PHOTOS: Lincoln's New MKZ Looks Nice, But Has A Lot Of Flaws

2013 Lincoln MKZ reviewThe 2013 Lincoln MKZ.

In December, Ford announced it was rebranding its luxury brand Lincoln, which is languishing in eighth place in the American luxury segment.

That plan involved a name change, a big marketing push, and the 2013 MKZ, the first of four new Lincoln cars Ford plans to debut over the next four years.

Lincoln has made some iconic, amazing cars in its day. It has made some truly terrible ones.

This MKZ is neither.

It’s based on the Ford Fusion, with different bodywork. The Fusion is a great $21,000 car. But, even with a sexier body and luxury features, it is not a great $37,815 car.

The new MKZ is certainly a step forward for Lincoln, but it reveals how far the brand has to go to put itself on the level of the top luxury brands it hopes to compete with.

Read my full review, or click through for a photo tour of the 2013 MKZ.

We drove a very well-equipped, ruby red MKZ, with a total price tag of $51,185.

It's a great-looking car, especially from the outside.

Lincoln says it focused on simplicity, elegance, and newness in the 2013 MKZ. From this point of view, they did an excellent job.

The front of the car bears the famous Lincoln split-wing grille.

A little talked about feature is the gas tank, which does not have a lid that needs to be screwed off (and potentially lost). Clever.

The side view mirrors are heated, so you never have to scrape snow or ice off of them.

One of the coolest things about the MKZ — which Lincoln rightly brags about — is the retractable panoramic roof.

The whole glass roof slides back, opening a huge amount of overhead space (more than 15 square feet). This option costs $2,995.

The downside is that with it open, rear visibility is limited, though not too badly.

The name on the 3.7-liter, V6 engine says Lincoln. The acceleration says Fusion.

Things aren't so great inside the car. The interior is spacious (and there's adequate room in the rear seat). The front seat automatically moves backward when the car is turned off. That's nice for the driver, but not for the passenger behind him.

The leather-covered steering wheel has the usual controls on it, along with paddle shifters. Just like in every car with frivolous paddle shifters, I doubt anyone will use them more than once.

At first, I didn't like the idea of using buttons to change gears. But after a few minutes, I didn't notice anymore. In fact, I found I like having the extra arm room.

The touchscreen was responsive, and the volume and fan controls were neat: Each could be adjusted by swiping a finger along the bar.

Pretty standard dashboard view, with the tachometer, radio controls, and speedometer all where you expect them.

The rear seats came with inflatable seat belts, which act like airbags in the event of a crash (this is a promo photo from Ford). They're heavier than conventional seat belts — my passenger compared it to wearing a lead apron for an x-ray.

Between the front seats, there's plenty of storage space, with USB ports to connect phones and MP3 players.

There's a convenient spot to place a phone (I brought along my own charger).

Huge trunk, good.

This piece of plastic popped out when I closed the front door. I stuck in back in, and it came out again later. This was one of a bunch of small flaws that added up to a disappointing car.

Now read my full review.

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