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Lincoln MKZ
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Overall: Lincoln still offers one of the sleekest mid-size luxury sedans around, with plenty of smart and pampering option themes; Regular “EcoBoost” and Hybrid models are identically priced.

Drivetrain: EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder and optional 300-horsepower V6 available; Ford-Fusion-based hybrid delivers class-leading fuel performance.

No longer following the path of poor execution from concept to production, the MKZ is Lincoln’s shining star in that regard. It also hides the Ford mechanical bits it uses under the skin. On sale for model year 2013, the signature “waterfall” grille was replaced by a series of horizontal bars. But for real design drama you can’t beat the sweep of the roofline that flows well past the rear-most roof pillar, almost to the trailing edge of the body. The car’s massive windshield and rear window glass, including the optional retractable panoramic sunroof, makes it doubtful passenger claustrophobia will pose a problem. Inside is an ultra-sophisticated leather-covered and wood-trimmed interior plus a floor console extending seamlessly almost the full length of the cabin. In back, optional inflatable seatbelts for outboard riders cushion their heads and necks in the event of frontal crash. In the suspension department, continuously adjustable shock damping, power-assisted electric steering, variable transmission-shift-mapping plus traction and stability control all combine to form Lincoln Drive Control. The result, says the company, is improved ride and handling in Normal, Sport, or Comfort modes, as selected by the driver. A push-button gear selector next to the gauges replaces the traditional floor shifter. Powerplant choices consist of a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder “EcoBoost” (turbocharged) four-cylinder. Optional is a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6. MKZ returns in an available gasoline-electric Hybrid model that’s fitted with a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor. The net output is 188 horsepower. The turbo and the V6 come with six-speed transmissions that send torque to the front, or both sets of wheels if all-wheel-drive has been specified on the order form. The front-wheel-drive-only Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission. The Hybrid and EcoBoost models can be had for the same $36,100 starting price.