As proud new owners of a puppy, my boyfriend and I quickly learned “no dogs allowed” is implied at almost every turn. For us, taking a vacation with the dog would be a luxury.
So when Lincoln said they could help us out, we were intrigued. They offered to send us to Muskoka’s Deerhurst Resort for a luxury weekend vacation, pup in tow. After a few stops in town, we packed up and hit the road in the new Lincoln MKZ with Giorgio — our 10-month old puppy — and Ottawa Magazine’s Pet Guide.
According to Matthew McConaughey, driving in the new Lincoln MKZ should feel like falling backwards into a rooftop pool somewhere east of LA; grooving to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings cover of “Midnight Rider”; or just getting a really close shave.
For us, it was more like driving a really nice car, with extra creature comforts.
Our little creature likes to get comfortable by resting his head on the centre console. In most cars, that’s a struggle. But the Lincoln MKZ has a unique, large and flat centre console.
This extra space is a result of moving the gear shift to a push-button system — reminiscent of the 1950’s Ford Edsel’s push-button transmission. It takes some getting used to, but once you’re in the habit, using the buttons make sense as there are more driving options in the MKZ than you could fit in a traditional shift transmission.
Like the assisted park button — something you didn’t know you needed until you’ve driven alone with a puppy.
If you have a dog, you’re aware of this weird sixth sense: dogs know you’ve arrived at your destination before you’ve even parked the car. So, any little bit of help getting into a tight spot is welcome when you’ve got a furry passenger trying to break loose.
Although Giorgio is pretty good in the car, he still gets anxious about long trips. So before leaving town, we picked up a few things to make him more comfortable.
First stop, Wag Café. Coffee for us, and a travel bed for the pup.
[See what makes Wag — Ottawa’s only dog-friendly cafe — so special to the dog community]
Next, Master’s ‘n’ Dogs for a Gulpy travel water bottle. It fits conveniently in the car cup holder, keeps the pup hydrated on the road, and was a necessity for our Algonquin Park hikes.
[Read more about the items we took on the trip in our shopping guide for pets]
Lastly, a pit stop to see The Pet Chef, Allison Shalla. This pet nutritionist suggested a light-weight, freeze-dried meal that she feeds her own pups when on the go, and her HomeoPAWthic Calming Tincture — just a couple drops in the side of Giorgio’s cheek, or in his water, and he was good to go towards our pet-friendly destination: Deerhurst Resort.
[Get more pet nutrition tips in our Q&A with pet nutritionist, Allison Shalla]
The “quiet luxury” that MKZ prides itself on meant Giorgio slept for most of the car ride to Muskoka. But, running so quietly, the MKZ can get up to speed without you realizing it. When combined with unfamiliar roads, this quiet power can result in speeding. But, thanks to the car’s speed-limit technology, the dash shows the speed limit for that area, keeping your lead foot in check.
There were a few times we were happy for MKZ’s speed. It’s sport mode gives you that power to pass without jarring your passengers (proof is in the puppy who stayed asleep).
Despite rainy weather, the trip was made special by things like automatic windshield wipers and seat warmers that were hot and quick — good for a cold pup after rest-stops in the rain — plus massaging chairs for both driver and passenger (especially welcome on longer drives).
When the sun came out, the retracting moon-roof invited a few rubber-neckers (something our puppy is used to), and made it feel like a near convertible.
Like the classic Greyhound hood ornament of Lincoln’s Model L; it’s the little things, combined with a good dog, that can make a car luxurious.
For more on the Lincoln MKZ see LincolnCanada.com