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A smooth ride, available all-wheel drive, gobs of gadgets, a quality build, and tolerable handling characteristics elevate the 2010 Lincoln MKZ.The Bad
A comparatively tepid V6, cramped rear-seat quarters, and a bit of reticence on the part of the standard six-speed auto-manual transmission, as well as a bland road touch, keep the 2010 MKZ well under its potential.
The CarGurus View
A sports car it isn’t, but the 2010 Lincoln MKZ does a pretty decent job of being a high-end family sedan. A bit more pizzazz here, a few more horses there, maybe a pinch of road prowess on top, and no telling how far this pseudo-plush auto might go in giving the Lexus ES 350, Infiniti G37, and Cadillac CTS a run for their money.
At a Glance
Some attractive and uniquely Lincolnesque styling tweaks, especially to the front and rear fascias, set the 2010 Lincoln MKZ five-passenger sedan apart from its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan siblings. Additionally, upgraded, state-of-the-art technology features and a re-worked auto-manual transmission distinguish this year’s MKZ from its ’09 brethren. However, the common consensus is that despite all the upgrades and refinements, the 2010 MKZ remains an also-ran when compared to the likes of the Lexus ES 350 and Infiniti G37 or even the Cadillac CTS. A distinctly average, family-sedan feeling commonly found in the less-expensive Fusion and Milan trims unfortunately permeates this allegedly upscale auto as well, thus lowering its overall ranking in the premium sedan market.
Though available only in a Base trim level, the MKZ divides this Base level into front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) sub-trims, and here lies its special appeal; most entry-level luxury midsize sedans don’t offer the security of AWD traction. This feature alone ought to ensure a second look from those in the market for a quality family sedan.
A reasonably spacious glovebox and center console, modernized dash, and brand-new center stack arrangement complements a pleasingly reworked cabin, with gobs of soft-touch surfaces and well-matched textures. As well, a Sport Appearance Package is available for 2010 that adds over-the-top exterior and interior trim upgrades, not to mention a sport-tuned suspension system and luxury cashmere seats. Topping it all off, a decent-size trunk (16.5 cubic feet) handles enough luggage for an extended stay at a world-class resort.
While Lincoln is rumored to be offering the fuel-miserly Ecoboost engine before the end of the 2010 model year, a more exciting – and doubtless more expensive – rumored upgrade is a Hybrid MKZ, also due out in the fall of this year for the 2011 model year. Time will tell if either prognostication pans out, however, as such things are subject to the whims of economic necessity.
The sole drivetrain available for the 2010 MKZ is a somewhat under-achieving 3.5-liter V6 that’s managed by an upgraded six-speed auto-manual transmission to net 263 hp at 6,250 rpm and 249 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Variable valve timing and some programming additions to the six-speed auto-manual net an estimated 18/27 mpg in the FWD trim and 17/24 with AWD. Full-time AWD traction is assured with a viscous, center-mounted limited-slip differential.
Reviewers agree that the MKZ’s V6 is powerful enough for most driving situations, though a tad raucous during acceleration. Noticeably subdued at cruising speeds, this powerplant is nevertheless noted by most reviewers as significantly less performance-oriented than many of its competitors. The increased mileage generated by the reprogrammed six-speed auto-manual transmission impresses many reviewers, and things will only get better should the scuttlebutt regarding the EcoBoost engine prove prescient.
Ride & Handling
A four-wheel independent suspension with long-and-short-arm front configuration, front and rear stabilizer bars, and multi-link rear complements 17-inch alloy wheels for a cushy, if not particularly engaging, highway cruise in the 2010 MKZ. Bumps and potholes are generally well-modulated, though the 17-inch tires can be somewhat noisy on rough surfaces. The available Sport Appearance Package additionally features a sport-tuned suspension with larger stabilizer bars that stiffen the ride appreciably, but also lead to a marginally more involved feel for the road.
Steering is described by most reviewers as fairly accurate and reasonably competent, while brakes are powerful enough and provide competent if not stimulating straight-line stops. At least one reviewer remains impressed with the AWD system in overcoming torque-steer, as well as its potential to provide sure traction in heavy weather.
