Standard features on the 2011 Lincoln MKZ include leather upholstery, full power accessories, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power front seats, driver memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats, foglamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, a keyless entry pad, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Sync (includes voice controls, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, navigation assistance and 911 assist) and a 9-speaker stereo with a 6-disc CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The optional Navigation package includes navigation with a touchscreen display, a single-CD/DVD audioplayer, HD radio, 10GB of digital music storage and Sirius Travel Link as well as a rearview camera and a blind spot warning system. In addition, a THX-certified surround-sound system can be added to the Navigation package. Also available is the Ultimate package which includes the Navigation package, the surround-sound system, a sunroof (also a stand-alone option), adaptive xenon headlights, 17-inch chrome-clad wheels, ambient lighting and rain-sensing wipers.
There's also a Sport Appearance package which adds a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch polished alloy wheels, darker exterior trim, aluminum interior trim accents and contrasting seat piping, while the Executive package upgrades both the leather upholstery and interior trim.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2011 Lincoln MKZ is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that pumps out 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift control. The 2011 MKZ comes standard with front-wheel-drive, but also offers an optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that is able to transfer power from one side to the other as well as from front to rear.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the 2011 MKZ stands at a respectable 18 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway with a front-wheel model, while the AWD model is rated at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. In performance tests, an MKZ equipped with all-wheel-drive was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in a brisk 7.2 seconds, very much on par with this class.
Standard safety equipment for the new MKZ includes antilock brakes (ABS), traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, blind spot mirrors and Ford's MyKey system which allows parents to set a maximum speed limit and stereo volume for younger drivers.
Government crash tests for the 2011 MKZ had not yet been completed at the time of this writing. However, the 2010 model earned the highest rating of five stars in frontal-impact protection for both the driver and passengers. The 2010 MKZ also earned five stars for front occupants in side-impact protection and four stars for rear occupants.
The 2011 MKZ's cabin is refined, roomy and attractive, in fact, roomier than most of its rivals. The seating is also a plus, being comfortable and supportive both front and rear. The MKZ's trunk capacity is also quite generous, coming in at a very useful 16.9 cubic feet.
The standard Sync system is very highly regarded and provides a strong competitive advantage. And for those who have it in the budget, the Navigation package is loaded with high-tech and user-friendly goodies. The available THX-certified audio system is also a good one for those who place a high value on interior entertainment.
With its precise steering and healthy V6 engine, most drivers will be quite satisfied with both the ride quality and performance provided by the base 2011 MKZ. The overall drive is smooth and compliant, while the MKZ is still able to manage fairly tight cornering due to solid body control.
But for those who want more, the addition of the Sport package's sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels creates an added level of agility and fun not typically expected from a Lincoln. The tradeoff, however, is a somewhat rougher ride.
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2011 Lincoln MKZ:
MKZ, FWD: list price: $34,605, invoice price: $32,528
MKZ, AWD: list price: $36,495, invoice price: $34,285