Lincoln has turned its attention to developing electric vehicles and flashy SUVs such as the all-new Aviator, but it still builds upmarket sedans such as the 2020 MKZ. Well, at least for now. While those looking for a sharp-handling entry-luxury car should keep searching; those who want a comfortable cruiser with desirable features and options should keep reading. Lincoln instills the aging MKZ with enough style to endear fans of the brand. It also offers all-wheel drive, a potent twin-turbo V-6, and a frugal hybrid version. The standard four-cylinder engine is unremarkable. Every 2020 MKZ is equipped with a cozy cabin and generous driver-assistance technology; we only wish the whole experience were as compelling as the automaker's other offerings.
What's New for 2020?
Lincoln is expected to discontinue the MKZ after the 2020 model year. However, the company makes small changes before its official send-off. The sedan receives new paint colors that include Empire Blue, Red Carpet, and Silver Radiance. These replace Blue Diamond, Crystal Copper, Ingot Silver, and Ruby Red. The Monochromatic package gets new 19-inch wheel designs and a body-color upper grille. Finally, Lincoln adds lane-keeping assist to its suite of standard driver assists.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Standard: $37,745
- Reserve: $43,495
- Hybrid Reserve: $43,495
Since we really like the MKZ's optional twin-turbo V-6, we have to choose the Reserve model. The engine upgrade costs an extra $3000 and all-wheel drive tacks on another $3000 if you want it. However, we're not fans of the latter's torque-steer tendencies, so we'd stick with front-wheel drive. That allows us to enhance the interior with the Luxury and Elements packages that together add the highly adjustable Multi-contour front seats with massage functions and heated/ventilated cushions. The combo also includes snazzier LED headlights and the 20-speaker Revel Ultimate audio system. The Monochromatic appearance package, which only comes in Infinite Black or White Platinum paint, is also required with those two selections. Although it brings black 19-inch wheels and body-color exterior trim, shoppers can skip those color schemes and keep the options by choosing among the other extra-cost colors.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
There are two gas-engine choices; there is also a Lincoln MKX hybrid. The base engine is a 245-hp turbo four-cylinder that will likely satisfy most buyers with both its good highway fuel economy and its easy power delivery. Hot-shoe drivers will appreciate the optional twin-turbo V-6 engine that makes 350 horsepower in front-drive models and 400 horsepower with all-wheel drive. With the V-6, the MKZ is hilariously overpowered and heavy throttle inputs tug aggressively at the front wheels (a phenomenon known as torque steer) in front-wheel-drive models; ordering all-wheel drive not only increases the engine's power output, it also reduces that sensation somewhat. The hybrid model is far less exciting—it comes with a non-turbo four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)—and in our testing, delivered a languid zero-to-60-mph time.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the front-drive, four-cylinder MKZ will earn 20 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Adding all-wheel drive doesn’t affect its city rating, but it does reduce its highway number by 2 mpg (29 total). The more powerful V-6 versions have estimates of 18 mpg city and 27 highway (front-drive) and 17/26 mpg city/highway (all-wheel drive). Those looking for the most efficient MKZ will want the hybrid model (front-drive only) that has ratings of 42 mpg city and 39 highway. While we've only tested an MKZ with the V-6 and all-wheel drive on our 200-mile fuel-economy route, it earned 26 mpg on the highway in that real-world test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside the standard MKZ you'll find a cabin that's nicely finished but no more special than what you'll find in a high-end Fusion. The standard front seats are comfortable and supportive, but the available Multi-contour seats offer truly luxurious levels of body coddling. However, they're only optional on top-of-the-line models with the Luxury package. Stepping up to the Reserve trim also adds the upscale features that make it worthy of the Lincoln nameplate, such as leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, ambient interior lighting, a power-adjustable steering column, a power-operated trunklid, and illuminated doorsill plates. The sedan's interior cubby storage is largely average, with the benefit of several cubbies in the center console. We managed to fit six carry-on suitcases in the trunk of the nonhybrid model. While we haven't tested the hybrid MKZ, its battery pack reduces trunk volume from 15 cubic feet to 11 cubes.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard across the range and comes with Lincoln's Sync 3 operating system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Reserve models come with integrated navigation and two extra USB ports on the back of the center console for rear-seat passengers. Those who spring for the pricier model also unlock the option to add the more sophisticated 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 MKZ earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it wasn't named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Lincoln also provides various standard and optional driver-assistance technology. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Lincoln's limited warranty matches most luxury competitors, and the company's powertrain coverage even exceeds rivals such as Audi and Volvo. While Lincoln only provides complimentary maintenance for its most glamorous models, the coverage does exceed what BMW offers.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for four years or 50,000 miles on Black Label models