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Published on Mon, Jul 30, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

COUP D'ÉTAT By Laura Burstein The MKZ is Lincoln's redesigned, retooled entry-level luxury sedan for 2007. The car was rolled out to replace the Zephyr, which was introduced back onto the market for only one model year in 2006, its moniker revived after a 64-year absence. The 2007 MKZ is based on Ford's CD3 midsize sedan platform, originally designed for the Mazda6 sedan, which debuted in 2003. The MKZ also shares more than one-third of its body panels with the Ford Fusion and the Mercury Milan. But don't let its humble roots fool you - the MKZ offers up plenty of comfort in the cockpit and power under the hood.

The MKZ features Ford's 3.5-liter, 263-hp Duratec V6 engine, which puts out 263 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 249 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. Acceleration is quick and smooth, especially at the higher revs. The MKZ's power train performs well on flat and mountainous terrain alike. Even with cruise control engaged, the engine does not strain to make it up steep grades at highway speeds. The MKZ handles better than the Lincolns of days past, but it still has that "big car" feel. The suspension is soft and resilient, and the steering is forgiving. The turning radius proved frustrating a few times - we had to make more than one three-point U-turn at reasonably-wide intersections, and it took several tries each time we had to parallel park. But for its class, the car does a reasonable job balancing comfort and agility. The MKZ is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Inside the cabin, luxury touches make this car a pleasure to drive. Air-conditioned seats, especially with our car's leather interior, are pleasantly refreshing while driving midday in near-100-degree heat, although the lack of temperature control leaves our rear ends a little numb from the cold after a period of time. Dual-zone climate control offers a wide range of adjustability, and reaches the desired temperature quickly. The quality of the MKZ's interior is quite impressive. We're particularly fond of Lincoln's navigation system, which features a large, easy-to-read touch screen. In addition, several zoom level options allow the driver to get a good sense of reference, whether on long or short trips. One pet peeve, however, is that the system will not allow destination input while driving. We realize this is for safety purposes (and Lincoln isn't the only manufacturer that incorporates this limitation), but having to pull over to type in an address isn't necessarily an ideal solution, either.

The THX sound system was loud and full, although the AM/FM radio did not match the sound quality of the CD player. One major plus is the MKZ's integrated auxiliary jack, located inside the center console, which allows the hookup of an iPod or other portable music player to the in-car stereo. Conveniently-placed buttons on the steering wheel make the entertainment system accessible with the touch of a finger. Overall, the 2007 MKZ provides plenty of comfort and enjoyment on the road. We did notice, however, quite a bit of wind noise at highway speeds. And although the EPA rates the MKZ at 18 MPG city and 26 MPG highway, our all-wheel drive version got a range of 17.8 to 18.7 MPG during the week of our review, with mostly highway driving. The 2007 Lincoln MKZ starts at $29,305 with front-wheel drive and $31,175 for all-wheel drive.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT An unusually good one-year makeover of an already good car. For more information about Lincoln products, go to

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: Lincoln MKZ Price of vehicle: Base model - $29,305 AWD - $31,175 Engine type: 3.5 liter DOHC V6 EPA fuel economy: FWD: 19 MPG city/27 MPG highway AWD: 18 city/26 hwy mpg Horsepower: 263 hp at 6,250 rpm Torque: 249 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine front-wheel drive Front engine all-wheel drive (optional) Transmission type: 6-speed automatic electronic with overdrive Suspension: Independent Short- and Long-Arm (SLA) front suspension Multi-Link Independent Rear Suspension Wheels: 17-inch 8-spoke machined aluminum and painted wheels Tires: P225/50VR17 all-season performance Brakes: Power Four-Wheel Disc Brakes with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution Overall length: 190.5 inches Overall width: 72.2 inches (without mirrors) Overall height: 57.1 inches Curb weight: FWD - 3469 AWD - 3672

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