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Driven: 2017 Lincoln MKZ


Lincoln MKZ has been redesigned for the 2017 model year | Larry Edsall photos
Lincoln MKZ has been redesigned for the 2017 model year | Larry Edsall photos

You’ve just spent $53,405 on a luxurious sedan. You proudly drive it home and park it in your driveway. Except in the case of a 2017 Lincoln MKZ like the one I’ve been driving this week, you back it into the driveway, and back it as closely as possible to your garage door.

Your neighbors — one drives a Lexus, another a Chevy Tahoe and yet another something called a Genesis — walk over to see your new car. One finds the interior to be truly luxurious — worthy of a car that cost twice as much. Another comments on the handsomely prominent (and no longer winged) grille, the Palladium White Gold paint, the contrasting black roof with its large, panoramic sunroof, handsome exhaust tips, and even notes that instead of the typical shark-fin there’s a tastefully small antenna bubble at the base of the coupe-like rear roofline.

Badge tells others your luxury ride has a four-cylinder, albeit turbocharged engine
Badge tells others your luxury ride has a four-cylinder, albeit turbocharged engine

But then the other wonders why you backed your new so close to the garage door?

So you have to admit it. You opted for both the all-weather surefootedness of a luxury sedan with all-wheel drive as well as the frugality of the standard engine. Your neighbors all have V8s in their luxury rides. Instead, your Lincoln has turbocharged four-cylinder engine and you hoped no one would notice the “2.0” badging on the trunk lid, badging that you plan to remove as quickly as possible.

Not that the engine’s 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque (when you opt for 93-octane fuel) aren’t adequate for propelling your 3,900-pound mid-size luxury sedan, it’s just that you don’t really want to proclaim that your engine is no larger and provides even less power than one you can get in a year-0ld Ford Focus ST compact.

Besides, Lincoln doesn’t offer a V8 in the MKZ, though you could have opted for a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, tuned to provide 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. That’s V8-like performance, and at the cost of only 2-3 mpg and $4,000 in base sticker number (opt for the V6 with front-wheel drive and the added cost is only $2,750).

Regardless of your choice of powertrain, the Lincoln MKZ is redesigned for the 2017 model year.

Turbo four pumps out power, but on premium fuel
Turbo four pumps out power, but on premium fuel

“The new Lincoln MKZ is designed to appeal to those who are looking for something different in the luxury market,” Lincoln notes. “From the placement of technology features such as the push-button gear shift to reimagined interior spaces including the floating center console, drivers can relish in discovering an unexpected experience based on intelligent function and beautiful form that offers, above all, an enjoyable drive.”

The 2017 MKZ’s redesign is appealing, both inside and out. The push-button gear selector is a carryover from earlier Lincoln vehicles and takes some getting used to, but frees up real estate on the center console. And at least the gear buttons are positioned on the driver’s side of the center stack.

A new feature is an “auto hold” button on the adaptive cruise control system that “keeps the car at a complete stop without the driver having to press and hold the brake pedal — making stop-and-go driving more relaxing for MKZ owners,” at least for those with long enough arms to reach the button, which is on the passenger-side of the center stack.

The cars also offer such features as self-parking technology, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, Revel audio with specially designed doors to optimize speaker positioning, and, should you opt for the V6, dynamic torque vectoring for more agile cornering.

There’s also a new Lincoln Black Label themes that offer Chalet (inspired by “alpine beauty”) and Vineyard (“artisanal excellence”) as well as Thoroughbred (inspired by horse racing) trim features.

We didn’t get in as many miles as we might have preferred, but the car, even with a four-cylinder engine, was well-suited to a daily commute and seemed as if it would be a delightful place to enjoy a cross-country road trip.

With an attractive exterior, luxurious interior and more than adequate power, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ seems to offer more than you might expect for its sub-$50K price tag. And it’s up to you whether you want to keep the 2.0 badging on the back.

2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve AWD

Vehicle type: 5-passenger sedan, all-wheel drive
Base price: $41,400 Price as tested: $53,405
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 245 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm, 275 pound-feet of torque @ 3,000 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches Overall length/width: 193.9 inches / 73.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,900 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 20 city / 28 highway / 23 combined
Assembled in: Hermosillo, Mexico

2017 Lincoln MKZ has coupe-like profile
2017 Lincoln MKZ has coupe-like profile

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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