Once again, the Zephyr nameplate slips into the past: Lincoln has rebadged the midsize sedan after just one model year. The 2007 model is now named the MKZ — for Mark Z — and though it looks nearly identical to the Zephyr, there are two notable changes. The first is its drivetrain, which is more powerful for 2007; the second is the availability of all-wheel drive.
Like the Zephyr, the MKZ is Lincoln's entry-level car. As it does not offer rear-wheel drive or a manual transmission, it will likely compete with entry-level luxury vehicles that don't emphasize sportiness — the Lexus ES being a prime example.
It takes a keen eye to detect styling changes between the MKZ and the Zephyr — the two are nearly identical, save for the MKZ's more prominent fog lights and thin crossbar across its waterfall grille. The Zephyr's horizontal headlights and bisected taillamps remain. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are available in chrome.
Satin and nickel trim adorn the MKZ's interior. The two-binnacle dashboard features electroluminescent gauges, dual-zone automatic climate control and a conventional console gearshift as opposed to the gated versions in some competitors. Power-operated front seats are clad in leather, and the 60/40-split rear seats fold to provide access to the 15.8-cubic-foot trunk. Interior options include a navigation system and a premium audio system with 14 speakers.
Under the Hood
Whereas the 2006 Zephyr was powered by a 221-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6, the 2007 MKZ gets a 263-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 249 pounds-feet of torque. The sole transmission is a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.
All-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain-type airbags are standard. An electronic stability system isn't offered.