Forget the Zephyr, Here Comes the Lincoln MKZ
New Naming System Gives Zephyr a Short Life
At the 2006 Detroit auto show, a mere month ago, Lincoln announced they would call the Aviator replacement (on sale in Fall 2006) the MKX. They also showed an expected direction for an LS replacement called the MKS, and indicated their intent to change to an alphanumeric naming strategy. At the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, Lincoln discreetly unveiled the 2007 model year Zephyr, except that it is now renamed MKZ. AutoPacific Vice President and VehicleVoice correspondent Jim Hall has commented elsewhere in this blog on Lincoln’s strategy twists and turns, so we’ll leave that to him and stick with an overview of the vehicle changes for you here. By the way, pronunciation has been settled. These should be referred to as Mark X, Mark S, and, now, Mark Z.
Though the Zephyr can be called brand-new, having been on sale for less than six months, it is renamed MKZ for the 2007 model year. Along with the name change comes a 3.5L V6, AWD, and some minor exterior tweaks. Suspension, safety features, and interior continue unchanged. The MKZ was introduced with comparatively little fanfare at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, with the new-for-2007 Navigator clearly taking center stage.
V6 and AWD
The 2007MY MKZ switches from an anemic 3.0L to a 250HP 3.5L DOHC 24v V6. This the engine found in the MKX and Ford Edge and it is likely to find its way into Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan as well. This engine sticks with the six-speed automatic transmission from launch, but also added to the mix is available all-wheel drive.
New Look As Hard to Spot as the Badge Change is Easy
Changes on the exterior include a refinement to the grille and lower front fascia (including a new chrome strip running between the fog lamps) and a new chrome strip along the bodyside. All MKZ models get seventeen-inch wheels, also redesigned for the new year and name.
Zephyr Arrived Fall 2005
The Lincoln Zephyr concept was introduced at the 2004 New York auto show, and was close to the production version launched for the 2006MY. The Lincoln went on sale in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as the brand’s $30,000 entry-level product. Along with the Fusion and Milan, the Zephyr is built at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant and went on sale in fall 2005.
Zephyr Name Had Lincoln History
The first Zephyr was a 1936 model, and offered impressive performance at a low price point. It was in fact the least expensive Lincoln of the time, and was an appropriate name for the latest entry Lincoln.
Alas, MKZ fits with the latest strategy at Lincoln, and the Zephyr name goes back into the archives.