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2020 Lincoln MKZ Review

  • Hybrid edition
  • Potent twin-turbo V-6 option
  • Standard active safety features
  • Dated interior design and materials
  • Lackluster standard engine
  • Not long on value
  • The MKZ Hybrid is refined and affordable, and saves enough at the pump to justify its cost.

The 2020 MKZ can’t match Lincoln’s SUV glamour, but they can’t match its hybrid gas mileage.

As luxury brands issue new SUVs with abandon, cars like the 2020 Lincoln MKZ get overlooked. 

With the MKZ Lincoln still offers a solid value in premium sedans, one with potent powertrains. But the MKZ’s interior never has shone, and it never delivered on the promise so extravagantly on display in Lincolns from the Aviator to the Navigator.

We give it X out of 10 overall.

For 2020 the MKZ gets some package shuffling and a few new options, including five packages on different trim levels from convenience features to monochromatic styling. There are also four new colors to replace four outgoing hues, as well as two new wheel designs.

The MKZ is a handsome sedan at any angle, and though the face is in line with the rest of the Lincoln stable, it’s hard not to separate this car from its roots as a Ford Fusion when viewed in profile. Still, details like chrome accents, LED headlights, and a sleek rear light bar are nice touches, if dated at this point. The interior hasn’t aged as well, with a center-stack-focused design that doesn’t wear the finery of even some non-luxury sedans.

A 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 245 horsepower is standard on the 2020 MKZ, while a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 bumps that figure up to 400 hp, more than enough for a car of this size. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available (and comes standard with the more powerful engine). The MKZ is automatic-only, and comes in hybrid from too, managing 40 mpg combined from just 188 horsepower. At around $36,000, it’s a compelling option if efficiency is priority number one. The MKZ rides with a firmness that’s moderated by adjustable dampers in some versions. While not particularly sporty, V-6 MKZ models can hustle with reasonably nimble attitude.
Standard features abound, and with active safety technology, power features, a touchscreen infotainment system and more, the MKZ is best looked at like a nicer mid-size sedan than a budget entry-luxury car. Top trim models include real leather and wood, as well as premium audio and all sorts of convenience goodies, but at over $10,000 more than base, it’s short on value.

The MKZ performs well in crash tests and comes with active safety features such as automatic emergency braking as standard, and manages between 20 and 24 mpg on average, while the hybrid model pushes that to 41 combined mpg.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is sharp on the outside but shows its age inside.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ looks the part of a luxury car with sleek lines and classy chrome and LED touches, but its age is showing. We give it 6 out of 10 for styling.

The MKZ’s roots are easy to see in profile. It’s a dressy Ford Fusion, though that’s not a negative. The MKZ’s fastback roofline and chiseled fenders still render crisply like those of the Fusion, while they manage to look completely distinct. Sharp LED lights and chrome touches like the Lincoln family grille set the MKZ apart.

The MKZ’s interior hasn’t aged as well. A symmetrical center stack and dated dashboard design look nearly a decade old at this point, and while the pushbutton shifter and metal-trimmed knobs are nice touches, the MKZ’s cabin isn’t up to snuff compared to rivals. Top-tier models include wood and leather, but luxury appointments can only go so far.

For 2020, a few new paint colors and wheel designs join the fold, as well as a “monochromatic” package available only in black or white paint.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ has plenty of power with an optional engine, but is best used on long, straight drives.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ offers three different engine options, each of which has its merits. We give it 6 out of 10 in this category for ample power and impressive efficiency, but lack of any sporting behavior.

Like most entry-luxury cars, the MKZ comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbo-4. in the MKZ the base engine makes 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Though the numbers are competitive, the raspy inline-4 doesn’t feel up to snuff in relation to competitors, and the standard 6-speed automatic is sluggish to respond through the front wheels. 

A 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 is available and pushes output to an impressive 400 horsepower and plenty of grunt. All-wheel drive is standard with this powertrain (it’s optional with the base engine), and while roadholding is improved, the MKZ won’t fit most drivers’ definition of “sporty.”

The highlight of the MKZ’s driving experience is its comfortable ride, particularly with adaptive dampers, and quiet cabin. It’s a sedan which is best used as a highway cruiser.

An MKZ Hybrid model is available, and while combined horsepower sits at only 188 hp, the 41 combined mpg rating is its own recommendation.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Lincoln MKZ dresses a bit downscale for its job interview.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is plenty comfortable, but that’s about where the luxury car comparisons end. We give it 6 out of 10 here for its supportive front seats and quiet cabin.

The 2020 MKZ has well-sculpted front seats and a fair amount of interior space, but it’s not as space-efficient as some sedans in its class—and its fit and finish is a half-step behind.

Despite its luxury badge, the MKZ feels like a mid-size sedan playing dress-up inside. Finer leather and wood trim are available, and metal-trimmed switchgear is a nice touch, but the MKZ’s humble roots shine through in the cabin’s sub-par plastic trim and dated appearance. Some mainstream badges do a better job of conjuring a luxurious feel—the Kia Stinger, for one.
A 10.1-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, as well as 11 speakers and 10-way adjustable heated front seats, but the MKZ isn’t as convincing an entry luxury sedan as many of its competitors.

Trunk space is ample at 15.4 cubic feet, however, but the sloping roofline impedes on rear passenger headroom enough to make long journeys for tall adults a cramped affair.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ has earned good good crash-test scores and comes with active safety technology.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ doesn’t have updated crash test scores just yet, but we can assume from last year’s tests that it will continue to be plenty safe as nothing major has changed. It gets a 7 out of 10 here.

The NHTSA gave last year’s model five stars overall. The IIHS on the other hand saw fit to give the MKZ “Good” scores all around minus “Marginal” and “Poor” ratings for the two headlight options. That locks the MKZ out of the Top Safety Pick award.

Last year, active safety technology became standard equipment on the MKZ, and the same is true for 2020. Automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, rear parking sensors, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control all come standard.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is well-equipped as standard but doesn’t make as much sense up the price range.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is good value at the bottom of the range, but top-tier models aren’t worth the cost of entry. We give it 6 out of 10 for its feature-laden base trim.

At around $36,000 in base from, the MKZ is well-equipped for the price. It has LED running lights, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats with heat, 11 speaker audio with Bluetooth connectivity, a digital gauge cluster, and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen strangely missing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A convenience package with ambient lighting, rear USB charging ports, a power trunk lid, and navigation is available and pushes the base MKZ basically up the trim ladder. 

The Reserve trim adds 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting, rear USB charging ports, leather seats, wood trim, satellite navigation, active park assist, and a 14-speaker Revel audio system among other features. Multiple new packages are available, including those that bring heated and cooled seats, LED headlights, and a 20-speaker Revel system. The powerful twin-turbo V-6 is also only available on the Reserve trim; the same holds true for the hybrid.

Lincoln covers the MKZ under its 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, but doesn’t include free service on the sedan.

Fuel Economy
The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is moderately fuel-efficient, helped along by its thrifty hybrid model.

The 2020 Lincoln MKZ is bolstered by a thrifty hybrid that offsets otherwise thirsty engines. Based on the ratings for the base engine, it’s a 4.

The MKZ manages 20 city, 31 highway, and 24 combined mpg with its standard turbo-4 engine and front-wheel-drive. Adding power to the rear wheels comes with a penalty of just a few miles per gallon, dropping to 20/29/23 mpg. The twin-turbo V-6 is naturally much thirstier, managing only 17/26/20 mpg.

The MKZ Hybrid offsets the so-so fuel economy of the gas-only models, boasting 42 city, 39 highway, and 41 combined mpg and an average fuel cost of just $1,000 from the EPA.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

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