Sunday, October 3, 2010
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is Sensational Luxury, Sensible Fuel Economy
The luxury sedan market is a supercompetitive one these days, but one competitor that is frequently overlooked has created a monster entry.
Lincoln, with its 2011 MKZ Hybrid, can lay claim to making the most fuel-efficient luxury hybrid in the U.S. market.
If that's not impressive enough for you, consider that the MKZ Hybrid is also the first front-wheel drive midsize sedan available as a hybrid from any luxury brand.
The MKZ Hybrid, similar to sister brand Ford's Fusion Hybrid, has a four-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine linked to an electric motor.
That combination brings you 191 horsepower.
You will notice the power when you go to merge onto a crowded freeway. It is far more than adequate, and actually quite impressive -- refined strength, not raw.
But where you'll really love the MKZ Hybrid is at the gas pump.
EPA ratings are 41 mpg city, 36 highway.
That's right, 41 and 36, and the MKZ is no little econobox. This is a legitimate midsize sedan putting up those kinds of numbers.
Another amazing fact: Lincoln says the MKZ Hybrid can cruise up to 47 mph just on electricity -- no gas.
We tried this and found it to be slightly inaccurate; we took it up to 49 mph solely on electricity (going down a hill, mind you).
So you could say the MKZ Hybrid is better than advertised.
Lincoln also says this car can go more than 700 miles on a tank of gas. We traveled about 400 miles and used just slightly over half a tank.
It's kind of fun to track how well you are doing on fuel economy using the SmartGauge's EcoGuide. You'll see little charts and numbers that let you know you are driving lean and green.
The MKZ Hybrid also includes the SYNC telematics system found in many Ford products, allowing you to verbally control your music selections and use your Bluetooth for phone communication.
For your pleasure, the MKZ Hybrid offers the THX II audio system with 5.1 surround sound with 14 speakers and 600 watts of power. Also optional is a voice-activated Navigation System with SIRIUS Travel Link that gives a 3-D view of locations, traffic rerouting and a 10GB jukebox that stores up to 2,300 songs via an 8-inch touch screen. Lincoln says the MKZ Hybrid boasts more luxury features like 10-way power seats with memory, power moonroof and 18-inch polished aluminum wheels.
Safety technology on the MKZ Hybrid is impressive. There are front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags for both rows, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, AdvanceTrac ESC (electronic stability control) with brake actuated traction control -- all standard. The Blind Spot Information System alerts you to vehicles in areas to your rear and side that are hard to see. And one of our favorite features was the Cross Traffic Alert, which lets you know when traffic is coming as you are backing out of a parking spot.
The MKZ Hybrid's price tag is very respectable, ranging from around $34,000 to right around $38,000.
When it comes to great luxury styling and superb hybrid technology, the Lincoln MKZ is virtually unmatched.