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2013 Lincoln MKZ

11:07PM - 07.12.'12

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Lincoln – pardon us, the Lincoln Motor Company – assures us that Ford is committed to its success. The awkwardness of the statement (which feels vaguely like your mother telling you that she loves and supports you regardless of what everyone else thinks) was hard to escape when we recently spent a few days with the all-new second-generation 2013 Lincoln MKZ.

Launched earlier this year at the 2012 New York Auto Show, the MKZ is a midsize premium sedan that shares platforms with the Ford Fusion (also all-new for 2013). The sedan's primary competitors, according to Lincoln, include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS and Lexus ES Series sedans – each an established, accomplished player.

But Lincoln sees opportunity in the segment. They feel that today's customers, with values shaped by the recession, are open to new brands and experiences. Shoppers are seeking unique products and experiences (e.g., a more intimate dealer relationship) to substantiate the additional cost of a premium vehicle. With Ford firmly supporting its back, Lincoln is betting its future on product design, quality and an improved ownership experience. The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is a real looker, especially when compared to its bland predecessor (launched as the Lincoln Zephyr for the 2006 model year, but renamed the MKZ after a refresh for 2007). The new sedan is sleek – almost futuristic – with distinctive styling that includes a sweeping roofline, taillamps that stretch across the rear façade, a new interpretation of Lincoln's split wing grille and fresh LED illumination. Overall, the look is clean and memorable. Even the "baleen" grille (our word, not theirs), which saw us raising our eyebrows on other Lincoln models, integrates surprisingly well here.
Similarities between the MKZ and Fusion are mostly hidden from view.
Even though they share mechanicals, the similarities between the MKZ and Fusion are mostly hidden from view. The wheelbase is the same (112.1 inches), but the Lincoln is 2.4 inches longer (194.1 inches), .1 inch taller (58.2 inches) and half an inch wider (73.4 inches, excluding mirrors) than its relative. Interestingly enough, it is longer than the A6, 5 Series, CTS and ES as well.

The interior is also noteworthy. Lincoln has ditched its characterless past and gone with a sweeping cockpit highlighted by a flowing instrument panel with a standard touchscreen display. While the primary instrument cluster retains its analog speedometer and tachometer, the traditional shifter and mechanical parking brake have been replaced with flush buttons and switches to allow increased storage. The look is spacious in appearance, pleasing to the eye and clean.

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