2018 Lincoln MKZ

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MSRP: $35,605 - 49,880

2018 Lincoln MKZ Review

The 2018 Lincoln MKZ is a practical luxury sedan that delivers a comfortable ride and has high safety ratings. However, its cabin and its driving dynamics are duller than rivals', which is why it finishes near the bottom of our luxury midsize car rankings.

7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.1
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 6.8
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

 

  • Many standard features for the price
  • Relaxing, quiet ride
  • Both gasoline engines are peppy
  • Fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain available for no extra cost

 

 

 

  • Cabin materials aren't as luxurious as some rivals
  • Back seat tight for adults
  • Laid back driving dynamics 

 

 

Is the Lincoln MKZ a Good Car?

The MKZ is a pretty good car, but there's not a lot to get excited about. It has plenty of standard features, good safety scores, and good predicted reliability. On the downside, many competitors are more fun to drive and have more upscale interiors.

Should I Buy the Lincoln MKZ?

The Lincoln MKZ has a lower starting price than just about every class rival, making it a decent value despite its low class ranking. However, it also has a relatively low level of luxury that corresponds with its price. If you are interested in the MKZ, make sure you shop around first. Front-wheel-drive rivals like the Acura TLX and Lexus ES are attractive alternatives.

Compare the MKZ, TLX, and ES »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lincoln MKZ?

The current generation of the MKZ began with the 2013 model year. There was a refresh for the 2017 model year that included updated styling, a new base engine with 5 more horsepower (but slightly worse fuel economy) than the previous base engine, and a new optional twin-turbo V6 that puts out 50-100 more horsepower (depending on whether you get FWD or AWD) than the old available nonturbo V6. For 2017, the MKZ also added the SYNC 3 infotainment system and driver drowsiness monitoring.

After the 2017 refresh, the 2018 model sees no significant changes. If you're open to buying a used vehicle, you can likely save money by getting a 2017 MKZ instead of a 2018, even though they're nearly identical cars. You'll probably save even more by purchasing an older MKZ, but you'll miss out on the updates. 

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Lincoln MKZ and the 2017 Lincoln MKZ. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 MKZ »

We Did the Research for You: 38 Reviews Analyzed

Simplify your new car search and find everything you need to know about the MKZ in our comprehensive review. Our 2018 Lincoln MKZ review combines the opinions of 38 professional test drivers with information on safety features, performance specs, fuel economy, and much more.

This Lincoln MKZ review includes applicable evaluations and data from all years of the current generation, which spans the 2013 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars, a segment of U.S. News & World Report, has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. Our staff of editors, writers, and analysts draws from more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry to create our rankings. To ensure objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from automakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Lincoln MKZ Cost?

The Lincoln MKZ is one of the least expensive luxury midsize cars you can buy. Prices start as low as $35,605 and reach close to $50,000 for the top trim level with all-wheel drive. In addition to the base model, the MKZ comes in the Select ($38,500), Reserve ($40,170), and Black Label ($47,990) trims.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

Lincoln MKZ Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lincoln MKZ or Ford Fusion?

The Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ are relatively close in build quality, sharing a number of parts (the MKZ and Fusion share many components), but the Ford has a lower price tag. In fact, the price of the Fusion's top trim is not much higher than the base MKZ’s. The Fusion also delivers an engaging driving experience, which isn’t the case with the MKZ.

Which Is Better: Lincoln MKZ or Lexus ES?

The Lexus ES is a solid pick for luxury sedan shoppers with a family. The cabin provides the look and feel you expect from a luxury vehicle, and the rear seats have enough room for adults to ride comfortably. On top of that, the ES has high safety and reliability scores, making it a pragmatic choice.

Which Is Better: Lincoln MKZ or Acura TLX?

The Acura TLX doesn’t have a user-friendly infotainment system, but there are few other reasons to complain. Both rows of seats are roomy enough for adult passengers, though tall people might want a smidge more headroom, and the well-built cabin features premium materials throughout.

Compare the MKZ, ES, and TLX »

MKZ Interior

How Many People Does the MKZ Seat?

In the five-seat MKZ, the best seats are in the front. These have lots of settings (10-way adjustments are standard, and upgraded seats have adjustable air cushions and a massaging feature), so you can easily find a suitable driving position. That's not only a plus for comfort but also visibility, which is hindered by thick roof pillars. A pair of adults can ride in the back seat as long as they don't mind their knees riding against the seat in front of them.

MKZ and Car Seats

Every seat in the back of the MKZ has a tether anchor, and the hardware is clearly marked and easy to use. The two outboard seats also have lower anchors that don't require much muscle to use, though the hardware is mounted deep in the seat cushions.

MKZ Interior Quality

Interior styling is mostly about personal taste, and the overwhelming opinion on the MKZ is that it's nice but not as nice as a Mercedes-Benz. Some of the trim pieces feel flimsy. The quality of the materials improve as you climb the trim level ladder, bringing perforated leather seats and inlays made of real wood or carbon fiber.

MKZ Cargo Space

The nonhybrid MKZ has a 15.4-cubic-foot trunk. That's one of the biggest in the class, with significantly more room than a Cadillac CTS or Acura TLX. The shape is a bit narrow, however, which can be limiting when you're loading rigid suitcases. A split-folding rear seat and an available power trunk lid add convenience.

