Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (2017)

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (2017)

Test Drive Notes Library
  • Pros

  • Based on the Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKZ is a large, good-handling, comfortable-riding luxury car that is certainly competitive with the Lexus ES. While it can’t match Lexus’ record of reliability, the MKZ is somewhat more fun to drive. It handles better, and still soaks up bumps as well.
  • The hybrid powertrain really boosts the mileage. In mixed driving, without being careful, we got close to 35 mpg. And Lincoln makes the hybrid available at the same price as the base, four-cylinder turbo gasoline version.
  • The MKZ does a great job of absorbing bumps and road imperfections. At the same time, the handling is still pretty tight. It’s a combination that leans a bit more toward isolation, but it’s not floaty, like the Lexus ES can be.
  • The interior has luxury car credentials. Materials are soft touch, and feel like good quality. The steering wheel is fat, leather-wrapped, and solid in your hands. The leather seats are good looking and comfortable. Lincoln did a legitimate job of signaling “you’re in a luxury car, Bub” when you get in and sit down.
  • Ford’s Sync 3 system has replaced the previous MyLincolnTouch atrocity. A big improvement, and no longer a reason to avoid buying this car.
  • Very good ergonomics overall (with one exception, see below). Straight-forward volume and tuning knobs, easy to understand and reach temperature controls. The interior is clean and simple, and it’s easy to find and use the controls you need.
  • When the car is using its battery mode, it’s very quiet. Road noise and tire noise are practically non-existent.
  • Optional safety equipment includes collision warning, automatic braking, and blind-spot monitoring.
  • Cons

  • The biggest downside of the MKZ is the coarseness of the hybrid's gasoline engine. You start off in battery mode, and you feel like you’re driving in a quiet luxury car. The car is nearly silent, with wind and road noise kept out. Then a few second later, as you accelerate, the gasoline engine comes to life and the cabin is filled with a coarse thrum of the four-cylinder engine revving with the continuously variable transmission. And the gasoline engine operates much of the time you’re driving. It kind of spoils the luxury car pretensions. Maybe Lincoln did everything they could to insulate you from the engine noise, but if they didn’t, they need to try harder. It’s something you’d accept in the more-everyday Ford Fusion in exchange for the great mileage. But would it bug you in your Lincoln? It bugged us.
  • We have not driven the MKZ with its two other engine options. There’s a new, 2.0 four-cylinder turbo and a 3.0 liter V6. We’d be interested to experience a non-hybrid version of the car and see what it sounds like inside.
  • Visibility. The A pillars (the pillars on either side of the front windshield) are thick, and because of the steep rake of the windshield, they’re long, too. So it seems like they’re always in the way. The styling of the MKZ results in pretty small window openings, so visibility feels limited.
  • We’re getting used to Lincoln’s gimmicky push-button shifter on the dashboard (to the left of the touch screen), but we don’t love it. First of all, it requires you to take your eyes off the road and find the button you want. They all feel the same. Plus, if you brace your thumb next to the touchscreen, to select something on the screen, it’s possible to shift gears by accident. We’d get used to it, but it doesn’t feel like an improvement.
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