The Lexus ES 350 starts at $36,100, which at this price point could be a pittance: expect lots of rational thoughts to begin with the statement “…for a few more dollars, I could have a Lexus!” Lincoln, a brand whose potential still lies in the future, might not carry the badge cachet as Lexus—and certainly not the MKZ models of old, which barely disguised their Ford Fusion origins. Yet this sharp new MKZ promises comfort and solitude with an adjustable suspension and Active Noise Control, connectivity with SYNC and the aptly-named MyLincoln Touch, and a party trick with push-button shifting, an idea that deservedly needs a comeback.
The MKZ Hybrid, Lincoln claims, will be exactly the same price. You may have to forgive us if we cast a fair amount of skepticism on this. The hybrid ES300h will start at $38,850, or about $3,000 more than both MKZ models.
What’s more, the Lexus ES should be a formidable opponent unto itself, which we found out on our first drive. The ES is far improved this time around with sleeker styling, Lexus’s excellent pseudo-mouse navigation system that’s breezier to use than SYNC, and a modicum of sporty driving. Both cars will come out in a few months, meaning it won’t be long for the inevitable comparison tests to begin.