Posts tagged Lincoln MKZ
Last month I got to take the 2017 Lincoln MKZ out for a drive around LA. The day started with a lunch at Broken Spanish, a hip spot near the Staples Center where Chef Ray Garcia reimagines classic Mexican dishes with a modern touch. The folks at Lincoln wanted to make sure we were all properly fed before testing out the MKZ, and fed we were. Calabacitas tamal, campechana, ensalada verde, ensalada rusa, birria, ridiculously tasty guac, tres leches cake – you get the idea. It was almost too much, but nothing could go to waste. Even after I hit capacity, the grub was too good to pass up.
During lunch, I met Solomon Song, the Exterior Design Manager for the MKZ. When Song spoke to the group, he introduced himself by saying “I’m a little quirky.” I found his quirkiness entertaining and his passion for design refreshing. Song described the amount of detail that went into designing the exterior of the MKZ, which was first introduced in 2013. From the refractive quality of the headlamps (which were inspired by crystal chandeliers and vases) to the need for “quiet luxury” (an appreciation of the finer things that embraces understatement and shies away from in-your-face swagger), Song spoke about the MKZ like a proud parent.
“Treat it like a rocket ship,” he said, where every detail is a painstaking decision but function leads the way. Song spoke of the human to machine interface that really defines the driving experience. He also stressed his focus on depth as a core point of design emphasis. He highlighted the tight radius in the front of the car flowing into the bigger radius in the back – pleasing lines that he likened to a well-tailored suit. While most of the media folks in attendance powered through course after course at Broken Spanish, Song sat down with a pen and produced MKZ sketches for everyone. The proud parent’s joy was on full display when Song sketched out the familiar lines of the MKZ from memory.
Song’s partner in crime is Tom Ozog, the Chief Program Engineer for the MKZ. As Song put it, Song gets to come up with the concepts, like a retractable glass roof, and Ozog has to figure out how to execute it. Continuing with the “quiet luxury” theme, Ozog underscored the isolation from outside noises in the cabin as a core part of the MKZ experience.
“Quality is quietness,” Ozog explained. He encouraged all the folks who would be testing out the MKZ to pay attention to this important feature. Ozog also emphasized the exterior design, overall craftsmanship and the “effortless performance” of the driving experience as distinctive features of the new MKZ.
After the good eats and introductory chats, it was time to hit the road. My destination was Hammer & Nails, a manicure/pedicure salon for men located in West Hollywood. I’ve never gotten a manicure before, so that was an interesting bit of man-pampering that I got to experience. If you’re a guy and you need to up your hand/food grooming game in a chill environment with cool people, check em’ out.
The 2017 MKZ Reserve AWD was my ride for the day. It came in Magnetic Grey Metallic with an Ebony Leather interior. As advertised, the overall luxury look-and-feel of the car definitely came with a dose of subtly. It’s clearly in the luxury class, but it doesn’t need to try too hard to flaunt this distinction. The outside lines are pleasing and display a certain depth, something I was keen to look for after chatting with Song. The interior cabin is a like a tastefully designed living room. Nothing gaudy. No gold and marble. Just cozy and comfortable with a touch of class.
The MKZ had a few features that I knew I had to test out. The first was Auto Hold, a system that allows you to remove your foot off the brake when the car is idle. I was initially hesitant to activate this feature, as I can be pretty absent minded and clumsy at times. After working up a bit of courage, I gave it a go. It’s the type of feature that you wouldn’t think is really necessary. I’ve been leaving my foot on the brake when idle my whole life, so I never thought about active foot pressure being an inconvenience. After flipping the switch though, I never went back. It’s a subtle indulgence that may seem unneeded, but being able to chill at a red light and adjust your comfort level without having to worry about the brake is really quite nice. There’s no hiccup when you want to press the gas and go. It’s all pretty seamless.
Another feature that I was keen on testing was the Active Cruise Control. I’m not really a big cruise control guy. I get that it can be convenient for long road trips, but just like using my foot to control the brakes, I’m pretty used to actively driving cars without assistance. With Lincoln’s ACC, the cruise control senses traffic slowing ahead and reduces your speed to maintain a preset distance automatically. Your cruising speed resumes when traffic has passed, which is nifty. AAC also includes forward collision warning with brake support. This feature flashes a heads-up display to warn you of potential impact and even pre-charges/increases the sensitivity of brake assist to provide a more responsive braking situation if you’re about to smash into someone.
