With the MKZ, people might accuse Ford of just "optioning up" the Fusion and trying to pass it off as a luxury model. Actually, that would have been better.The Fusion is a really good car. It rides nicely, it performs more than adequately, and it handles predictably. It even looks at least as good as the MKZ. And it has loads of available technology, almost all of which the MKZ shares.
But, strangely, the MKZ felt considerably less pleasant and enjoyable to drive.
I'm not really sure where Ford engineers went wrong here but, for starters, I'll blame performance-oriented wheels and tires. They help communicate every bump, ripple and pockmark in the pavement clearly through the steering wheel. This car might be just fine on smooth country roads but, for those of us who live with less-than-perfect asphalt other similarly priced luxury cars are better. After a few days with this car, I now know the pavement on my street about as well as my dentist knows my uppers. This is not what I want from a car that's supposed to compete against Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
An association with actor McQueen can multiply the value of a machine.