2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid — Review
This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2012.
By James Tate of MSN Autos
Lincoln has nabbed the title of most fuel-efficient luxury hybrid from the seemingly unbeatable Lexus HS 250h. With up to 41 mpg city, the 2011 MKZ Hybrid is a wonder of modern engineering — and that's before you account for its large size and luxury features.
Unfortunately, the car is too similar to the Ford Fusion Hybrid to be a truly effective competitor in a market populated by metal from Germany and Japan.
A navigation package is available for an additional $3,595, and includes safety technology such as a blind-spot awareness system and a semicompetent voice-activated navigation system. During our time with the car, we found it less distracting to simply pull over and manually enter an address than to try to talk to the car, but results may vary depending on how like a computer you sound. Opting for navigation also means that your MKZ Hybrid will sport a rear-view camera, something that isn't necessary, given the sedan's excellent rear visibility.
Things top out with what Lincoln calls its Ultimate Package. On top of all of the technology goodies found in the Navigation Package, Ford throws in a power moonroof, flashy 17-inch chrome wheels and adaptive HID headlights. The best part is that the topped-out package also includes beautiful wood-veneer trim, which helps to make the cabin somewhat more tolerable. Unfortunately, the Ultimate Package isn't cheap: Expect to pay $5,695.
Under the Hood
The MKZ's drivetrain combination, however, is good for a staggering 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway — numbers that are almost unbelievable for a vehicle this size. One of the biggest strengths of the Ford hybrid system is that it allows the 2011 MKZ Hybrid to drive at speeds up to 47 mph on all-electric power without using a drop of gasoline. Thanks to that neat little trick, we saw better than 38 mpg in combined driving during our time with the vehicle.
That's not to say that the cabin is entirely without merit, though. The LCD touch-screen is excellent in every way, thanks to beautiful graphics and quick, intuitive software. Likewise, the instrument cluster uses the same twin-LCD-screen setup as the Fusion Hybrid. With its large speedometer and wealth of information, it's a design we'd like to see used elsewhere in the Ford line.
Lincoln also has done well by offering extremely comfortable seats wrapped in high-quality leather as standard equipment. Typically, manufacturers ask for more of your hard-earned money when words such as "heated," "cooled" and "power" get thrown around.
On the Road
Move to the interstate, and the newly electrified Lincoln has no problem holding its own. We never found the MKZ Hybrid lacking the grunt necessary to go for a pass or to take on steep inclines, which is surprising, given that this car is down more than 70 horsepower from its V6 counterpart. With the extra weight of the hybrid's nickel-metal hydride batteries, this version of the MKZ does have a ride that's just this side of soft, but it's still nothing like the pillowy float of older Lincoln models. Finally, and like most hybrids, the brake pedal on the MKZ isn't as firm as we'd like. In stop-and-go traffic, the pedal lacks the controllability of the V6 model, which makes it less than confidence-inspiring.
Right for You?
(As part of an automaker-sponsored press event, Lincoln provided MSN with travel and accommodations to facilitate this report.)
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side asSenior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.