The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: October 2013


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

2013 Lincoln MKZ Full Line First Test - A Closer Look

It's no secret that Lincoln has been struggling lately to establish itself as a serious luxury brand, often being criticized of not differentiating itself enough from its parent, mainstream company, Ford. Motor Trend's most recent test of the MKZ line-up is in line with all recent Lincoln reviews. I think part of the problem is with the reviews, though, not Lincoln and its offerings. Let's look at this latest review.

You don't need to read a whole lot to notice the problem (2013 Lincoln MKZ Full Line First Test - Motor Trend). In fact, you only need to read past the first couple of lines. They said that the Lincoln MKZ has changed things but is it good enough to be more than "Ford-Plus? That's still a tough case to make, when given all the data." Notice the problem? The problem is the data. Or rather, using data.
Over the years, performance figures have become a huge factor in judging a luxury car. So huge, in fact, that the vast majority of the article is only about performance numbers.

The article consists of 13 paragraphs (plus introduction and conclusion paragraphs) - 9 of which are about performance numbers. Over two thirds of a luxury car review talks about nothing but acceleration and grip measurements. How does it drive? How quiet is it? What does it deal with road imperfections? These and other important aspects of a luxury car are overlooked in the name of performance. All we're told, literally, is that "all models drive nicely and are pretty quiet inside, except for the hybrid model, which has more engine noise than the other two when it's running." So here we have an (arguably) very stylish, comfortable, and quiet luxury sedan that drives well and has great features but its performance figures lag behind the competition which automatically pushes it down the hierarchy of luxury cars.

That's not to say that the automotive media is the only side to blame. I do think that performance figures are being given a greater weight than they should be when it comes to luxury cars but since more people are starting to care about performance numbers, Lincoln should meet that demand. I don't think that the Lincoln MKZ is only a good car, as Motor Trend described it, I think it's a great car. The problem is that where it compromises the most is the performance front which seems to be the last place car buyers want to compromise nowadays. If we overlook the fact that it's RWD and take a high level look at the Cadillac ATS for example, it compromises the most in packaging, in my opinion. It's a little less space efficient than the competition but in exchange you get excellent styling, handling and chassis balance. People don't seem to mind that all that much, though, so the ATS is considered by many to be a success. Will the MKZ be a success? Only time will tell but sales seem to be slowly gaining momentum. Based on the MKZ's feedback, though, Lincoln still has some work to do. What do you think Lincoln needs to be considered best in class? Sound off in the comments below!