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#7

in 2009 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,696 - $13,489
Original MSRP: $32,695 - $34,585
MPG: 18 City / 28 Hwy
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2009 Lincoln MKZ Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Lincoln MKZ is a comfortable commuter car with more than enough power for most everyday driving situations, but it doesn't match the athletic prowess of the leaders of this class. Its V6 is smooth, but lacks the brisk acceleration of some competitors, and its steering is more comfortable than sporty.

  • "It rides smoothly, handles well, accelerates with alacrity and comes well-equipped even in base form. However, much the same could be said of the Ford Fusion, on which the MKZ is based." -- Edmunds
  • "The MKZ has good power, but isn't really happy when pushed hard. The all-wheel-drive model has a firm grip on the pavement but the steering is pretty doughy and the suspension seems to react just slightly after you make an input, instead of delivering that immediate connectivity you find in a BMW or even a Cadillac." -- Autobytel
  • "When I hopped inside the 2009 MKZ for a quick drive, I was surprised. This sedan has not aged as well as the others. It was like running into an old acquaintance and wondering, 'What happened while you were away?'" -- Detroit News
  • The MKZ has "sufficient power for most any situation and are confidently strong in highway merging and passing. The transmission is generally smooth and prompt. Unlike virtually all rivals, however, MKZ does not offer a manual shift gate." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Lincoln MKZ is powered by a 3.5-liter 4V Duratec V6 engine making 263 horsepower. That's plenty of power for highway passing, though reviewers say it doesn't stack up to the power of more sport-oriented midsize cars. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, but it does not offer a manual-shift mode -- something most other cars in this class have. According to the EPA, fuel economy is estimated at 18 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway for the front-wheel-drive MKZ, and 17/24 for the all-wheel-drive model.

  • "The engine sounds and feels good, and while not as polished as Toyota/Lexus or Honda V6s of the same size, it's class competitive." -- Motor Trend
  • "Acceleration is more than acceptable for any reasonable task, including a quick merge onto a busy interstate, and it's satisfying just to feel the rush of power." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The six-speed automatic doesn't seem very eager to play. It has fairly languid upshifts designed for softness rather than sport feel, and won't hold lower gears when powering through turns." -- BusinessWeek
  • "We repeatedly caught the MKZ's tranny in too high a gear during our mountain drive, letting the engine loaf." -- Autobytel

Handling and Braking

The automotive press generally finds the MKZ's handling a bit behind the class leaders, with an abnormally large turning radius and awkward feel translated through the electrically-assisted steering. Its suspension is better-liked. Its brakes are not. An available all-wheel drive system is well liked for its confident road grip, but harms fuel efficiency.

  • "Steering feel is accurate but somewhat artificial and, for better or worse, isolated from the road. There's some noseplow and body lean in fast turns. AWD quells most torque steer and furnishes secure all-weather traction. A wide turning circle makes tight maneuvers a chore." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It handles well and rides comfortably but fails to impart the premium feel of other sedans at this price point." -- Edmunds
  • "The rack-and-pinion steering is quick, but my test car's steering had a slightly rubbery feel." -- MSN
  • Suspension "does a reasonably good job of shielding its occupants from broken pavement and poorly repaired potholes, but the engineers were clever enough to combine that ride with handling that is both reassuring and satisfying" -- New Car Test Drive
  • The AWD "system does a superb job of increasing control while working completely behind the scenes." -- Road and Travel Magazine
  • "The turning-circle diameter is an unusually large 40 feet, meaning you'll be backing and forthing a lot in tight parking spots." -- USA Today.

Next Steps: 2009 Lincoln MKZ

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