Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show... - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

As the title says, I got to spend a lot of time with the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show. I'm going to be test driving the car soon (and I know some have done so already) but what follows is my static auto show impression. In short, my impression was mixed. Great exterior, mixed interior, and probably a bit overpriced. Within a stone's throw of the MKZ were also a Lexus ES hybrid, an ATS, a Ford Fusion Titanium, and the entire BMW and Infiniti stands among others. For reference, I'm currently driving a Saab Turbo-X wagon:

Lincoln Display:
- Lincoln was front and center in the display hall, but they only brought 2 MKZ's. The first was a non-accessible, dark grey V6 with chome wheels on a turntable and a red hybrid with darkened 19 inch wheels that was on the floor and open for everyone to inspect. Neither had the panoramic roof. Both had the light Dune/tan interiors...
- Caddy, Chevy, Scion, and Ford itself among others had cars available for test drives, Lincoln did not...
- The staff there at the Lincoln booth was very knowledgeable and very nice...
- Lincoln was offering $50 for arranging MKZ test drives at the show (!!)
- The MKZ was getting a LOT of attention from show goers and always had a line of people waiting to get in. People were clearly aware of it and wanting to see it...

Exterior:
- Just beautiful, it indeed looked like nothing else at the show. In a time of increasingly angry, aggressive, hard edged design, the flowing Z stands out...
- The greyed-out rims are definitely the way to go and look impressive. The standard chrome wheels I did not find appealing at all...
- The panoramic roof in photos definitely gives the car a sleekness that's lost a bit with a standard moonroof in the cars I saw at the show...

Interior:
- This was a mixed bag for me overall...
- With its large screen, My-Touch, and transmission-less console, the first impression is one of sleek simplicity. Materials are very solid and competitive across the board...
- My impression first impression sitting down, however, did NOT scream "luxury" to me, not as much as its competition (ES, GS, ATS, 3-series, etc) accomplish. It feels more in line with the Toyota Avalon or Buick Regal than the Lexus ES. This isn't function so much of the design, but more the relative paucity of wood, chrome, and contrasting materials and colors. Some blame might go to the light Dune color scheme, which I did not like at all. I felt it overwhelmed and washed out the overall design somewhat. A neighboring Infiniti M felt positively sumptuous by comparison (different classes I know, but still, not super far apart in sticker pricing). I look forward to seeing the interior in other colors and trims...
- I have to admit I was disappointed by the parts sharing, to be honest. I kept reading that we should think more VW/Audi than the old Ford/Mercury, but I don't know. Column stalk and door switchgear look and feel identical to the Fusion Titanium and while I couldn't compare side by side, I wouldn't be surprised if the passenger side dash and door panels were identical as well. If not, then they are awfully close. I wish I could report different, but really, the overall ambiance of the MKZ Hybrid interior and the nearby Fusion Titanium were very, very similar. I prefer the look of the Lincoln, but in reality there's really only a center console design difference that separates them... The Avalon is vastly more differentiated from the ES and all of the Audis are more so from the VW's. The Acuras, while obviously emerging from the same design and material studios, are also better differentiated. Ford/Lincoln's going to have to work harder on this...
- Also disappointing were the seats. In fact, they were some of my least favorite of the show. First, and again I hate to say it, I went back and forth between the Fusion Titanium and the MKZ several times and I couldn't feel a difference. I really couldn't. Both cars have soft, flat cushions with somewhat simple linear backrests with almost no lateral support. Even the base Dodge Dart's seat had more support. Other luxury cars' seats at the show hug, support, and envelope you. Here instead, you sit "on" the Fusion's/MKZ's seat. No hugs, no support, no envelopment, no nothing... Now, I know this is very subjective for people, but in such a progressive vehicle, the MKZ's seats felt really throwback in a bad way, almost lumpy. My first thought was "rental car" quality. With no other chairs available for the MKZ, this could be a deal breaker for me. Again, this is in a non-powered car on a show floor, so I'll have to wait for the test drive.
- This was my first time playing with Lincoln and Ford's MyTouch (on an MKT, MKX, and various Ford products). I thought prior criticism was just luddite auto reviewers looking for something to moan about, but I have to admit it's pretty frustrating. It's not as bad as Caddy's CUE (see below), but it really does need to be fixed fast. The design, implementation, intuitiveness, speed of response, all of it is below average... It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but it could be for others and needs ASAP correction...

So that's it. Great looks, grumbling interior issues...

I had other impressions about the show and competition as well. I'll put that in a separate reply to this you can read or ignore at your leisure. I'm happy to answer any questions...
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 10:02 PM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

Nice review, Iiari!

I agree with you. The interior sucks compared to the concept. The attention to details aren't there. The MKX has a better interior, imo. The color schemes are dull.

