Cars

Will Lincoln Listen to Dealer Demand for Sedans?

Nowadays, sedan buyers are facing a shrinking selection. Although Toyota’s and Honda’s sedans are still going strong, Ford and Chevrolet have cut their offerings significantly. Even luxury marques like Cadillac and Mercedes aren’t immune. But there may be some hope for luxury sedan buyers, especially for those buying American. That’s because Lincoln sedans are still in high demand.

The Lincoln MKZ

At the moment, Lincoln offers two sedans, the Continental and the MKZ.

2020 Lincoln MKZ
2020 Lincoln MKZ | Lincoln

The MKZ, as Car and Driver reports, is essentially a more luxurious Ford Fusion. There are 2 trim levels: the $36,750 Standard, and the $42,500 Reserve. The latter is also available as a hybrid.

The standard engine is the Fusion’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, making 245 hp and 275 lb-ft, linked to a 6-speed automatic. The hybrid removes the turbo but adds a CVT and electric motor to make 188 hp and 129 lb-ft. The hybrid is front-wheel drive only, but the gas models can get all-wheel drive. But the MKZ does offer something the Fusion lost: a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. In FWD form, it develops 350 hp; with AWD, it makes 400 hp.

2020 Lincoln MKZ interior
2020 Lincoln MKZ interior | Lincoln

Car and Driver found that, although the Lincoln MKZ offers comfortable seats and upscale features, the best options require stepping up to the Reserve trim. The Standard doesn’t even get standard leather seats.

The Lincoln Continental

2020 Lincoln Continental Reserve
2020 Lincoln Continental Reserve | Lincoln

The Lincoln Continental does a slightly better job as a luxury sedan. It’s a Consumer Reports recommended product, and Jalopnik found it a worthy inheritor of the ‘Continental’ nameplate. The base model is the $46,305 Standard, followed by the $59,870 Reserve and $70,205 Black Label. The Standard comes with a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6, while the Reserve and Black Label can be fitted with either a 2.7-liter or 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. The former makes 355 hp, the latter 400 hp. FWD is standard, though AWD is optional.

Like the MKZ, the Continental has a fairly comfortable ride, courtesy of the standard adaptive dampers. And while Car and Driver considers the Reserve the best value, the best seats are found in the Black Label. They’re 30-way power-adjustable, and I can personally attest to how comfortable they are. The midsize Lincoln sedan also has more trunk space than either the BMW 7-Series or Mercedes S-Class.

2020 Lincoln Continental interior
2020 Lincoln Continental interior | Lincoln

However, Motor Trend placed the Lincoln Continental last in a comparison test against the BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS, and Genesis G90. Both MT and Car and Driver found the V6’s throttle response unrefined, and it’s only in Comfort Mode that the suspension is truly comfortable. In addition, although the Continental’s interior is luxurious overall, there are still a few too many parts taken from cheaper Ford products.

Lincoln’s sedan future uncertain

Unfortunately for Lincoln’s sedans, it seems their days are numbered. Both Roadshow and The Detroit Free Press reported that the MKZ will be discontinued after the 2020 model year. We’ve also heard rumors, as has Jalopnik and Ford Authority, that Lincoln is considering axing the Continental as well, in spite of the success of the suicide-door special edition.

This is in part due to the positive reception the company’s SUVs have had. After helping start the luxury SUV craze, the Navigator’s updates earned it a spot as a Motor Trend SUV of the Year finalist. The smaller Corsair is not only luxurious but an IIHS Top Safety Pick. And despite some teething issues, the Lincoln Aviator has very well-received, and properly distinguishes itself from its Explorer counterpart. Then there’s Lincoln’s upcoming electric SUV, developed via a partnership with Rivian.

But don’t count Lincoln’s sedans out yet.

Dealers want sedans, but will the brand provide?

In an interview with Automotive News, Tom Lynch, chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council, stated that “the council continues to talk to the company about still needing to be in the sedan business.” Lynch, who is also the general manager of North Florida Lincoln in Jacksonville, then claimed that sedans account for a third of Lincoln’s business.

The trouble is that Ford doesn’t have any more sedan platforms. After the Fusion ceases production, the only passenger car will be the Mustang. Lincoln does still sell a lot of sedans in China, so it’s unlikely Lincoln sedans will completely vanish. But Ford will need to either invest in a platform specifically for Lincoln or update the Continental.

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