Review: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Posted on 22. Nov, 2010 by in Auto News

Ten years ago I would never have as a comparison of Lincoln to a Lexus, but times are changing and with Lincoln heading to market with their latest product and Lexus refreshed in search of her soul into the mass market, the stars have finally aligned. And nothing beats Detroit so closely the heart of the Japanese competition as Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Finally reliable entry-luxury and hybrid technology are two things the Japanese mastered long before anyone else. Is it possible for an American company to beat Lexus at their own game?

The Lincoln MKZ also known as the Zephyr, had a hard life, and done despite using the same formula, the Lexus ES is a success – you take your mid-volume car, add some bling and call it luxury – the MKZS sales figures are less than half of the competition from Japan. With the 2010 refresh of the MKZ and Ford Fusion models can finally have some competition.

From the outside, the MKZ finally sees some style, like it or not, the corporate snout has grafted on almost every Lincoln product. While I personally hate the baleen whale motif, I have to admit that in a country that certainly bland styling of the Lincoln, protrudes. In my week-long stay in the MKZ people either love or hate the look, a significant improvement considering nobody remember ever the previous car. Unfortunately, however, ruled Lincoln to hold back when it comes to the sheet metal and plastic rear came out. Too bad, I think, a resurrection of the fake spare-tire hump would have an interesting look. Sure, the back is the MKZ Lincoln chose as his fusion brother, but I had hoped for a little more courage.

Within the MKZ, the first thing you notice is that Ford has something to spend money on their interiors lately. The fit and finish in our test model was excellent, although parts quality was something of a mixed bag. The center console looks fantastic, received when the stained walnut that our testers were covered, but a quick jaunt to the local Ford shop shows that buyers are not willing for $ 495 Executive Package, you pay a console with questionable plastics . Adding injury to the $ 41,370 MSRP are (as yet) the Ford parts-bin parts. It's not as if the borrowed components are bad … if they match. What does the mirror and door lock switchgear is objectionable, as well the other internal parts are so. Clash in range for a quality Keep Your Paws Off to notice the borrowed parts, however, and you'll tasteful wood, chrome, leather and faux suede accents in all the right places. My only other quibble is with the Ford corporate tiller: It's not a bad wheel per se (its thin edge is missing any kind of sports grip and the leather feels cheap), but it does not belong in a $ 40,000 car.

Speaking of prices, Ford tried something new with the MKZ Hybrid, starting at $ 34,340, the MKZ Hybrid manages the exact same price as the MKZ FWD be with the 263HP 3.5L V6. Buyers have to decide whether they can give up 72 horses in exchange for a 86% improvement in fuel efficiency. So far in 2010, Ford says the hybrid MKZ has a 25% take the earliest signs that buyers are willing. My local Lincoln dealer says the take rate would be much higher if they could keep the leather-coated battery hauler in stock.

On the road, our inevitable comparison with the HS250 begins to bear fruit for Ford. While Toyota may have first to market with the Prius and justifiable still holds the title innovation in the hybrid arena, the HS250 was far from the "Lexus Prius" everyone hoped. Oddly enough, that title really goes to the Lincoln MKZ and here's why: The HS250 economy ratings are honestly a failure. Designed 41MPG city, the best times of the MKZ Lexus by 15% (35mpg) and its combined economy 39MPG the MKZ Hybrid makes 10% more efficient in the HS250. Ouch. In the course of a week and nearly 900 miles we average 36.5MPG (mostly highway driving with plenty of steep hills) Total and manageable 41.8MPG overall when treating the MKZ (gentle This included highway speeds of 75mph and a daily commute to go over a 2,300 ft mountain pass). The last vehicle I tested showed this many MPGs was much easier Ford Fiesta. Even the EPA is very fond, ranking of Fusion / MKZ / Milan triplets the second most efficient cars in America. The HS250? Not even on the top 10 list.

When the road of the curve, the difference between the fusion and MKZ starts are obvious. While I would not say that the MKZ handles bad, it's obvious, it is tuned for a more compliant ride than its platform mates. Under heavy braking, the nose is extremely dive, but otherwise it is what one would expect from a baby Lincoln. The seats are comfortable and rear seat passengers, plenty of leg room for a modest road-trip to be treated, 5 people odysseys should be kept lunchtime runs with thin people, however. It will be on this short run, the MKZ real party trick obviously. With increased traction motor and larger batteries than first generation of Ford hybrids, the MKZ can be electrically only to 47MPH (as long as you keep your right foot slightly) compared to driving 25mph top speed of electric-only HS. This means that. In heavy traffic, which is not quite stop-and-go, the hybrid system in the MKZ pays

While the MKZ Hybrid will never. A track star, the 191 net horsepower system (156hp 2.5L I4 engine and 40hp) are more than adequate for most situations System integration is running well and the transitions are from electric only to hybrid power as seamlessly as everything from Toyota to save the LS600hL. What is missing in the MKZ scoot is more than made up for in electronic goodies. Gone are the days, it meant that American accounting for old tech, the SYNC system is the massive LCD screen in-dash nav simply the best voice command infotainment system from BMW iDrive shy. Seriously. For the tech nerds out there, Ford has two LCD screens added on both sides of the speedometer, the bling some Star Trek into the cabin.

As my week with the MKZ Hybrid was the end, I realized that I really miss the car. Lincoln MKZ may be less attractive than a lot of really shines by its regular gasoline-powered alternatives, but compared to the hybrid competition, the MKZ. When you factor in the 2,000 gals fuel savings over an alleged 150,000 miles life at no additional cost with the purchase of the MKZ even a convincing argument against other more premium brands in the segment. During this "Ford in drag" can not compete with the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3, Mercedes C or the former Ford stable-mate the new Volvo S60, but never less adds an interesting dimension to the excellent fuel economy. With January-October sales of the MKZ hardly amounting to 17,466, the MKZ can only be the best kept secret in Detroit. Too bad.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.