“2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve HEV FWD”
Lincoln’s MKZ sedan was initially launched in 2005 as a 2006 model building upon the luxury division’s standard set by the legendary Lincoln Zephyr. A hybrid version appeared in 2013 as a 2014 model, powered by a 2.0 liter Atkinson Cycle inline four-cylinder engine. The 2017 Lincoln MKZ HEV benefits from several functional and design improvements, making what was a good car even better.
The Lincoln MKZ HEV is an exceptionally good looking vehicle that bears a strong resemblance to today’s modern Jaguar design cues – especially up front with its Jag styled grille that replaces the split wing waterfall grille. The new MKZ is not inexpensive either, which may be a bit offsetting to some, since it is essentially based on the Ford Fusion’s platform architecture.
Enhancements include: Refined comfort with new seats featuring Bridge of Weir luxury leather from Scotland; a quiet cabin; suspension uniquely tuned for a balance between comfort and handling attributes; better engine performance with more control and no loss of fuel economy; and innovative safety and convenience technologies. There’s also a cabin air filter to remove respiratory irritants and toxins caused by traffic and industrial pollution; available Adaptive HID headlamps that rotate according to speed and steering inputs for greater visibility; available rain-sensing wipers, which activate when windshield moisture is detected; armrest clamshell storage and leather- wrapped steering wheel with genuine wood accents; Easy Fuel™ capless refueling available Blind Sport Information System® with Cross Traffic Alert; available reverse camera system; THX® II Premium Certified Audio System with 5.1 Surround Sound; available Voice-Activated Navigation System with integrated SIRIUS® Travel Link™; Lincoln SYNC™ with 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report .
Power for the MKZ HEV comes from a 2.0-liter, HEV, DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with Gasoline Direct Injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing that produces 188 net system horsepower at 6,000 rpm along with 129 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It is transversely mounted up front and gear power to the front wheels through an electronic Continuously Variable Transmission Powersplit (CVT). The gas engine works in conjunction with a Permanent magnet AC Synchronous 88 kW electric motor, 1.4 kWh lithium Ion 35 kW High Voltage battery.
The MKZ joins the flagship MKS sedan and MKT crossover with distinctive design elements, which include varying interpretations of the new grille.. The grille is flanked by thinner, wrap-around headlamps that generate a wider, sportier appearance. The MKZ’s, chamfered front fascia shares a family
resemblance with the Lincoln MKS, featuring a sculpted hood and ridges that flow into the A-pillar. The rear sports an integrated decklid spoiler with fully horizontal LED taillamps, that further accentuate the car ‘s width.
Inside, the Lincoln MKZ’s cabin reflects an even more upscale look with genuine aluminum and wood along with a sweeping, full-width instrument panel, complete with the Lincoln signature push-button gear shift that contributes to a sense of spaciousness while creating storage space in the center console where a traditional gearshift would ordinarily be. Detailed touches include new welcome lighting, chimes and tuxedo stitching on luxury leather seats.
Safety gear includes: a steering column design that provides an
optimum level of energy absorption; Dual Stage Air Bags and Additional air bag inflation levels provided by incorporating a variable time delay between the 1st and 2nd stage output; Enhanced Occupant Classification System – Front passenger seat sensor identifies three states of occupant classification: empty seat, child presence and adult presence.
My test 2017 Lincoln MKZ HEV came in Reserve trim and was in the Front-Wheel Drive configuration. The exterior finish was done in White Platinum metallic, while the interior was executed in Ebony leather with aluminum and wood accent trim elements. The base sticker was set at $39,510., while the Equipment Group 600A, the White Platinum paint finish, MKZ Technology, MKZ Luxury Packages, MKZ Climate Package, Multi-Contour Seats and Destination and Delivery charge. Bumped the final sticker to $49,215. before tax, license and federal, state and local tax credits.
SUMMARY: I still have an issue with Lincoln’s 2017 lineup of vehicles in the alpha-designation of their models – there’s MKX, MKS, MKZ and MKT, which is genuinely confusing. Dealing with model variations is what I do, but I must sympathize with the consumer who doesn’t deal with such matters on a daily basis. Mind you, Lincoln isn’t the only guilty party – BMW and Mercedes-Benz deliver the same level of confusion with their alphanumeric monikers.
Okay, ‘nuff said about model nomenclature, let’s move on to state that the MKS is a very desirable four-door mid-luxury HEV or Hybrid sedan. It is attractive, and performs well. The CVT transmission works more smoothly than most.
Ride quality is firm enough to be sporty and compliant enough to be quite comfortable, and the handling characteristics lean to the sporty side of the chart, and an auto hold feature keeps the car at a complete stop without having to press and hold the brake pedal – great for heavy stop and go commute traffic, and there’s an available enhanced park assist that utilizes ultrasonic sensors to help the MKZ seamlessly steer itself into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot. It can also assist with park-out as needed. As with other Ford Hybrid products there is a green leaf display that grows with efficient driving habits alomg with readouts for battery charge level, distance on EV power only, regen miles and a braking score.
The MKZ HEV serves up a complete menu of driver assist technology, safety features and infotainment and connectivity choices.
The MKZ falls just below the flagship MKS in Lincoln’s hierarchy, but the HEV version may prove to be the better choice for many as it makes for a stylish, luxurious, yet economical form of transport.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve HEV FWD
Base Price: $39,510.
Price as Tested: $49,215.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, HEV, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged inline four-cylinder with Gasoline Direct Injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing.
Horsepower (bhp): 129 @ 4.000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 188 @ 6,000 rpm
Electric Motor: Permanent magnet AC Synchronous 88 kW motor, 1.4 kWh lithium Ion 35 kW High Voltage battery. Transmission: Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Powersplit (HF 35)
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with aluminum control arm, coil springs and stabilizer bar; Continuously Controlled Damping.
Rear – Advanced integral-link suspension with coil springs, gas-pressurized shocks and stabilizer bar; Continuously Controlled Damping.
Brakes: Power-assisted standard four channel. Four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, AdvanceTrac ESC and electric parking brake.
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4 245/40 R19 mounted on satin finish, 7-short/7-long spoke machined aluminum alloy wheels with premium painted pockets.
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length Overall: 194.1 inches
Width: 83.3 inches with mirrors / 73.4” W/O
Height: 58.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,828 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39 ft.
Towing Capacity: Not recommended.
Fuel Capacity: 16.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 38 mpg city / 37 mpg highway / 38 mpg combined.
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.