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2013 Lincoln MKZ AWD Review By John Heilig

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2013 Lincoln MKZ 2.0 AWD

By John Heilig

Model: 2013 Lincoln MKZ AWD
Engine: 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4
Horsepower/Torque: 240 hp @ 5,500 rpm/270 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
Length x Width x Height: 194.1 x 83.3 x 58.2 in.
Tires: P245/40R19
Cargo: 15.4 cu. ft.
Economy: 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway/21.7 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 17.5 gal.
Curb Weight: 3,874 lbs.
Sticker: $45,000 (est.)

The Bottom Line: The all-new Lincoln MKZ is smooth, as you’d expect a Lincoln to be. You’d also expect it to be powerful, and it is. But you wouldn’t expect it to have a little four-cylinder engine under the hood. Even with the four-banger, the MKZ delivers everything you could ask for in a luxury full-size sedan.

I know it doesn’t seem fair, but with most of my test cars, the vehicles are delivered to my home. This is a nice perk, and a definite step up from when I began testing cars more than 40 years ago. Then, my employer at the time wondered why I took such long lunch hours every week.

But with Lincolns, it’s back to the old days. With these vehicles I take a bus to New York, pick up the car and drive home. Then I drive it back to the city and take the bus home. Occasionally, my wife and I can throw a theatre trip in there at one end of the test.

When the Lincoln MKZ appeared in the garage at Manhattan Auto, Ford’s mega-dealership in NYC, it looked “standard” Lincoln – luxurious, big and, of course, shiny. Driving it to the Lincoln Tunnel and out of NYC was a minor challenge at midday, and I was soon on the Interstate headed home.

I liked the power of the MKZ. It did everything I wanted it to do insofar as acceleration was concerned, and that’s a critical virtue in Turnpike and Interstate driving in the metropolitan area. I also noticed that the economy was pretty good – more than 25 mpg on the on-board computer readout.

It wasn’t until I checked the specifications that I noticed my MKZ was powered by a 2.0-liter FOUR CYLINDER engine. This has to be the first four banger ever in a Lincoln. But there’s no way you would know it unless you checked. The engine has all the smoothness of a six cylinder and all the power I would need. A six or eight would be simply wasting gas.

As one would expect, nay, DEMAND, from a Lincoln, the ride is quiet. Almost no road noise intrudes into the cabin, although highway departments do their best to make road quality as bad as possible to test this feature. On asphalt, the MKZ can lull you to sleep with its silence; on concrete, there’s some road feedback, but it still isn’t bad.

Power from the engine reaches the wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Front-wheel drive is standard, but our tester had all-wheel drive. The gear “shifter” threw me for a loop for a while. Instead of a floor-mounted shifter or a stalk attached to the steering column, the MKZ has a pushbutton selector mounted on the dash between the instrument panel and the radio. Since it also has pushbutton start and stop, my little mind got confused every now and then, but by the end of the test I had it down pat. It does make you think every time you shift, which is probably a good thing.

I used the paddles on my favorite hill climb test and they worked fine. Again, the engine didn’t behave like your normal four-cylinder.

The MKZ is equipped with very good audio and HVAC systems. However, the volume control and the fan speed control are both sliding switches on the dash that I didn’t find easy to use. Fortunately, there is a volume switch on the steering wheel.

Another nice feature in the MKZ is inflatable seat belts. In an accident (we didn’t have any, but I trust the literature) the shoulder harness in the rear seats inflates to protect those passengers who don’t have the benefit of air bags. This feature makes the belts a bit harder to insert into the receiver, but it’s a worthwhile difficulty.

Hit the remote unlock from the key fob and puddle and courtesy lights make entry a bit easier. The MKZ also has a huge sunroof that my granddaughters loved. They wanted the sun to shine in and asked me to open it often, but it was cold that week.

Normally I’m not a big fan of lane departure warnings. I find them intrusive, and while they serve a purpose, to me they’re more of an annoyance. In the MKZ the LDW gently nudges the car back into the lane if you tend to drift. At first, I thought the car had a tire or steering problem, but then I figured it out and I liked it.

The MKZ also has my favorite warning devices; blind spot warning, a rear video camera with turn indicators, and cross traffic alert. It also has hill start assist, which I got to work for the first time in a car. With HSA, you don’t have to keep your foot on the brake when the light turns green and you’re on a hill. You can take your foot off the brake and go to the accelerator without the car obeying the law of gravity and meeting the car behind you.

I like the styling of the Fusion-based MKZ. It is a full-size car but doesn’t overwhelm with its size. The car has nice conservative lines that identify it as a Lincoln, especially with the angel’s wings front grille. Pricing was unknown at the time I drove the pre-production MKZ, so I made an educated guess as to the sticker.

2013 The Auto Page