 2006 debut, the MKZ is the top rung of mid-sized sedans based on the Ford Fusion.

While its sheet metal is nearly identical to that of its siblings, the MKZ differentiates itself with a grille of vertical bars book-ended by slim, projector beam headlamps that create an elegant presence. Around back, large rectangular tail lamps mimic those of the Navigator, with the Lincoln emblem positioned in the center. Seventeen-inch, eight-spoke aluminum wheels finish off the MKZ’s handsome look, with its overall proportions and a stance that resembles the Acura TL.

Lincoln MKZ AWD Interior
Lincoln MKZ AWD Engine
Lincoln MKZ AWD Logo

Under the hood, once you get over the economy class prop-rod hood support, you’ll find a 3.5L, 24-valve Duratec V6 that is not shared with either the Milan or Fusion. Paired with a standard six-speed automatic transmission, the engine pumps out 263 horsepower and 249 lb.-ft. of torque – as close to a hot-rod Lincoln as you’ll get. Even with the available all-wheel drive system that adds 200 lbs, the MKZ accelerated quickly from a dead stop. Rolling accelerations from low speeds were another story, taking a few seconds to follow orders. Unlike other powertrains of luxury marques that require premium fuel, the MKZ runs on regular and does so economically. The trip computer tracked 27 mpg for a round trip dash from Detroit to Chicago, at an average speed of 66 mph. During city cruising, the MKZ netted 20 mpg.

The AWD adds mass, but significantly helps balance the car in aggressive handling maneuvers on dry pavement. The limits of grip are high, and the MKZ makes no complaints about being pushed. A well-tuned suspension shares the credit by keeping body motions and weight transfer to a minimum while delivering better than expected ride qualities.

The MKZ accommodates five adults and the rear seats fold down when cargo outnumbers passengers. The heated and cooled front seats were a $495 extra on our 2007 model, but that option is standard for ’08. The cooled seats alone should be signed into law. MKZ’s can be equipped with wood or satin metal interior trim pieces, but the latter looks less luxurious and causes distracting reflections. Fully adjustable seating makes quick work of finding a comfortable driving position but taller drivers might be placed slightly behind the B-pillar, restricting peripheral vision. The test MKZ also included a navigation system, but some directions caused suspicions that one of the programmers is nicknamed Wrong Way.

The MKZ is a nicely done package with only a few faults, which can be easily corrected. Side-mounted front turn signals could add a dose of safety and the fuel filler door on the test car wasn’t flush with the body panel. While most cars in this class have variable assist power-steering, the MKZ gets by with an old-style constant rate system. Releasing the trunk latch pops it open barely high enough to get a finger underneath to lift and there is no convenient pull-down, usually requiring two hands to close.

The MKZ is a relative bargain with a final sticker price of $35,640. It demonstrates what Lincoln can do to make a competitive luxury sedan with performance attributes. However, faults must be eliminated if Lincoln is to be considered among Lexus, BMW and Cadillac to regain the status it once had.

Read a review of the 2010 Lincoln MKZ

Lincoln MKZ AWD

Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000-mile basic; six-year/70,000-mile drivetrain; six-year/70,000-mile roadside.

Base Price: $31,820/As Tested: $35,445

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: AWD mid-size sedan

Engine: 3.5 Liter V6
Horsepower: 263 hp @ 6250
Torque: 249 lb-ft

Curb weight: 3,672 lbs
Wheelbase: 107.4 in
190.5/72.2/55.4 in
Turning circle: 40 ft

Brakes: ABS

Safety: traction control, front and side airbags

0-60 mph:
Top Speed: n/a

EPA City: 18 mpg
EPA Highway: 26 mpg

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Text: Chuck Arehart

(Updated: 03/26/09 SV)

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