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Lincoln MKZ Review - 2010

A Redesigned MKZ

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ has been updated with a vastly changed interior, new front-end styling and a revised drive train. The MKZ goes against entry-level luxury cars like the Cadillac CTS and Lexus ES 350 and is related to the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. The focus of the design team was to distinguish the MKZ from its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan relatives, and get the attention of entry-level luxury sedan buyers. The exterior has been revised with new front and rear fascias, highlighted by stretched tail lamps and smoother contours throughout.

The MKZ has been uniquely tuned for ride comfort. The rear suspension was changed in the lower control arm control point to move the roll center closer to the center of gravity, which improved the ride-handling characteristics. A hydraulic variable-flow steering pump changes the flow rate at lower speeds to give better response, improving the turning circle and easier parking efforts. The Lincoln MKZ's available all-wheel drive (AWD) system has been retuned for better traction and lower noise, vibration and harshness. Also new in 2010 is a sport version with sport suspension tuning with stiffer springs and larger stabilizer bars, 18-inch Euroflange polished wheels, unique grille, darkened headlamps, a decklid MKZ badge with a red 'Z' and an interior with contrasting piping and unique appliqués. Even on MKZs that don't have the Sport Appearance Package, the ride-handling balance is said to be improved. The new Lincoln MKZ also offers segment-exclusive features, including first-in-class Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), which makes navigating traffic and paring lots safer and easier. New technology features help Lincoln's new mid-size sedan stand out, too. They include: SYNC: The voice-activated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft; 911 Assist; Vehicle Health Report (VHR): SYNC gathers relevant information from the major vehicle control modules and packages diagnostic data into a usable format in a matter of minutes; Voice-Activated Navigation, which integrates several functions including voice recognition destination entry, climate control and SIRIUS satellite radio into one easy-to-use system, displaying them on an 8-inch touch-screen display; SIRIUS Travel Link; and a Reverse Camera System.

MKZ's Power

Like the 2009 MKZ, this year's model is powered by a 3.5L V-6 making 263 hp and 249 pounds-feet of torque. However, Lincoln says it revised the six-speed automatic's gearing to trim zero-to-60-mph acceleration times to 7.1 seconds compared to the 2009's 7.7 seconds. The six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission is standard on the 2010 Lincoln MKZ. The six-speed transmission allows for lower early gears for better acceleration and taller high gears for better highway mileage. Downshifts are locked out to protect the engine from over-revving. The enhanced overdrive cancel mode locks out the fifth and sixth gears, allows shifts at higher speed for more engine braking and downshifts for 'grade assist' functionality. The 3.5-liter uses a compact, lightweight dual-overhead cam valve train for peak power and smooth operation at high RPMs. This engine also incorporates intake variable cam timing to optimize valve timing for a smooth idle and an impressive broad torque curve with good power. For 2010, the engine and the MKZ itself is quieter.

Driving the MKZ 

With the standard comes a six-speed automatic transmission, SelectShift allows the driver to upshift at his or her discretion. Downshifts, Ford says, are locked out to protect the engine from over-revving. Reaching 60 mph in the MKZ is relatively quiet, thanks to the efforts of Ford engineers to reduce noise. The 2010 MKZ gets re-engineered resonators on the air-induction system, which alters the vehicle's engine sound. The MKZ has improved turning abilities, and it offers excellent city and highway handling. Sport Appearance Package that bundles sport suspension tuning with stiffer springs and larger stabilizer bars offers a sportier drive than other MKZs.

Cabin Features

Inside, MKZ's cabin reflects and even more upscale look, featuring more chrome, genuine aluminum and wood depending on the trim package, an all-new instrument panel, detailed touches including new welcome lighting, chimes, tuxedo stitching on luxury leather seats and Bridge of Weir leather. The world-renowned luxury leather from Scotland pioneered on the classic Lincoln Continental Mark II and used on the MKS, wraps the MKZ seats. Ambient interior lighting around the footwells, cup holders, door map pockets, door release handles, door and instrument accents and scuff plates - plus special 'Welcome' and 'Farewell' sequential lighting can switch between five color schemes. Standard features include heated and cooled front seats with 10-way power adjustments, an 11-speaker audio system and dual-zone automatic climate control. A THX-certified surround-sound stereo with 14 speakers is optional. A center channel speaker array features THX Slot Speaker technology, which allows for a wider sound image and better control of how music distributed throughout the vehicle's acoustically engineered cabin. In addition, the system features a 10 GB hard drive jukebox, allowing Lincoln owners to store up to 2,400 of their favorite music tracks. At 16.5 cubic feet, the MKZ's cargo area beats the ES (14.7 cubic feet) and CTS (13.6) by significant margins. Folding rear seats are standard, a feature Cadillac offers but Lexus doesn't.

MKZ Style and Design

For 2010, the MKZ's face combines the old MKZ's visor-like headlights and the larger MKS sedan's sleeker nose. From the doors back, not a lot has changed. The new MKZ also features Lincoln signature design elements, including the split-wing grille and thinner wraparound head lamps for a wider, sportier look. In back, the MKZ takes a cue from the MKX crossover, with long LED taillights that frame a large Lincoln insignia and the camera from the reverse camera system. The rear, which features a new decklid, features LED taillamps which accentuate the width of the car separated by the Lincoln star. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard. A Sport Appearance Package includes 18-inch wheels, a unique grille and darker headlights. At 190 inches long, the MKZ is just slightly shorter than the ES and CTS. Its 37.5-foot turning circle is a foot or two wider than either competitor, however.

Safety Features

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard. The MKZ's six standard airbags include side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows. BLIS, an optional blind spot warning system senses cars in the adjacent lane and warns drivers with an indicator light in the side mirror. SOS Post Crash Alert, which activates the horn, emergency flashers, automatically unlocks doors and turns on the interior/puddle lamps when an air bag is deployed, is included. The system activates the emergency flashers when a spinout is detected. The AWD system works in harmony with brake traction control to deliver more confidence to Lincoln MKZ customers. Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control keeps drivers in command as well. CTA uses the BLIS radar sensors to alert the driver of approaching traffic while in reverse and backing out of a parking spot. The CTA tracks up to 65 feet on either side of the vehicle and warns the driver through both audible and visual alerts.

2010 Lincoln MKZ Conclusions

Lincoln is a brand that is equated with elegant, modern design, unparalleled comfort, unrivaled features and top quality. And this is what consumers expect when they purchase a Lincoln. With the 2010 MKZ mid-size sedan, all qualities known to Lincoln are included. The 2010 Lincoln MKZ is built at Ford's Hermosillo (Mexico) Stamping and Assembly Plant and is in dealer showrooms now. Like its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan cousins, the Lincoln MKZ has received a complete overhaul for the 2010 model year. The MKZ has much-improved cabin quality, a well-executed navigation system, excellent safety features and cargo room, spring-loaded rear seats, and many standard luxury features. The 2010 MKZ will have an expected starting MSRP around the $40,000 range.

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