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Lincoln MKZ successor to resurrect Zephyr name, get RWD?

by Ronan Glon

Lincoln is doubling down on sedans.

Lincoln has major changes in store for its entry-level MKZ sedan, according to a recent report.

The MKZ is reaching the end of its life cycle. While it currently shares its front-wheel drive platform with the Ford Fusion, Car & Driver learned its successor will switch to the modular rear-wheel drive architecture found under the new 2020 Explorer, among other current and upcoming models. All-wheel drive will most likely be available at an extra cost, or included as standard on select variants.

Using the Explorer's platform would give Lincoln plenty of powertrain possibilities to choose from. The 2020 Explorer's palette of drivetrains includes four- and six-cylinder engines, plus a gasoline-electric hybrid system built around a V6.

Lincoln is in the process of ditching its bland three-letter naming system in favor of actual words. The MKC became the Corsair during the 2019 New York auto show, for example. Trademark filings uncovered by Car & Driver suggest the MKZ will resurrect the Zephyr nameplate used on and off since the 1930s. In an interesting twist of fate, the first-generation MKZ was briefly known as the Zephyr until Lincoln launched its outgoing naming system.

The report suggests Lincoln won't follow parent company Ford's shift away from passenger cars. The company hasn't commented on the MKZ's replacement, however, but we won't have to wait long to find out: the born-again Lincoln Zephyr could make its debut as a close-to-production concept car in early 2020.

What the future holds for the bigger Continental remains up in the air.

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