Any review of the MKZ wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of the Revel Audio System. The MKZ comes in 14 and 20 speaker options. I’m glad I got the 20 speaker Ultima setup. I just got back from Spain so I was keen on bumping some tunes that I picked up at the Rastro. Like this record. Pairing my phone up to the Revel Audio System was super easy, and I was blasting travel tunes in no time. The sound system really is a major selling point here, especially with the overall quietness of the cabin helping to isolate the sounds you actually want to hear. No matter what seat you end up in, you’re going to get a crisp, rich audio experience in this ride. It also helped that the redesigned control panel was as intuitive as advertised, allowing me to jump from Spotify playlists to the navigation map with ease.
There’s a lot to like about the new MKZ: the understated luxury, the signature grille, comfort and quality sound for all passengers, clean lines, a fully retractable panoramic glass roof. You can’t argue with 41 city/38 hwy/40 combined mpg from the 2.0L Atkinson-Cycle I-4 Hybrid Engine either. It’s the little things that go a long way with this car, and with releases like this, it’s easy to understand why Lincoln is experiencing double-digit growth in year-over-year sales.
While the Fusion remains one of the standard bearers of the mid sized sedan category, it faces increased competition from all sides. Traditional segment customers are flocking to crossover SUV’s while the more well heeled continue to be enticed by the comfort and high tech offerings of luxury brands. It’s this market sweet spot that the 2017 Platinum Fusion takes aim at, combining the steady style of the 2nd generation Fusion and the luxury of the Lincoln MKZ into the highest level Fusion available.
Bold on the Nose, Mellow on the Finish
Ford stuck with their wildly successful 2013 redesign with a few subtle additions. Chrome trim is everywhere, most notably wrapped around the headlights and now signature oval shaped grill. The Platinum benefits from the sharp accents of LED head and tail lights and the 19” wheels give the car a stout and bold profile. The front quarter angle allows the car to really shine, showcasing the premium sport grill and the strong lines down the sides. The dual exhaust and slight flare on the trunk help finish the design with character and flow.
A Steady and Capable Drive
Though the 2017 model year will offer a Fusion Sport Trim level (325-hp twin-turbo V-6!!!), the Platinum Model is not engineered for overt performance. The drive is smooth, utilizing continuously controlled damping technology to adjust the shock absorbers to current road conditions. This allows the suspension to be firm in the corners without rattling your jaw every time the tires find a bump. The “S” mode creates a more aggressive shift that can be controlled by paddle shifters on the wheel and does provide a noticeable difference in performance. Steering is responsive and provides good driver feedback while the 2.0L Ecoboost engine proved capable in negotiating freeway on ramps and passing lanes.
Inside it’s Time to Shine
This is where you stop and say whoa.
The interior of the Platinum is not what you expect from a Fusion, not one bit. Glove soft leather is mended with big attractive stitches and diamond shaped patterns on the seats and door panels. The steering wheel is hand wrapped in supple leather that is equal parts luxurious and functional. The slightly bolstered seats promise hours of driving comfort with their deep cushion and firm support. Chrome trim is tastefully applied throughout the cabin and useful space is prominent. The dial shifter frees up space in the center console for two cupholders and easy to access device storage. The minimalist design of climate and media controls proved to be as functional as it is modern, giving the dash a clean and uncluttered look.
Don’t Sleep on the Technology
Ok first things first and if you’ve read our reviews you know this is a big one.
The new Sync 3 software is hands down the best infotainment interface we have seen in a car to date. Its simple and intuitive layout knocks all other suites out of the water. Finally gone is the clunky and frustrating Microsoft powered Sync system, the Sync 3 wins because everything is easy to find, easy to touch and right where you think it should be. The strip at the bottom of the screen provides constant access to Audio, Climate, Navigation, Phone and Settings. It features the smartest and fastest phone pairing process to date, and buttons large enough to touch while you’re paying attention to the road. It requires no learning curve for the reasonably tech savvy and enough RAM onboard to switch between menus with little to no lag. Simply put, the Sync 3 is now our new standard bearer in infotainment software.