MKZ Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

For the most part, the SYNC 3 infotainment interface is easy to use. If you don't like the built-in media interface, you can circumvent it by connecting your smartphone and using your favorite music apps through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (both are included). Two USB ports come standard, with another set of USB ports and a household-style outlet on the options list. Save your money when it comes to the available 20-speaker Revel sound system. Its quality is spectacular, but the base 11-speaker sound system is also excellent.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

MKZ Performance

MKZ Engine: 3 Powertrain Options

Most drivers will be perfectly content with the base engine: a turbocharged four-cylinder that's enjoyably punchy. For those who prefer an extra dose of oomph, Lincoln offers a twin-turbo V6. A hybrid powertrain with a four-cylinder engine is also available.

MKZ Gas Mileage: From Average to Outstanding

If you want to keep your fuel costs low, pick the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (which doesn’t cost extra). It gets 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, which is excellent for a luxury midsize sedan. The standard engine is closer to the class average, with a fuel economy rating of 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

MKZ Ride and Handling: At Home on the Open Road

The MKZ is a perfect highway cruiser. Its handling is just what you expect (and want) from a comfort-biased sedan, and very little noise disturbs the cabin. The suspension keeps things smooth and body movements in check. However, the MKZ isn't very athletic overall.

Read more about performance »

MKZ Reliability

Is the Lincoln MKZ Reliable?

The 2018 MKZ has a slightly above-average predicted reliability score of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Lincoln MKZ Warranty

Lincoln covers the MKZ with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

MKZ Safety

MKZ Crash Test Results

The 2018 MKZ has a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earned perfect scores for every side crash test and four stars for its overall frontal crash rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest rating of Good in all five crash test categories.

MKZ Safety Features

Standard safety equipment in the MKZ includes rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Lincoln also offers adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, front parking sensors, parallel and perpendicular parking assistance, lane keep assist, a driver alert monitor, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Read more about safety »

Which Lincoln MKZ Model Is Right for Me?

For 2018, the MKZ comes in four trims: Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label. Each trim comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and you can opt for a hybrid powertrain for no extra cost (a rarity for hybrid models). A twin-turbo V6 engine is also available in select models for $2,750. Every trim comes standard with front-wheel drive; you can upgrade to all-wheel drive for around $1,900.

Among luxury cars in this class, the MKZ Select is a great value. It comes with the accoutrements most people want in a premium car, such as leather seats, upscale touches like wood trim and ambient lighting, and lots of charging ports for your devices (including a household-style outlet). At $38,500, the starting price of the Select trim still falls significantly below the median price for this class.

Lincoln MKZ Premiere

The base MKZ is dubbed the Premiere trim. This $35,605 edition comes with synthetic leather seats, the SYNC 3 infotainment interface, an 8-inch infotainment display, 11 speakers, Bluetooth, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats with lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a proximity key with remote start, push-button start, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera.

Lincoln MKZ Select

Standard features in the MKZ Select include leather upholstery, two rear-seat USB charging ports, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, wood trim, ambient lighting, and auto-dimming power-folding side mirrors. Prices start at $38,500.

Lincoln MKZ Reserve

The $40,070 MKZ Reserve includes perforated leather seats, a voice-activated navigation system, heated and cooled front seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a power trunk lid.

Lincoln MKZ Black Label

The MKZ Black Label is as exclusive as it sounds. Inside, Venetian leather seats and a 20-speaker Revel audio system are sure to impress your guests. But what really sets this trim apart is the attached member privileges. Services like complimentary car washes and detailing and an extended maintenance warranty are among its perks.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

See 2018 Lincoln MKZ specs and trims »

The Final Call

From the front seats, the Lincoln MKZ is a comfortable cruiser, treating you to a serene, smooth ride. You'll have no issues staying entertained, thanks to treats like Android Auto and a first-rate sound system (both standard). This luxury sedan is also a good value and an appealing choice if you want to stick with an American brand (though the car is built in Mexico). Before you jump on board, you should know that there are a number of rivals that make a more exciting vehicle for about the same price, including the Lexus ES and Acura TLX.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If you're shopping for a luxury sedan that gives you a lot of features for your money, or if high fuel economy is a priority, we think the 2018 Lincoln MKZ is worth checking out. Otherwise, you might find some rival luxury sedans are more appealing overall." -- Edmunds
  • "Because the MKZ is not on the same performance tier as the Cadillac CTS, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, we wouldn't recommend it as a luxury-sport-sedan choice. If you don't need all-wheel drive, the hybrid model offers the best value. It brings all the opulence, amenities and soft ride of the standard MKZ but also returns excellent fuel economy that's far superior to its nonhybrid rivals." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "Although no slouch in the curves, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan isn't designed for the BMW set, but rather for those who appreciate a luxury sedan that delivers a smooth ride, a silent cabin and powerful engine. The MKZ feels more exclusive than a Lexus ES 350, more distinctive than a Cadillac ATS and more affordable than a loaded Mercedes-Benz C-Class. However, an Audi A4 or a Volvo S60 is certainly a more appealing competitor with a more substantial pedigree." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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