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Lincoln has always struggled, riding that fine line of premium and luxury when it came to their mid-sized MKZ. With the top trimmed Ford Fusion Titanium costing a mere $5000 less than the cheapest MKZ, the MKZ was therefore seen as a glorified Fusion with a prettier interior. However, as the MKZ rolls into 2017 with a revitalized outlook on luxury and technology, is it enough to stand out from its lower-class sibling?

Much has carried over into the new year – with the new Continental setting precedence, it was time to give the MKZ some nip n tuck to fit into the family portrait. It’s a look that is much more suitable to the brand, adding some Detroit class to its styling. The front received the majority of the overhaul getting a full nose job – the hood line has been raised with a more prominent grille and a new set of signature LED headlamps as part of $4400 Luxury Package that also includes an incredible 20-speaker Revel Ultima Surround Sound system. The MKZ now carries a bold, yet sensible attitude that leaves people questing what just drove by.

The MKZ is available in as many engine options as trim levels – Premier, Select, or Reserve with a choice of a 2.0-liter turbo-four, 2.0-liter Hybrid, or a gut-busting 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that produces an dumbfounding 400-horsepower – *gasp*. This of course doesn’t include the new Black Label, which is more of a package that comes with your own personal decorator and concierge service. But we’re sensible folks here, and so is Lincoln when they offered us the popular consumer choice, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder paired with an intelligent all-wheel drive platform.

In a car that weights nearly 4000lbs, before passengers, that’s a heavy burden for an engine no bigger than a milk carton. The 2.0-liter turbo here produces 245-horsepower, an increase of 5 more over the processors and in a run to 60 mph, it did it in just over 7.5 seconds – an ample figure. Despite the “Sport” button on the dash and the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, the six-speed transmission is as lazy as an old dog on a hot day. Steering wheel paddle shifters can add some amusement to a cars driving characteristics, however, here they they’re plastic-ie and have a cheap, tactile presence. So much so, Lincoln should do away with them altogether, considering their targeted consumer, it’s not likely they’ll be used any way.

Thanks to its intelligent four-wheel drive system, hard acceleration alleviated any torque steer one may see in a front-wheel drive car. An added bonus if we lived in a snowy climate. Under normal driving conditions, the MKZ never hesitates to be a confident cruiser – turbo lag went unnoticed and when push came to shove, it had no problem overtaking other motorist.

The MKZ isn’t ideally a sports sedan – if you want sporty, look closer to the German contenders. The MKZ moto is all about providing a luxurious atmosphere. The steering has a nice overall feel and heaviness in its motions – when it comes down to stimulation however, it’s about as stale as a two day old donut. The suspension at most seemed confused half the time, one minute it’s a subtle, quiet ride that floats along, until our massaging seats were rudely interrupted with harsh abrasive feedback when a large bump in the road didn’t get out of our way. Never interrupt a man’s massage.

Plenty of leather, wood and soft touch materials fill the cabin for an upscale luxury feel – the general findings of any luxury car. Finding comfort is never a difficult task here, our cappuccino leather interior with 18-way contouring seats and memory feature allowed us to set our perfect comfort levels. The leather seats are some of the softest seats in the business with heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats as part of the $695 Climate Package that also included a heated steering wheel. Rear passengers on the other hand will find subtle complaints with rear leg room and headroom thanks to the $2395 Panoramic Sunroof option and sloping roof line. The Pano roof is, however, one very special feature, sliding all the way back over the rear glass, opening up one heck of a view from the cabin.

Luxury and Technology these days go together like a kitty cat and a laser pin. There’s plenty of technology found in the MKZ for its middle aged consumer to turn to their kids for guidance. For a more airy, spacious flow, Lincoln uses a push-button gear select to help save space and clean out the clutter – it’s a nice intuitive concept. The new SYNC3 software is one of the easiest systems to use, which has come a long way from what it used to be – it now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for excellent user functionality over your smart phone while driving.

Our top trimmed MKZ Reserve came with a host of standard safety features like Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Detection and an auto-dimming driver side mirror. Springing for the $2395 Technology Package adds a new level of safety with Adaptive Cruise Control that will come to a complete stop, Pre-Collision Assist, Enhanced Park Assist, Lane Keeping System, and Rain-Sensing Wipers. We love autonomous capabilities, especially Stop and Go proficiency of the adaptive cruise control that we take advantage during bumper to bumper traffic; however, the steering assist became too much of a struggle for us constantly fighting the wheel for control, even when we indicated to change lanes.

The Lincoln MKZ is something special – you won’t find another luxury mid-sized sedan that will greet you when approaching with LED lights the way Lincoln does. At $53,405 as tested, the MKZ gave us mixed feelings compared to Lexus GS 200t, Audi A6 2.0T, and Genesis G80. Perhaps the 400-horsepower 3.0-liter twin turbo V-6 might persuade us differently.

**Note: This vehicle was a pre-production, some of the final kinks may have been worked out for the final production.

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 2.0T AWD: $41,400
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $53,405
Performance Specs:
2.0-liter Turbocharged Four-Cyldiner – 245-Horsepower, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±7.5 seconds
EPA MPG: Pre-Production figures not available – SSB Average:  19.4 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±350 Miles