Zephyr's Out, MKZ's Here To Stay
By Pamela Hewitt
Lincoln MKZ, originally called Zephyr, is a midsize luxury car that has entertained a number of significant improvements. The automaker revived its Zephyr name for the model year 2006. However, for the 2007 model year it uses the MKZ name. Now that Zephyr is out MKZ is expected to stay.
MKZ, built at Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico plant, gets a more powerful engine and upgraded steering and suspension. The changes to 1930s Lincoln Zephyr parts made the vehicle lively, bright and high-performance without compromising smooth and quiet ride. Its interior is especially designed to be quiet. In fact, it is quieter than the Lexus ES 350 sedan. The car is given 3.5-liter V-6 engine, AWD, and a thrilling interior. Its steering is modified to be direct and its suspension a bit firmer. Ford intends to produce a hybrid drivetrain in the near future.
The vehicle uses Mazda 6's CD3 platform. It also shares 35 percent of its body panels with Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan. It also uses some of 2000 Lincoln LS parts to boost its style. Nevertheless, car features like the 600 W THX sound system with 14 speakers are distinctively MKZs.
The 2006 Zephyr debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It went on sale in fall of 2005. The car uses 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 engine and Aisin-made 6-speed automatic transmission. It produced 221 horsepower and got 20 mpg (11.8 L/100 km) in the city and 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km) on the highway. The upgraded Duratect engine is not available in the Milan triplets and MKZ's Fusion. The 2007 MKZ, on the one hand, was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show. The car was given the new 6-speed Ford 6F transmission, which was co-developed with General Motors in place of the Aisin unit.
Changes made to Zephyr parts include the improved "waterfall" grille. The automaker equipped MKZ with a grille that shows 7 teeth (Zephyr uses 9) on either site of its central emblem. This feature is mated to chrome trim on the beltline and mirrors. The car also boasts its hefty 17-inch alloy wheels.
Today, MKZ's closest rivals include Acura TSX, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The car is for auto enthusiasts to seize and enjoy.
About the Author
Pamela Hewitt is marketing consultant of a successful auto body shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This 39 year old is also a prolific writer, contributing automotive related articles to various publications. She is also an offroad enthusiast.
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