Upmarket value. From the outside, the 2019 Lincoln MKZ holds up well against the (formidable) luxury sedan competition. Although its profile matches the Ford Fusion on which it’s based, the smooth LED headlights, dramatic mesh grille, and understated taillight bar make for a premium mood.

It’s only inside that the MKZ’s mainstream roots start to show. The top trim gets luxury fittings like metal and wood, but the lower trims feel more like a fancy Ford than a true luxury car.

The MKZ tries to make up the gap with value, and it makes a compelling case. The base sedan gets 10-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, a 10.1-inch digital gauge cluster, an 8-inch infotainment screen, and an 11-speaker audio system.

That’s quite a kit for a base-spec sedan, and Lincoln puts it all together for far less than competitors like Mercedes-Benz or BMW. At around $36,000 to start, the MKZ is even cheaper than budget stars like the Genesis G80 or Lexus ES.

Safety included. Along with all its standard goodies, for 2019, Lincoln has tossed in its active safety tech. This includes a good deal: adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and an automatic emergency braking system that the IIHS calls “Superior.”

This tech joins solid crash-test results to make the Lincoln a road-going fortress. With so many luxury brands hiking option prices or creating costly package bundles, it’s refreshing to see a premium badge include more for the starting price.

Surprisingly versatile. Although Lincoln’s reputation is built on chauffeur-ready cars like the Continental and the Town Car, the MKZ can wear a surprising number of hats. In base form, it’s a value-laden and stylish mid-size sedan, with a competent engine and a comfortable ride.

Move up a trim, however, and Lincoln allows buyers to select a 400-horsepower V6. The engine comes with standard all-wheel drive (an option on the base model), and it turns the MKZ into a serious threat off the line. The steering is nicely weighted, and an adaptive suspension smooths out rough roads.

The final powertrain adds another trick to the MKZ’s repertoire: efficiency. A hybrid powertrain is available on all trims, and it starts at the same price as the base engine. Power drops to 188 hp, and the hybrid can only have front-wheel drive, but it will do a combined 41 mpg, according to the EPA. That’s a trick not many luxury cars can manage.

Still a cruiser. If you were worried that Lincoln had lost its identity, fear not. The MKZ is still a tourer at heart.

The V6 engine makes the MKZ quicker off the line, but the sedan doesn’t embrace racy driving the way BMW and Mercedes do. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – the MKZ’s comfy ride and spacious cabin make a winning way to watch the miles go by.

True to form, Lincoln makes sure there’s enough room for all your luggage on the trip. The trunk will hold 15.4 cubic feet of cargo, well more than competitors like the BMW 5-Series or Cadillac CTS. Only the Lexus ES can top the MKZ on cargo space. The ES remains a strong competitor for the MKZ – although pricier, it also has available hybrid power.

Lincoln MKC

Final thoughts. The 2019 Lincoln MKZ isn’t quite a luxury vehicle (not on the inside, at least), but it still manages to punch above its weight. For the price, it packs in an impressive number of quality features, including comprehensive standard safety. The powertrains have an option for anyone, and the ride is as composed as ever.

Overall, the package is a winning one. As a more stylish alternative to conventional family sedans, the MKZ strikes a nice balance of price and luxury. It may be an aging model, but we’re glad the MKZ is still around.

Check prices for the 2019 Lincoln MKZ »