To the whole, high end firms just can’t seem to figure out what to do with hybrid drivetrains. Sure, there’s some vague notion of improved energy economy, but for each fuel-sipping Lexus HS250h, there’s a 455-horsepower, 26-mpg BMW ActiveHybrid 750i to balance the scales. Portion of your difficulty is that fuel economy and luxury traditionally play as properly together as 50 Cent and KC and also the Sunshine Band. High-end autos are synonymous with strength, weight and cabins large adequate to comfortably raise a middle-class family, while their miserly counterparts tend to be tinny contraptions together with the driving dynamics of low-rent washing machines.
But that does not mean there aren’t auto producers trying to meld the two. One with the large buzz phrases making its way around automotive circles right now is “The ‘And’ Car.” That is, a vehicle capable of becoming all things to all people via the miracle of technology. Lincoln believes it is appear up with just such a creation inside 2011 MKZ Hybrid – a sedan that bests the gasoline economic system from the competition by a wide margin and provides all the luxury amenities buyers demand. The question is, have they pulled it off?
Lincoln’s designers have done a smart job crafting the MKZ Hybrid so that the ordinary passer-by would possess a challenging time telling it shares additional than a few bones together with the electrified Ford Fusion. Like its non-Atkinson cycle brother, the MKZ Hybrid car wears totally distinct sheetmetal from the A-pillar forward. More subtle fenders, a hood with fewer compound details and, obviously, Lincoln’s baleen grille to the entrance fascia are additions that do effectively to differentiate the MKZ from its more common cousin. Likewise, splashes of chrome along the lower fascia, mirrors and window sills also help to differentiate the two. We’re not crazy about the shiny stuff, in particular when it can come for the perpetually-smudged door handles, but this is really a Lincoln, after all – chrome is usually a birthright in these parts.
The rear with the MKZ Hybrid holds up its stop of your bargain when it comes to separating itself from the Fusion. Broad, horizontal taillights replace the trapezoidal pieces in the Blue Oval and lend the automobile a a lot more stately visual appeal. The tall Lincoln crosshair emblem does seem a little crowded by the vehicle’s rear-view camera lens, but that only involves light if, like us, you’ve spent more than a minute or two with your eyeballs locked on an MKZ in front of you in D.C. targeted visitors.
Sad to say, we’d be lying if we stated that the Lincoln’s interior was anything brief of disappointing, specially when it comes to your instrument panel and center stack. Even though our photo tester was clad in an Executive Package that swapped the vast expanses of cheap-feeling black plastic for wood veneer culled from renewable forests, the base trim serves up surfaces which are far beneath what we’ve arrive to expect from most Ford vehicles, let alone the company’s luxury wing.
Without the wood overlay, the vehicle’s squared-off middle stack is neither attractive nor fitted with climate or entertainment controls that feel worthy of its MSRP. The exact same might be stated for the door panels – a real shame considering that the massive LCD touchscreen mounted mid-dash is downright gorgeous. Likewise, the dual-LCD instrument cluster with its massive center-up speedometer carries the type of tech-centric design we’d love to see elsewhere from the cabin. Sadly, it’s just not there.
But exactly where the dash falls short, the standard leather seating surfaces absolutely shine. The hides are from some far-flung corner of Scotland exactly where the tanners still use a chromium-free curing procedure – one thing that is important when you are selling a vehicle that’s supposed to become doing its portion to save the planet. The perforated thrones breathe effectively, are nearly infinitely strength adjustable and they’re heated and cooled. Even superior, they’re standard equipment.
The excellent news is that even though the instrument panel may well not be probably the most stunning piece of interior design we’ve come across, it’s properly sorted. Throughout our brief stint behind the wheel, we couldn’t can come up with anything to complain about ergonomically. The steering-wheel mounted controls for cruise and entertainment are simple ample to memorize along with the buttons on the middle stack, whilst affordable, are a cinch to navigate. Inside, the MKZ Hybrid car can be a case of function more than form.
Needless to say, those shopping for any high end hybrid car will be most interested in what’s going on under the hood, and to that finish, the new Lincoln hybrid is no dissatisfaction. The MKZ makes use in the identical 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine observed inside the Fusion Hybrid, complete with a combined 191 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. The mill is mated to a CVT gearbox that handles putting power for the entrance wheels without relying on an abundance of buzzing rpm. Lincoln along with the EPA claim the combo is great for 41 miles per gallon within the city and 36 mpg to the highway, though we’re here to tell you that if you leave the auto idling for two hours for any photo shoot, people figures will fall off precipitously. Just sayin’.
Before setting our lenses around the 2011 MKZ Hybrid, we saw close to 38.6 mpg in mixed driving – damned impressive for your car or truck with a total of 99 cubic feet of passenger room along with the burden of lugging close to a nickel-metal hydride battery. In an age when most compacts are struggling to crest the 40 mpg barrier, a mid-sized high-end cruiser that hits the mark is one thing worthy of wonder. But for us, the very best element isn’t the reality that it could conceivably save its proprietor 2,000 gallons of gasoline more than 150,000 miles, it’s the truth that it drives just like a normal car.
There is no waiting for acceleration or awkward transition in between gasoline and electric ability. Like the Fusion Hybrid car, the MKZ variant can whisk you along on all-electric go-go at speeds as much as 47 mph. Were it not for the lack of engine idle at start up, we would possess a hard time telling the distinction between this MKZ and its non-hybrid counterpart. In brief, buyers genuinely do not have to make a sacrifice when it involves opting for greater gasoline economic system. For the first time in history, you really can have all the legroom and trunk space of a mid-size luxury bruiser and also the gas financial system of a compact within the similar package.
Despite having just beneath 200 horsepower on tap, the MKZ Hybrid is really a comfy driver. We never located it out of breath whilst jousting with beltway visitors or accelerating to get a pass, and on some from the spirited tarmac outside of D.C.-proper, it proved to become a surprisingly well mannered platform. While incredibly comfy over broken pavement, the MKZ Hybrid does not deliver the typical slosh-and-dive indicative of prehistoric American high-class products. Its electronic systems and suspension are all well-matched to get a finished product that is incredibly well-rounded.
Surprisingly adequate, Lincoln has sought to create the MKZ Hybrid car a value story on top of being probably the most fuel-efficient car in its class. At a starting price of ,180 (including destination), the MKZ Hybrid car will set you back just as a lot as its V6 counterpart. Given this news, we commence to realize some of your shortcuts the corporation took in the cabin, even if we do not approve of them. We would just as soon see the MSRP climb by a thousand dollars if it came using the kind of world-class interior we know Ford is capable of. In the event you do not believe us, have a close look at what the Blue Oval is as much as inside 2011 Edge.
Fortunately, Lincoln says that we ought to hold onto our hats. According to the automaker, it is planning a deluge of new and updated models to become rolled out in brief order, and we’re hoping individuals plans include a refreshing in the MKZ cabin.
Even with its less-than-inspired innards, the MKZ Hybrid has no problem besting its closest competition, the Lexus HS250h, in each way. With much more room and energy, a quieter cabin, a comparable MSRP and substantially greater gasoline financial state, it can be simply a far better automobile. Lincoln might not have seamlessly wedded the two worlds of luxurious and fuel economic system using the 2011 MKZ Hybrid car just yet, but it has started down a path that will eventually result in a luxury hybrid that doesn’t ask its proprietor to generate any compromises.