Prior to this fall, luxury auto brand Lincoln hadn't had its own dedicated design center since the 1970s, a time when the Lincoln Continental proudly roamed the streets. Last month, however, a new facility opened up in Dearborn, Mich., marking a drastic departure from decades past and signaling an upcoming reinvention of the Lincoln lineup. The first result of that design-led transformation will arrive at dealerships next month in the form of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ.
Created by Lincoln's new 150-person design team, the next-generation MKZ luxury sedan was sculpted for a modern-yet-elegant look, receiving a swooping roofline, a steeply sloping windshield and a longer backlight. The team didn't completely shy away from the brand's past though, adding an updated version of the split-wing grille first used on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr. Regardless, all aesthetic changes were made with a smooth and efficient ride in mind, making the 2013 Lincoln MKZ 10 percent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model.
"Lincoln's new design team has done an incredible job of reworking the MKZ so that it's the right fit for new generation of luxury buyers," said Jeff Klein, Director of Operations and Marketing at Claremont Ford Lincoln, a New Hampshire Lincoln dealer. "It not only has a sleek exterior and a comfortable, luxurious interior, but also showcases the innovative technologies and fuel efficiency that younger drivers now demand."
A new push-button shift in the 2013 MKZ replaces the traditional transmission shifter with a five-button layout, opening up space for a cleaner center console. Owners will also spend less time fumbling for the dash controls or their phone with the standard SYNC with MyLincoln Touch infotainment system, which enables voice-activated phone calls, music selections and direction requests. Meanwhile, the included Lincoln Drive Control system automatically responds to driver preferences and road conditions to adjust the engine, suspension and other driving systems for optimal handling and traction.
Buyers of the standard 2013 Lincoln MKZ won't have to compromise much between performance and fuel efficiency either, as the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine produces 240 horsepower while still returning up to 33 mpg on the highway. Those leaning more toward the performance end of the spectrum can opt for the 3.7-liter V6 that pumps out 300 horsepower, while the most fuel-conscious buyers will now be able to get behind the wheel of an all-new MKZ Hybrid.
Returning 45 mpg in city, highway and combined EPA ratings, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has the highest fuel economy of any luxury vehicle in America, beating out competitors like the Lexus ES 300h, Infiniti M35h and BMW ActiveHybrid 3. While most auto brands charge a premium for their hybrid models, Lincoln will offer its MKZ Hybrid at the same price as its strictly gas-powered sibling.
"Between the hybrid model and the two conventional gas engines, buyers of the new MKZ have the luxury of choosing from three highly satisfying combinations of power and efficiency," added Klein. "As the first of four new models coming from Lincoln by 2015, the MKZ is an impressive start for the brand's revamp and a sign of great things to come."
About Claremont Ford Lincoln:
Dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of Vermont and New Hampshire Ford and Lincoln drivers, Claremont Ford Lincoln strives to consistently create satisfying sales and service experiences. Whether its customers are looking for a fuel-efficient Ford Fusion, a rugged Ford F-150 or a luxurious Lincoln MKZ, Claremont Ford Lincoln's friendly, knowledgeable sales staff can find the right model at the right price. Call 603-543-1221 to schedule a test drive from their location at 366 Washington St. in Claremont, or browse their entire inventory online at www.claremontflm.com. The dealership can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ClaremontFordLincoln.