2010 Lincoln MKZ

Though its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan cousins are treated to substantial makeovers for 2010, the 2010 Lincoln MKZ sedan, revealed today at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show, receives simply a mild nip/tuck.

In order to bring the entry-level Lincoln into the brand's new image, the 2010 MKZ dons the same split 'bow-wave' grille seen on the larger MKS sedan and the forthcoming MKT crossover. There's precious little change to the sheetmetal between the A- and C-pillars, but designers did update the rear fascia with elongated LED taillamps.

Inside, the look is much of the same, but the dashboard now sports Ford's eight-inch premium navigation system, and is made of a softer material. Depending on the MKZ's trim level, the interior can sport genuine aluminum and wood or even leather sourced from Scotland's Bridge of Weir firm.

While the Ford and Mercury sedans receive a host of powertrain changes (including a new hybrid model), the MKZ continues to soldier on with the same 3.5-liter V-6 it's used since 2007. It still produces the same 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque, but coupling it to Ford's new 'SelectShift' six-speed automatic shaves seven-tenths of a second from the MKZ's 0-60 mph time (now 7.1 seconds).

The MKZ continues to offer all-wheel drive as optional equipment, though Lincoln says the system has been re-calibrated for a slight rear-wheel bias, giving it more neutrality in corners. Perhaps further aiding cornering is a new Sport Package, which adds stiffer springs and thicker stabilizer bars, in addition to 18-inch alloy wheels and tinted headlamps.

We'll know for sure relatively soon, as the 2010 MKZ is expected to roll off the assembly line early next year and arrive in showrooms by the spring of 2009.

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