Overall, the MKZ’s ride is considered by virtually all reviewers comfortable, if not plush, while handling is competent, if not particularly sporty, even with the sport-tuned suspension. This family sedan is an agreeable cruiser, but certainly nothing to write home about, excitement-wise.
Cabin & Comfort
In targeting its older, upscale audience, the 2010 MKZ offers such standard amenities as premium leather upholstery, multi-level-heated, power-adjustable front seats with power-adjustable lumbar supports, digital keypad power door locks, remote power windows, heated power mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with mounted audio and cruise controls, universal remote garage door opener, dual-zone climate control, wood, alloy, and leather dash, door, and console accents, memory for driver’s settings, Ford’s singular SYNC infotainment with Bluetooth hands-free communications, a 6-CD changer, Sirius satellite radio, and a USB connection.
For 2010, options include separate DVD navigation, DVD audio and video capability, a power moonroof, THX-certified premium 5.1 surround sound, with 14 speakers and 10GB of music storage, rearview camera, and the brand-new Sport Appearance Package featuring 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, luxury seating with cashmere tuxedo trim, aluminum interior accents, and a sport-tuned suspension. Additionally, the Executive Package with upgraded wood and leather trim accents and 17-inch spoked wheels remains available for the 2010 MKZ.
Cabin ambiance and the plethora of gizmos, gadgets, and goodies give the Lincoln name a deserved reputation for keeping up with the Joneses, and the MKZ is no exception, though a few oversights interrupt this preponderance of technology. Meantime, gauges are large and easily discernable, controls are well marked, and the DVD navigation systems are reasonably well integrated into the whole via SYNC. Most interior surfaces are well padded, though some reviewers are unimpressed with a few plastic trim pieces that unconvincingly emulate the metallic look. The bottom line for virtually all reviewers is that the 2010 MKZ holds its own with most of its competitors as far as interior ambiance goes.
Standard safety features found aboard the 2010 MKZ include four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, traction and stability control, dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, SYNC Airbag and Vehicle Collision Notification, front fog/driving lights, remote anti-theft alarm, rear parking sensors, and post-collision safety system. Available safety equipment includes daytime running lights, Ford’s BLIS blind-spot warning system, and xenon HID cornering headlights.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2010 MKZ its best score of five stars for front and side impact protection, four stars for rear side impact, four stars again in FWD rollover testing, and five stars for AWD rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), meanwhile, gives this hefty sedan its highest rating of Good for both front and side impact protection, as well as a rating of Good for rear crash protection.
What Owners Think
Those pesky front headrests, with their oddly angled positioning, continue to dog owner appreciation for the 2010 MKZ, as does the present unavailability of the highly touted and fuel-friendly EcoBoost engine. No push-button start also has a few owners grumping, while others complain about the chintzy hood prop where perfectly good struts would do quite nicely. A dearth of interior standard accents, the occasional intrusion of rattles and squeaks, and the lack of a power-adjustable steering wheel are among issues that also cause owners to grumble.
Most owners, however, laud the 2010 MKX for its over-the-top technology, plush ride, top-rated safety scores, quietness, trunk and cabin storage space, tolerable mileage, and its overall value. Special mention is made, in virtually every owner review, of the sophisticated yet easy-to-operate SYNC system that comes standard with this suave sedan, while the available THX premium sound system is generally held in high regard as well.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
What's your take on the 2010 Lincoln MKZ?
Cars compared to 2010 Lincoln MKZ
Looking for a Used MKZ in your area?
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Lincoln MKZ Questions
Heated/cooled Seat Not Working
Just got a 2010 MKZ and the driver's seat won't heat/cool. Checking fuses looks good (and I believe both seats are covered by same fuse anyway). Any ideas what I can do to rectify this?
How Do I Post A Car Ad
how to I post a car ad
How Do I Reset The Time?
My touchscreen is broken. How do I reset the time?
Upgrade MKZ From Radio Only To Touch Screen
Just bought a 2010 Lincoln MKZ that came without a screen (so no backup camera). I'd like to upgrade this to a setup with the full touch screen and backup camera (hell, GPS would be great as well) ...
Leak In Lincoln Mkz
My lincoln mkz is leaking by the grab handle on the passenger side front where can the water be coming from.