Best Bet
  • (4.6) 20 reviews
  • Available Prices: $5,866–$16,990
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 20-22
  • Engine: 263-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
2011 Lincoln MKZ

Our Take on the Latest Model 2011 Lincoln MKZ

What We Don't Like

  • Sport suspension's overly firm ride
  • Limited headroom
  • AWD's gas-mileage penalty
  • Low-grade parking-brake handle
  • Roughly finished sunglasses holder

Notable Features

  • FWD or AWD
  • New hybrid model
  • 263-hp V-6
  • Standard heated and cooled front seats
  • Optional blind spot warning system with backup camera

2011 Lincoln MKZ Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in August 2009 about the 2010 Lincoln MKZ. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2011, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

The MKZ is Lincoln's entry-level luxury sedan, but with its 2010 redesign there's not much that's entry-level about it. After driving the MKZ for a week, I'm impressed with its strong powertrain, premium interior and array of technology, but shoppers might want to think twice about the Sport Appearance Package, as its firm sport suspension seems out of place on this sedan.

Toothy Grille
The MKZ's styling is starting to grow on me. The front end is distinctive. It gets a new tooth-like grille for 2010, which bears a closer resemblance to models like Lincoln's MKS full-size sedan and MKT full-size crossover.

After you get beyond the grille — which I didn't really care for when I first saw the car at an auto show — the rest of the sedan is rather ordinary and looks a lot like its siblings, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan. Sure, it has different taillights that sweep across the trunk lid, but otherwise it's similar.

Ride & Handling
The optional Sport Appearance Package includes 18-inch aluminum wheels and a sport suspension, and the result is a notably firm ride — think all-wheel-drive Acura TL suspension tuning, not Lexus ES. Equipped this way, the MKZ faithfully tells you about all the rough patches in the road, whether you want to know about them or not. I suspect many buyers considering a Lincoln would prefer not to know about them — especially because there isn't sports-car-like handling to go along with the taut ride quality. I haven't driven an MKZ with the regular suspension and standard 17-inch wheels, but I suspect it offers better ride comfort.

Despite the sportier setup, the MKZ cruises smoothly on the highway when the pavement is good. The interior is quiet, though you start to hear a little wind noise when approaching 80 mph.

It doesn't take a lot of extra care to steer the MKZ — whether you're traveling country roads or the highway. The main reason is that the steering has a solid, weighty feel when traveling in a straight path that makes it easy to keep the car between the lines. This heft also prevents you from inadvertently jostling the wheel.

The MKZ's steering feel is different from what you'll find in a Lexus ES, which has well-greased, light-effort steering that's become synonymous with Toyota's luxury brand. The MKZ doesn't go that route, and I like it for that. Its steering is by no means too heavy, but the extra effort needed to turn the wheel makes you feel connected to the car in a way the Lexus can't match. Overall, the MKZ's steering feel and response are among its better characteristics.

V-6 Power
The MKZ's powertrain is another highlight. The 3.5-liter V-6 delivers strong acceleration; there's plenty of power to get you up to speed quickly and effortlessly. The large-displacement V-6 also offers plenty of torque at low speeds. Acceleration is accompanied by a satisfying growl, but you can't hear the engine at all when cruising on the highway.

The sedan's six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and kickdowns are easy to initiate by simply pressing harder on the gas pedal. The transmission now includes a clutchless-manual mode, which lets you control gear changes by nudging the console gear selector up and down. However, because the MKZ's automatic is good at what it does, you probably won't feel the need to override it.

The MKZ comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,890. It'll also cost you more at the pump, as the all-wheel-drive model gets an EPA-estimated 17/24 mpg city/highway, versus 18/27 mpg for the front-wheel-drive sedan.

The Inside
I'm not a fan of all-gray interiors, which seem drab to me — even more so than all-black designs — but that's what our MKZ had. Getting past my own preferences, however, let me appreciate a cabin with mostly good-quality materials and easy-to-use controls. However, low-grade plastic for the parking-brake handle, a roughly finished sunglasses holder and a sizable gap along the side of a storage-cubby door near the base of the center control panel stood out in the otherwise upscale cabin.

MKZs come standard with leather-upholstered, heated-and-cooled front seats. The seats are supportive and offer a good driving position, but my own seat started to get a little sore when the drive stretched to a few hours. My back didn't have any complaints, though.

The front of the cabin isn't the most spacious, and this is mainly because of the MKZ's low roofline, which limits headroom for taller occupants — especially with our test car's optional moonroof, which characteristically steals a little more space. At 6-foot-1, I didn't have much headroom to spare. Over-shoulder visibility when checking blind spots is good.

The rear bench seat is also finished in leather. It offers passable room for adults, but there's not much extra space. Taller passengers sit with their knees elevated, so there's not much thigh support.

A 60/40-split folding backseat is standard, with releases in the trunk to fold the backrests. Unlike many sedans that offer folding backrests, the ones in the MKZ are spring-loaded, so when you pull the release handle they're intended to automatically flop forward. That's what happens with the smaller backrest section, but not the larger one — maybe it's too heavy.

The downside is that it takes more effort to put the spring-loaded cushions back in place, as you have to fight that spring a little. In the end, you probably don't need a spring at all.

MKZ in the Market
Despite the MKZ's positive attributes, it's going to have a tough go of it in the market. The competition is strong and getting stronger; besides the aforementioned TL and ES, the MKZ is up against a redesigned Buick LaCrosse and the impressive Infiniti G sedan. Also, luxury cars are statement cars. Lexus stands for refinement, and Acura for the latest technology. I'm not sure what statement the MKZ makes, and I question whether it can cut through the noise and connect with consumers. It will be unfortunate if it can't, though; luxury-car shoppers will find a lot to like in the new MKZ if they take the time to give it a look.

Send Mike an email  


Consumer Reviews

(4.6)

Average based on 20 reviews

Write a Review

Good value for the money

by Debzman129 from Baltimore on May 17, 2017

Good car.Contemporary looks. Drives very smooth . Reliability has not been a problem. AWD makes this car very stable. Handles great in all conditions. Very roomy with good size trunk. Mileage could b... Read Full Review

Read All Consumer Reviews

2 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2011 Lincoln MKZ trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Lincoln MKZ Articles

2011 Lincoln MKZ Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Lincoln MKZ Base

Front
M
Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Lincoln MKZ Base

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Hip/thigh
G
Lower leg/foot
A
Overall evaluation
M
Retraints and dummy kinematics
M
Structure and safety cage
P

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
A
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
A
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
A
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
A
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Lincoln MKZ Base

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Lincoln MKZ Base

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 3 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,900 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/50,000mi

Powertrain

72mo/70,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

72mo/70,000mi

Free Scheduled Maintenance

48mo/50,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years