Hopefully, the production MKC will have a much better interior compared to the MKZ.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 12:52 AM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

spectacular write-up, Iiari
I can't wait to hear about the Cadillacs...& any other mfgs you're willing to go into details about!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iiari View Post
Lincoln Display:
- Lincoln was front and center in the display hall, but they only brought 2 MKZ's. The first was a non-accessible, dark grey V6 with chome wheels on a turntable and a red hybrid with darkened 19 inch wheels that was on the floor and open for everyone to inspect. Neither had the panoramic roof. Both had the light Dune/tan interiors...
this^ is why I don't own a nuclear missile (or gun)...forgot you said Boston & thought NAIAS
Still, there's not much excuse for the 2 cars having anything that major in common

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iiari View Post
...the relative paucity of wood, chrome, and contrasting materials and colors. Some blame might go to the light Dune color scheme, which I did not like at all. I felt it overwhelmed and washed out the overall design somewhat...
especially irritating since RECENT Lincolns didn't used to have that "putty" color
I *am* sure the designers did NOT choose it but had it forced on them by Approvers & beancounters

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Originally Posted by Iiari View Post
...Also disappointing were the seats...
for this there is NO EXCUSE from the company that owned Volvo (GREAT seats!)
umm
you DO like Volvo seats, don't you Iiari??
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 01:49 AM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

Great job, Iiari!

Maybe the seats feel more comfy with the massage feature on..

As I said a million times before - the interior is the weak spot of this car. The bespoke program needs to launch ASAP in ANY form rather than "perfect" in "a couple of years"...

If this is not taken care of, I might indeed consider getting the MKC for my mother instead...

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 12:13 PM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

I drove one and found the seats to be way more comfy than the current mkz, but I like softer seats. I'm tired of overly stiff so called "supportive" seats. I agree with the perception of lower luxury in the interior. My current mkz has the optional wood through the radio and shift areas and it makes a huge difference in perception. Overall though, I did feel more comfortable than sitting in a 2013 ES for instance even though a bit lesser quality materials maybe.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 01:25 PM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by xgman View Post
I drove one and found the seats to be way more comfy than the current mkz, but I like softer seats.
The seats really are a mystery to me so far because reviews vary from "superior" to "terrible". I guess I have to check them out myself. As long as they are as good as those on my MY09, that's fine with me.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 01:54 PM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

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Originally Posted by LincolnFanFl View Post
because reviews vary from "superior" to "terrible"
And that right there, is the problem with just about every subject on the internet.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LincolnFanFl View Post
The seats really are a mystery to me so far because reviews vary from "superior" to "terrible". I guess I have to check them out myself. As long as they are as good as those on my MY09, that's fine with me.
Well, I'm coming from Saab seats, which I think were always some of the best in the business and my Turbo-X chairs are a wonderful mix of supple softness and support. The only seats which I thought challenged my Turbo-X seats at the show were the CTS-V, Infiniti M, and Audi A8. The Volvo S80 seats are quite nice as well (possibly the only desirable thing about that model) and they are super soft and supple, 180 degrees away from the "grab you like a glove" CTS-V Recaros.

I really didn't like the MKZ seats. They weren't even so much soft as featureless, like airline seats. Again, I've got to feel a "real" vehicle out in the world to be sure.

Overall, I preferred the MKZ design to the Lexus ES, which is really something of a mess and which has some pretty cheap plastic in prominent places on the dash. I prefer the MKZ design to the Avalon, but the Avalon has some better materials here and there. I also prefer the MKZ design to the Azera, but materials are about even... I'd put the MKZ materials above the Buicks and about equal to the Acuras, although their design philosophies are very different from those two..

But that's the problem. Note the models I'm comparing the MKZ to. As far as the Audi A6 and BMW 5 and Mercedes C, there really is no comparison. The MKZ is not in that ballpark at all in materials. The DESIGN is there, but if Lincoln could upgrade the materials a bit and add some detailing here and there (like Chrysler did with its models recently) it would be a big help.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:48 PM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iiari View Post
As far as the Audi A6 and BMW 5 and Mercedes C, there really is no comparison. The MKZ is not in that ballpark at all in materials. The DESIGN is there, but if Lincoln could upgrade the materials a bit and add some detailing here and there (like Chrysler did with its models recently) it would be a big help.
I'd agree with you on this. Seems more like they were going for some sort of ill placed minimalism. A few more touches and they could have done much better. Still when I look at the whole package, especially when compared to other Hybrid choices, it still wins out for me. Otherwise I would have jumped long ago since it has taken so long to build these.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 04:48 PM
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Re: Sat in the MKZ at the Boston Auto Show...

1st:
t.a.n.s.t.a.a.f.l.
(there ain't no such thing as a free lunch)
so if material are improved the price goes up (disproportionately imho)
but
that's just fine imho2
I *want* to see the MKZ barely 'limbo' under $40k to start
then again
I'd also add a few features standard...just to get RID of the Z's current approach to trim levels


Quote:
Originally Posted by xgman View Post
...Seems more like they were going for some sort of ill placed minimalism...
this is could be the ONLY problem I'd place (partly) at the Designers' door

even tho I share an appreciation for some forms of minimalism,
it's too easy to go too far
imho
successful high tech-style-conceptualism must include
"high-touch" <which
is more about mental/emotional "accessibility" than materials
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