2010 Lincoln MKZ Preview

FAST FACTS
  • New styling
  • Revised interior
  • Improved powertrain lowers 0-60 mph time to 7.1 seconds
  • New Sport Appearance package
  • More sound deadening material to reduce interior noise levels
  • New blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert
  • Next-generation Sync entertainment and communications system
  • Navigation system adds Sirius Travel Link
  • On sale spring of 2009

Introduction

Lincoln launched the Zephyr entry-luxury sedan for the 2006 model year as a gilded version of the Ford Fusion midsize sedan. The name changed to MKZ for 2007, when the car added available all-wheel drive, freshened exterior styling, and an exclusive, more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine. For 2010, the MKZ gets a mid-cycle update with substantially revised styling, quicker acceleration, an updated interior, and a new Sport Appearance package. New technology features include the next generation of the Sync entertainment and communications system, a navigation system with Sirius Travel Link, adaptive headlights, and a blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert. All-wheel drive (AWD) is still available for the 5-passenger Lincoln MKZ. The new exterior styling will include a larger split-wing grille, thinner wraparound headlights, a revised front fascia, and a new decklid with wider LED taillights. Inside, the MKZ gets a new instrument panel, a redesigned center stack, welcome lighting, and more sound deadening material.

Model Lineup

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ will be sold in only one well-equipped trim level with front- or all-wheel drive. Standard equipment was not announced at the car's debut, but we expect Lincoln to hold the line on standard features.If that's the case, all MKZs will come with leather upholstery; dual-zone automatic climate control; tilt/telescoping wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; heated and cooled 10-way power front seats; memory for the driver's seat and mirrors; 60/40 split-folding rear seat; power windows and locks; heated power mirrors; remote keyless entry; 6-disc CD changer; Sync communications and entertainment system; auto-dimming rearview mirror; compass; universal garage door opener; automatic headlights; fog lights; and 17-inch tires on alloy wheels. For 2010, the upholstery becomes Bridge of Weir leather, a soft, unembossed Scottish leather that is currently used in the Lincoln MKS. A new Sport Appearance package includes sport suspension tuning with stiffer springs and larger stabilizer bars; 18-inch polished alloy wheels; darkened grille and headlamps; contrasting upholstery piping; and unique interior trim.

Options for the 2010 Lincoln MKZ include adaptive high-intensity discharge headlights; navigation system with voice activation and Sirius Travel Link; rear backup camera; programmable ambient lighting; 12-channel, 14-speaker, 600-watt THX II sound system with 5.1 surround and a 10-gigabyte hard drive; and the new blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert. The ambient lighting system illuminates the front cupholders and front and rear footwells in one of seven colors. Sirius Travel Link provides real-time traffic data; weather data including current conditions and five-day forecasts; fuel price information at area gas stations; movie listings; and sports scores and schedules.

Hardware

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ will continue with the same 3.5-liter dual-overhead cam V-6 engine as last year, making 263 hp and 249 lb.-ft. of torque. However, Lincoln says the 2010 MKZ's 0-60 mph acceleration time will drop from 7.7 to 7.1 seconds due to drivetrain modifications. While the engine is no more powerful than before, it will benefit from better underhood heat management, and revised throttle and spark calibrations, the automaker explains. The standard 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift manual shift capability gets different shift calibrations with a quicker first-to-second gear shift. Expect fuel economy to stray little from the 2009 model, which gets 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway with FWD and 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway with AWD.

Safety

Standard safety features should remain largely unchanged for the 2010 Lincoln MKZ. If so, the car will include dual-stage front air bags; torso-protecting front side air bags; head-protecting side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitor; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control; and rear park assist. A rearview camera and the new blind-spot information system (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) will be optional. BLIS uses radar in the rear quarter panels to check the car's blind spots. When a vehicle is detected, the system illuminates an amber light in that side's exterior mirror. CTA helps drivers back out of parking spots. It uses the radar to scan for moving vehicles within three car widths of either side of the car. If it detects a vehicle, CTA warns the driver with a light in the appropriate outside mirror and sounds a beep.

Technology

Developed with Microsoft, Sync provides a hands-free link to cell phones and MP3 players through voice commands. It recognizes your cell phone's phonebook, can read incoming text messages through the stereo system and allows occupants to respond with one of 15 predetermined messages. When an MP3 player is plugged in, Sync charges it and has access to the complete playlist. Sync will also stream songs wirelessly from a source like a phone or MP3 player enabled with Bluetooth technology.

The new generation of Sync system adds 911 Assist which, in the event of an accident with air bag deployment, automatically places a call to the local 911 operator, provided a paired, operating cell phone is in the car. Drivers can cancel the call within a 10-second window and communicate with the 911 operator after the system plays a pre-recorded message. The new Sync system also offers the ability to request Vehicle Health Reports (VHRs). Preferences for the new Vehicle Health Reports can be set up at www.syncmyride.com, and customers can request the reports through the Sync system when a paired, operating cell phone is in the vehicle. The VHRs are sent via text message or e-mail, and customers can schedule vehicle service online. Owners can also have Sync prompt them to run VHRs at mileage intervals that coincide with their vehicle's maintenance schedule.