Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2019 Lincoln MKZ premium-midsize sedan makes a virtue of specializing in the luxurious while offering lots of standard equipment for the price. Now it includes a comprehensive array of advanced driver-assistance features. And doesn’t even charge extra for the hybrid version.
You'll Like The 2019 Lincoln MKZ If...
You believe a luxury car should be exactly that, not attempting to be too many things to too many people. This more finely focused approach in the new MKZ ought to win many fans.
You May Not Like The 2019 Lincoln MKZ If...
You’re a thrill-seeker. Look at the BMW 3 Series instead. Or the Audi A4, or Jaguar XE. Those drivers seeking profound comfort yet with an eye on strong resale values might also consider the Lexus ES 350.
Changes in the 2019 MKZ include a change of trim-level names to MKZ, MKZ Reserve I and MKZ Reserve II. The Climate Package is renamed the MKZ Reserve Plus package. A new Reserve Luxury package includes a retractable panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and an upgraded audio system. Standard-equipment levels also rise, including advanced driver aids.
After the car’s redesign for the 2017 model year, the MKZ’s cabin hasn’t opened to rave reviews. The quality of materials overall is not that impressive, although space is the main issue. For its size, the MKZ ought to have more rear headroom (made worse when the panoramic sunroof is installed), but at least rear legroom will suit the height of those happy to sit in the back. Up front, things are user-friendly and generally agreeable. That includes finding the ideal driving position and getting to know the Sync 3 infotainment system.
That redesign turned the new MKZ’s appearance into something closely resembling the Continental, Lincoln’s large flagship sedan. Which is no bad thing. This fresh styling vocabulary is sufficiently uptown to compete with Cadillacs, Jaguars and BMWs. There are new paint colors for 2019: Infinite Black Metallic, Ceramic Pearl Tri-Coat Metallic and Crystal Copper Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. The MKZ also has some simple yet smart features, such as the capless fuel-filler system that allows refilling without getting dirty hands or forgetting that pesky fuel cap.
The MKZ isn’t a mere Ford with a superficial makeover. Especially not when the optional 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 is involved, along with the adaptive suspension. This combination means premium-level muscle and luxury-level shock absorption. The optional all-wheel-drive system adds even greater ability by distributing power to whichever wheel or wheels have the most traction, bringing benefits in bad weather and fast corners alike. Things are noticeably more sedate with the standard 2.0-liter engine, despite its turbocharger. The feel of the steering system isn’t as substantial or precise as a BMW, for example, but not too different to those from Acura, Lexus and Volvo.
The 2019 Lincoln MKZ in base form starts at $36,995, which is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) plus $925 destination charge. All-wheel drive costs an extra $2,000. A well-equipped Reserve II version with all-wheel drive and the Luxury package can be in the region of $56,000. These figures put a new MKZ on par with the Lexus ES, but still less than a loaded BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4. While the majority of entry-level luxury sedans undercut the MKZ’s starting price, they don’t have the same level of standard equipment. To see what others in your area are paying for the new Lincoln MKZ, look at our Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. Regarding resale values, the MKZ trails most of its class by a few percentage points.
This is how the MKZ starts to look more tempting. There’s a lot of standard equipment, including an adaptive suspension, active noise cancelation, heated front seats, driver’s-side memory settings, rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and satellite radio. This is augmented in 2019 with the Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 array of advanced driver aids featuring adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and autonomous emergency braking. Each MKZ also comes with eight airbags, stability control, and Lincoln’s SOS Post-Crash Alert System that activates the horn and hazard lights if an airbag is deployed.
The new trim-level structure of the 2019 Lincoln MKZ means the V6 engine is not available in the Reserve I model. All-wheel drive can be paired with either gasoline engine, but the hybrid is front-drive only. The top Reserve II version receives a power moonroof, power rear sunshade, heated rear seats/steering wheel, multi-contour front seats with Active Motion (automatic bolstering), and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Revel Ultima 20-speaker audio system upgrade in the Reserve Luxury package is highly regarded among sound aficionados.
PUSH-BUTTON SHIFTSelecting Park, Reverse and Drive in the 2019 MKZ is not done with an old-school shift lever. It’s a case of pressing buttons on the dash. This is part of the MKZ’s “modern technology meets modern luxury” vibe. Working in the background is a failsafe system preventing inadvertent gear changes, should the driver hit a button by mistake.LINCOLN DRIVE CONTROLAlthough the MKZ majors in plushness, our inner enthusiast still likes this feature. Like many cars in this class, the MKZ offers selectable driving modes that change throttle responses, gearshift points, steering feel and suspension settings, channeled into Normal, Sport and Comfort. It works exactly as it should.
Under the Hood
Base engine for the 2019 MKZ is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit developing 245 horsepower, just about adequate for a car with this kind of heft. A hybrid alternative makes a combined 188 horsepower, but Lincoln doesn’t quote a total torque figure, which should be advantageous despite the extra weight of the battery pack and electric motor. The star performer, though, is the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. Both conventional engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission; the hybrid employs a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard; all-wheel drive (AWD), optional. 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4245 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm275 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg (FWD), 20/28 mpg (AWD) 2.0-liter inline-4 and permanent magnet AC synchronous motor (hybrid)188 net hybrid system horsepower129 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline engine only)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 41/38 mpg 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6400 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (AWD)350 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (FWD)400 lb-ft of torque @ 2,750 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (FWD), 17/26 mpg (AWD)
The 2019 Lincoln MKZ takes the idea of a premium-midsize sedan down a different road. While many rivals (mostly German) make a virtue of incorporating a sporty side, Lincoln puts the MKZ squarely in the cosseting camp. Not that the car’s composure breaks into a sweat when the corners arrive; this is built on the same excellent bones as the Ford Fusion, after all. A powerful V6 engine and all-wheel drive are also available. But smooth, silent, serene progress in a plush environment is the MKZ’s main selling point. The high level of standard equipment is another attraction, and Lincoln should be applauded for not slapping a heftier price on the hybrid version.