Outside of that, the Platinum offers an automatic parallel and perpendicular park that is actually useful in real life applications, rear cross traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and a lane keeping system that helps to keep the car between the lanes if it starts to drift. Heated and cooled seats continue the luxury, as does a power moonroof and a 12 Sony speaker audio system.
Smashing the Line Between Economy and Luxury
Ford’s newest offering to the Fusion line hits all the marks of a mid sized sedan while raising the bar on the segment’s highest trim levels. From the curb, the Platinum refreshes and accents the successful Fusion design but it’s on the inside that really counts. With premium luxury and class leading comfort, the Fusion Platinum comes a whisper away from joining a new class entirely. The late summer addition of the Fusion Sport will join the Platinum in rounding out a full slate of styles for most types of mid sized buyers. If the goal is to surprise and coddle, the 2017 Platinum hits all the marks. Whether it has enough to slow the tide towards crossover SUV’s remains to be seen.
2017 Ford Fusion Platinum
231 hp 2.0L Ecoboost Engine
6 Speed Automatic Transmission
0-60 in 6.7 seconds
As we are approaching the end of 2015 we get the chance to check out the new car models for next year. It doesn’t matter if you have been naughty or nice this year. You can still get the car of your dream soon. The new Lincoln MKZ combines intuitive technology, effortless performance and distinctive design to deliver an enhanced driving experience Lincoln calls quiet luxury.
The new Lincoln MKZ is designed to appeal to those who are looking for something different in the luxury market. From the placement of technology features such as the push-button gear shift to reimagined interior spaces including the floating center console, drivers can relish in discovering an unexpected experience based on intelligent function and beautiful form that offers, above all, an enjoyable drive.
The Lincoln Experience is brought to life through the available Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine, as well as intangible elements like the quiet cabin provided by the Active Noise Control system.
Features that make the new Lincoln MKZ a haven of refined comfort include curated spaces for storage, the availability of three Lincoln Black Label interior packages with exclusive, personal in-home design consultation, available fully retractable panoramic glass roof, and concert-quality Revel® audio with specially designed doors for optimal positioning of the speakers.
The new Lincoln MKZ is designed to make the drive ride easier and more enjoyable. Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality automatically can slow the car, resuming higher speeds when traffic clears. The system activates the brakes automatically to bring the car to a complete stop if the driver fails to apply brakes in time.
An auto hold feature keeps the car at a complete stop without the driver having to press and hold the brake pedal – making stop-and-go driving more relaxing for MKZ owners. Available enhanced park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to help Lincoln MKZ seamlessly steer itself into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot. The car can assist with park-out as needed.
Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection is an available technology that can help avoid some frontal crashes, or lessen the severity of such events.
An all-new, Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter GTDI V6 leads available engine choices for the new Lincoln MKZ. When paired with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, the twin-turbocharged engine produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque2 for effortless performance and refinement.
Dynamic Torque Vectoring part of an available Driver’s Package for MKZ with the 3.0-liter engine, enhances cornering agility without compromising ride comfort, helping drivers enjoy a smooth, seamless experience. The new Lincoln MKZ provides a hybrid alternative as well; and a 2.0-liter GTDI, 245-horsepower2 four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive.
Available Lincoln Drive Control allows drivers to adjust among three drive ride modes – comfort, normal and sport. The system includes continuously controlled damping, and electric power-assisted steering to provide comfortable, confident handling.
The Driver’s Package for Lincoln MKZ with 3.0-liter V6 also includes 19-inch wheels, Ebony-painted calipers, light Magnetic-painted grille, Ebony interior with carbon fiber appliqués, customizable multi-contour seats and aluminum pedal covers. In addition, the package features retuned continuously controlled damping and suspension for enhanced driving dynamics. The new face of Lincoln is highlighted by available adaptive LED headlamps that help deliver cleaner, clearer lighting for drivers, complemented by the all-new one-piece Lincoln signature grille.
Inside, engineers paid particular attention to the sound and feel of new switches and dials that replace slider adjustments for easier control of ventilation and audio functions for new Lincoln MKZ customers. Commonly used buttons and USB ports are now even easier to access.
Two all-new Lincoln Black Label themes, Chalet and Vineyard, as well as Thoroughbred, deliver desired uniqueness and options paired with luxurious materials. Lincoln MKZ’s available fully retractable panoramic glass roof offers the largest open-air roof among sedans.
The new Lincoln MKZ goes on sale in summer 2016.