in 2013 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $27,678 - $29,380
Original MSRP: $35,925 - $37,815
MPG: 22 City / 33 Hwy
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2013 Lincoln MKZ Performance

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

Although the 2013 Lincoln MKZ offers a choice of two powerful engines, some reviewers say that it isn’t very fun to drive. Still, the MKZ earns praise from one auto writer, who says that its comfortable driving dynamics are in-line with competing sedans from Acura and Lexus.

  • "It's comfortably pleasant over long, straight roads, and not at all tiresome-in the context of comparably priced Lexuses, Acuras, Audis and Cadillacs, and not Bentleys. There's minimal wind noise, and generally good management of unwanted ambient noise." -- AutoWeek 
  • "As hard as the 2013 Lincoln MKZ tries to be cutting-edge, this Lincoln is remarkably ordinary to drive." -- Edmunds 
  • "It's no BMW 3 Series or Cadillac ATS, nor should anyone expect it to be, given its luxury cruiser leanings, but the suspension has a good amount of front roll stiffness and the steering has more weight to it than expected, though there's not much feel to it." -- Motor Trend 
  • "We liked the Lincoln Drive Control's Sport mode the best of the three choices (Sport, Normal and Comfort) as the other two settings were comparatively soft and sluggish. And yes, there is a noticable difference between each." -- Autoblog 

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 240 horsepower. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard, while all-wheel drive and a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine are optional. The EPA reports that the 2013 MKZ gets up to 22/33 mpg city/highway, which is better than most upscale midsize cars.

While the MKZ’s base engine offers as much power as cars like the BMW 328i, one reviewer says that it can sound unrefined at higher rpms. The optional V6 earns praise from one test driver, who says that it offers ample power in most situations. However, another critic writes that the V6-powered MKZ isn’t very exciting to drive. One reviewer says that the transmission is well-matched to the optional V6.

  • "The V-6 always pulls strongly, and there's a throaty roar from the twin exhaust outlets. A broad spread of torque helps to ensure that the six-speed automatic always seems to find the right gear." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "This 2.0-liter turbo is powerful enough for a car of the MKZ's cut, and reasonably exhilarating if you actually hold gears and exercise the manual-shift paddles on the steering wheel. But it gets buzzy up near its 6500-rpm redline, even with the high-tech digital sound processing." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Yet this is the least exciting 300-hp V6 in existence. There's no exhaust character of any kind, while the engine gathers power steadily with a corresponding increase in intake noise as you approach the 6,500-rpm redline. You'll never remember any of it tomorrow." -- Edmunds 
  • "Like most cars these days, the gearbox is chasing fuel economy so it takes a bit of coaxing to drop it into lower gears to induce thrust. There are paddles on the steering wheel (downshift on the left, and upshift on the right), but we never felt the urge to use them." -- Autoblog

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The 2013 MKZ is also available in a hybrid model, which has a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The 2013 MKZ Hybrid gets 38/37 mpg city/highway, which is above average for an upscale hybrid car.

Test drivers complain that the MKZ Hybrid’s gas engine can be noisy, but they say it has sufficient highway passing power.

  • "... in notoriously enraging Santa Monica traffic, we eased forth from a stoplight when the battery showed a 1/3 charge and the gasoline engine kicked in, noisily." -- AutoWeek
  • "There's generally enough passing power on the highway, too, especially if you plan ahead." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

While one test driver is pleased with the MKZ’s combination of a comfortable ride and balanced handling, other reviewers aren’t as impressed. The MKZ’s standard Lincoln Drive Control system can alter suspension and steering characteristics, but critics note that the Comfort mode gives the MKZ driving dynamics that are ponderous and floaty. One test driver says that the Normal mode is even worse, as it combines lackluster handling with a harsh ride. The MKZ also loses points for its vague steering feel, though one auto writer is pleased with its strong brakes.

  • "The Normal mode between these two extremes actually combines the worst of both, delivering a floaty ride even as the suspension crashes over road imperfections." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The ride/response balance was just about spot-on over the washboard that is Interstate 94. We'll need more sporting opportunities for definitive conclusions, but we can say with reasonable confidence that the MKZ is more willing to change direction quickly than any Lincoln before." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The MKZ's suspension is adjustable, and switching to the MKZ's Comfort mode does soften the ride. But it's at the sacrifice of composure. Suddenly it feels floaty over large bumps, while those tires are still crashing over the small road imperfections. This is extremely disappointing in an entry-luxury sedan in this price range." -- Edmunds 
  • "The brakes seemed strong for a street car, but steering feel was numb and missing feedback." -- Autoblog

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