2018 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0 L AWD: Oakville Drives

2018 Lincoln MKZ
2018 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0 L AWD: Oakville Drives
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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The 2018 Lincoln MKZ is a second-generation all wheel drive five-person, mid-sized luxury sedan introduced in 2013 to replace the earlier version that existed for model years 2006 to 2012. The MKZ is based on the same platform as the Ford Fusion. The 2018 version of the MKZ is really not any different from the 2017 model that I reviewed last year.

The MKZ is still available in two base models, Select and Reserve as well as in a gas-only or hybrid version. The MKZ comes standard with Ford’s 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo charged engine with 245hp and 275 ft/lb torque in both the “Select” and “Reserve” models. This is matched with all wheel drive and a six speed automatic transmission.

If you opt for the hybrid version, both the Select and Reserve models are only available with front wheel drive. My test vehicle included the optional 3.0L twin turbocharged V-6 engine with 400hp and 400ft/lb torque (available only on the “Reserve” with an additional $4,500 payment).

2018 Lincoln MKZ Handling characteristics

This was my second experience with the MKZ and a number of things really stood out for me. The 6-speed automatic transmission is very smooth and strong on acceleration. After having tested a number of vehicles with 8-10 speed CVTs (continuous variable transmission) and experiencing the annoyance of far too frequent and rough gear changes, it was nice to get back into something that drove like a proper car.

Along with the positive transmission, I also found the sound of the engine appropriately tuned for a car of this type. With 400hp and an equivalent amount of torque, there is no concern with being able to merge into moving traffic or pass another vehicle on a two-lane highway.

The 2.0L turbo charged engine with 275 ft/lb torque is also a reasonable choice that will give you plenty of power and save a bit on the $4,500 additional vehicle cost and fuel consumption.

The all-wheel drive system combined with Lincoln’s electronic stability control and dynamic torque vectoring systems provide for crisp handling despite the size and weight of the car. The MKZ has adjustable drive modes that vary the ride stiffness and responsiveness as well as fuel economy. Most people would simply leave it in the regular drive mode to maximize ride comfort.

2018 Lincoln MKZ Comfort and styling

2018 Lincoln MKZ

© 2017 Ford Motor Company

One of the things I still really like about the 2018 Lincoln MKZ are the welcoming lights as you approach the car in the evening. I also like the ease at which the doors unlock when you pull on the door-handle. These are little things but make the car comfortable to approach and enter. The sleek and lower roofline adds great styling but taller folks need to pay attention when entering and exiting the car. Both driver and front passenger comfort is enhanced by the standard 10-way heated leather seats with adjustable massaging air cushions in the seat and lower seat back.

The design and layout of driver steering wheel controls as well as the dash-mounted controls is very good. Lincoln has located the push-button drive selector next to the screen that as a result, provides for a smooth centre console with more storage. One of the nice to have, but I think a pricey option, is Lincoln’s ($5,500) “Luxury Package” that consists of adaptive LED headlights and the upgraded Revel Ultimate Audio system with 20 speakers that can belt out a great sound.

With all of the emphasis these days on reducing distracted driving, Ford (Lincoln) products benefit from one the best and intuitive voice command systems and display systems that I have run across. One of the missing technologies on this car is heads up display that is becoming more common especially on higher end vehicles.

2018 Lincoln MKZ

Photo Credit: R.G. Beltzner

2018 Lincoln MKZ Packages


  1. heated front and rear seats,
  2. heated steering wheel,
  3. rain sensing wipers with de-icer
  4. auto high beam

Technology ($2,450)

  1. adaptive cruise control
  2. lane keeping
  3. forward sensing
  4. enhanced park assist

Driver’s Sport ($3,400)

  1. aluminum foot pedal covers
  2. painted callipers
  3. nicer rims
  4. sport tuned suspension
  5. dynamic torque vectoring

Perhaps one of the nicer options on this car is the panoramic roof ($2,000) to enhance the driving experience on those warmer summer evenings.

2018 Lincoln MKZ Safety

Lincoln has done a very good job with their safety features, whether as mandated by our regulations or provided as standard or optional equipment. Driver and passenger protection is enhanced through a full array of air bag and belt systems supported by a comprehensive set of warning systems. The driver’s ability to maintain car control is supported through the well-developed electronic stability control, ABS braking, dynamic torque vectoring, lane keeping, driver alert, and a host of front, side and rear sensing systems.

Things to consider

The 2018 Lincoln MKZ can be an excellent choice for someone looking for a 5-passenger four-door luxury sedan with a sporty look and feel – and that is very comfortable. Even the base model comes with many of the desirable comfort, safety, performance and style features without having to spend more. I would also look closely at whether the “Luxury Package” at $5,500 is worth adding to the already excellent Reserve model. If the 2.0L engine option is good for you, you may be better off to look at the Select model with a base of $41,550 and consider adding the useful Climate and Select Plus packages for a total of $43,475 before taxes, etc.

For more automotive reviews and insights, follow me on Twitter @redy2rol.