First Drive- 2014 Lincoln MKZ, Redefined Class and Performance

by Tony West and Sommer Thornton
2014 Lincoln MKZ
2014 Lincoln MKZ

The Lincoln MKZ remains the reincarnation of the brand’s classic sedan. What was once a sophisticated automobile for seniors and chauffeured executives, is now a high performance luxury mid-size sedan. The 2014 MKZ is easily worth its $38k MSRP with its progressive design inside and out, and advanced technology for dynamic driving and infotainment. We reviewed the 2014 MKZ AWD fully loaded with a 3.5 liter V6 engine.

 

Remastered Sporty New Design

2014 Lincoln MKZ
2014 Lincoln MKZ

At first glance, the 2014 MKZ seems more athletic with its raked hood, long wheelbase, and low stance. The sharper hood opens up to a spacious interior and trunk. The sweeping roofline flows sharply to the split winged grille that seems slimmer than the 2013 model. The AWD 2014 MKZ has standard adaptive LED headlights and taillights. LED daytime running lights are optional.

2014 Lincoln MKZ
2014 Lincoln MKZ

Lincoln designers did a great job updating the Towncar and the Continental designs from back in the day into a sporty looking sophisticated sedan. The split-winged grille is throwback, but the 19 inch aluminum wheels are fresh. Dual exhausts  and the decklid spoiler are standard. Exterior colors like Sunset Metallic and Darkside match its stylish profile. Fans were impressed with the MKZ’s makeover and said it was a great improvement to previous production models.

 

Outstanding Performance / Class-Leading Efficiency

The MKZ’s powertrain is its major selling point. Where the interior left me wanting more, the performance excited me. The MKZ has a great EPA, enhanced dynamic driving and safety technology. The 2014 Lincoln MKZ offers two engines, the standard 2.0 liter Ecoboost engine and the 3.7 liter TIVCT V6 engine. The 3.7 liter DOHC engine is made with forged steel crankshafts and has intake variable camshaft timing and sequential multiport electronic fuel injection.

2014 Lincoln MKZ
2014 Lincoln MKZ

The Lincoln MKZ V6 boasts an impressive 21 mpg combined EPA (18 mpg city / 26 mph highway) for the AWD model and 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the FWD model. The V6 boasts 300 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.

The 2.0 liter Ecoboost 4 cylinder engine boasts 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque and an EPA of 22 mpg city/ 33 mph highway for the FWD model and 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway for the AWD model. Both engines are matched to a 6 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The V6 engine is matched to an electronic 6 speed automatic transmission with Selectshift and the 4 cylinder is matched to a 6F-35 automatic with Selectshift.

The MKZ was a refined beast on the road. Acceleration was powerful and pristine and torque delivery to all 4 wheels is phenomenal. The MKZ gets up and stays up. Standard Lincoln Drive Control manages suspension, steering, and noise control to deliver some of the most refined turbo performance of any sedan.

Lincoln Drive Control intuitively responds to demands on the road monitoring and auto adjusting continuously controlled damping, adaptable suspension, and electric power assisted steering for a smooth balanced ride at all times.

Continuously Controlled Damping gave the MKZ spectacular performance by reading the road every millisecond and fine tuning shocks and struts. CCD offers a Normal, Sport, and Comfort mode. The MKZ has a more relaxed driving experience in comfort mode for highway cruising, a more responsive ride in normal mode for city driving, and sport mode is a thrill ride.

In sport mode, the MKZ gets up like a sports whip and its sharp nose helps it slice through the wind. Cornering is tight and braking is on point. In any mode, the AWD MKZ, with its MacPherson strut front suspension and advanced multilink rear suspension is controlled and smooth over bumps, hills, tracks, rock, and any weather condition. The MKZ masters balanced turbo performance with class and efficiency. The MKZ also has standard electric power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and a push button start.

 

Progressive Understated Interior

The MKZ has a leather trimmed cabin with tons of comfort tech. Standard are heated leather front seats with a dope massage function. Heated rear seats are also available along with a stuntastic panoramic roof- a 15 sq. ft. glass, the largest of any current sedan.

2014 Lincoln MKZ interior rear
2014 Lincoln MKZ interior rear

Drivers use a cool 10 inch LCD instrument cluster that display gauges and a driver info display that shows settings for the windows, wipers, steering wheel, unit configuration, and MyKey controls. MyKey is a system for programming keys with driving modes, speed limit, and can also record settings for each driver. The driver info center is cool, but the digital shifter is not.

The MKZ saves space and adds distraction by replacing a traditional shifter with buttons vertically lined alongside the 8 inch touchscreen. The digital shifter is problematic because the park “P” button is next to the push button start. Without looking, I kept accidently shutting off the car while parking. The sweeping dashboard does look innovative but the digital buttons are more distracting than functional without the touch recognition or a vibrating function.

2014 Lincoln MKZ interior rear
2014 Lincoln MKZ interior rear

The rest of the interior of the MKZ leaves much to be desired. Aside from spaciousness, the interior looks boring, colors dull, and when shut off, loses its charm because there are no buttons. The center stack is all digital. There are no two-tone leather seats, no contrast stitching, no ambient lighting- just a touch a walnut wood applique on the steering wheel, dash, and the door trim. Premium soft leather, Lincoln’s renowned flair is now rough and hard. Dual zone climate control is standard.

2014 Lincoln MKZ massage function
2014 Lincoln MKZ massage function

Standard is an 8 inch touchscreen with MyLincoln Touch and an available THX 14 speaker audio system. MyLincoln Touch includes settings for climate, phone, navigation, and infotainment that features Sirius XM Satellite radio.

The sound system in the MKZ is pristine and powerful as expected. But the Park Assist function messed with the groove by turning down the radio when reversing- and beeping when the vehicle is near a curb.

 

 

Refined Safety Technology

Standard safety features include inflatable outboard rear seat belts, AdvanceTrac, Electronic Stability Control, ABS, Active Noise Control, Hill Start Assist, electronic power assisted steering, traction control, and adaptive suspension.

2014 Lincoln MKZ 8 inch touchscreen
2014 Lincoln MKZ 8 inch touchscreen

Available as part of the Preferred Equipment is the rearview camera with zoom and reverse sensing system, navigation system, Blind Spot Information System with cross traffic alert, and heated rear seats.

Optional safety features include Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping System, and collision warning. The Lane Keeping System almost felt like the MKZ was being pushed back to its lane. And the front and rear park aid was far too strict, beeping for everything within 5 feet of the whip while parking.

2014 Lincoln MKZ
2014 Lincoln MKZ

The MKZ is still a classic sedan with refined dynamic driving and an interior replete with comfort technology. A $38k MSRP isn’t bad for what the MKZ offers standard, but fully loaded at $58k is a tough pill to swallow. The new MKZ seems to have traded interior luxury for outstanding performance. Lincoln should add even more standard features, and beef up the luxury and infotainment to round out this new classic.

 

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