13LincolnMKZ 14

New York: 2013 Lincoln MKZ

13LincolnMKZ 14

Today, there are just two brands at the Ford Motor Company – Ford and Lincoln. This focus has enabled the Ford brand to survive and thrive with some of the best products it has ever had. Fords today are mostly recognized at being at the top of their respective classes – too close for comfort with their Lincoln counterparts. With the new 2013 MKZ, Ford is aiming to change that. Lincoln is getting a complete makeover and a huge investment by Ford.

“The new Lincoln MKZ represents the future of Lincoln in both style and substance….it is proof of our commitment to deliver a new breed of Lincolns for a new generation of Lincoln clients – motor cars that are distinctive, elegant, full of technology and a delight to own.” says Jim Farley, Group Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales and Service.

13LincolnMKZ 16

The car’s design motif inside and out is organic, with flowing lines. The 2013 MKZ follows the look of the concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January very closely. The exterior shares no body panels with the 2013 Ford Fusion. The MKZ is the first product to be styled by a dedicated team in Lincoln’s unique Design Studio.

For the first time in a long time, Lincoln has a dedicated design studio and separate staff working on its products. These are the steps it needs to take in order to become a world-class luxury brand again. Two defining elements of the MKZ’s exterior are the horizontal-slat grille and the full-length LED rear taillights. This marks a return to a familiar, and distinctive Lincoln design trait. Inside, the flowing lines continue with the center console. You might notice the lack of a shifter. What’s old is new again – Lincoln is offering a push button shifter with buttons on the dash.

13LincolnMKZ 05

Some might think its gimmicky but it saves on console real estate and is a neat feature. That is what luxury is all about, isn’t it? Mainstream cars are increasingly rising to high levels of refinement and feature sets, and luxury manufacturers need to do more to make their products be set apart.

Three engine setups will be available on the MKZ. Ditching a V-6 on the base model, the base 2013 MKZ will be powered by a standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost. At 240 horsepower, Ford says it will deliver V-6-like performance while having segment-leading fuel economy at least 3 mpg better than the nearest competitor. We aren’t sure what Lincoln is defining the MKZ’s competition as being – certainly not cars like the BMW 3-Series. Optional is a new 3.7-liter V-6 producing 300 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The third option is the 2.0-liter EcoBoost combined with a hybrid drivetrain that offers 41 city mpg and 36 highway mpg.

We still wish it was rear-wheel drive, but we doubt that will matter much to the MKZ’s buyers. The question is will this do the trick for Lincoln? One thing we know for sure -it certainly is the best product to come out of the brand since the original Lincoln LS.