I have been asked to share “what I really think about the new Lincoln”. OK. You asked for it. Watch out.
I think Lincoln is in big trouble. This is not because it is a luxury arm of Ford, and its cars are luxury versions of standard Ford models. Lexus is in exactly the same relationship with Toyota and seems to be doing fine. I would never consider buying a new Lexus (although a used one is always an option), but Lincolns used to move on and off my “I’d buy that if I was rich because it’s so big and fast and comfy and sort of sportier than a Cadillac in a vague non-quantitative way and stylish (if you squint) and I’m an American and not ashamed of it” radar fairly regularly. I am not anti-Lincoln on principle. The marque has a distinguished history in both design and performance. There is nothing wrong with the idea of Lincoln.
The problem with Lincoln, and the reason Lincoln is in trouble, is that for the past 15 years or so all their cars but the Town Car have pretty much stunk, and then they cancelled the Town Car. They were unable to create a coherent design theme to distinguish their cars from the Fords sharing the same platforms, or to create substantive differences in value that would make it make sense to pay the price premium for the Lincolns. To succeed they must accomplish both tasks, and they were failing pretty spectacularly at both.
Then the Mercury nameplate was eliminated and that budget, as far as I understand it (and I am not a Ford insider), was transferred over to Lincoln to revive that brand. The first cars from that revival project are coming out now, and the most interesting of them is the new MKZ.I saw this car in the metal for the first time at the Auto Show, and I was instantly ashamed by how much I like it. I know it’s just a tricked out Fusion , but it really is very handsome: a sleek, modern car that will make an elegant addition to the fleet. It’s quite emphatically American and the outside of it is nothing to be ashamed of whatsoever. The flying wing grille nicely references the grilles of some of the great Lincolns of the past, and would make a great “identity face” for the next generation. Please go to the MKZ website and look at the professional photographs– my grab shots in a crowded show hall do not do it justice.Just, whatever you do, don’t look at the interior. The inside is a real horror show. You would think that in a car this size there would be, I don’t know, room to sit down? Room to ride and drive long distances in comfort? Room to adjust your feet, your knees, your hips, your shoulders? It is not a cheap car, even if it looks more expensive than it is, and many of its owners will not be in their first youth. And they will be Americans. Americans are not a small people. Luxury cars, by definition, should be comfortable to ride in, at least in the front seat. If you want to spend a large sum on a car with a tight fitting “cockpit” interior where you can sit surrounded by gadgets and gizmos, you will almost certainly will want a sports car. If you buy a large and handsome cruiser, you want to cruise. This is yet another beautiful car that fails the “you don’t drive the outside” test.
I explained this at length to a corporate rep from Lincoln, and the best he could offer me was a business card from a local dealership which offers a nice selection of low mileage Town Cars and Mercury Grand Marquises, if I “want a car with room in the front seat”. Funny. I never knew that was a dirty word.
(Also, the color chart for this car stinks on ice. Any color chart where medium red metallic looks like (very bad word) Carnival in Rio is a bad color chart.)