2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Review

MPG-o-Matic Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Review Summary:
The mid-size 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sedan shares a proven platform with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and adds an array of luxury features. Lincoln is looking to spur increased acceptance of hybrid technology in the mid-size luxury sedan market by offering the MKZ Hybrid at the same price as the non-hybrid MKZ sedan. If you’re considering a standard MKZ, why not go for the Hybrid?

The front-wheel-drive (FWD) Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sedan is fitted with a 2.5-liter Atkinson-Cycle inline four that produces 156 horsepower (HP) and 136 foot pounds of torque. The permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor and 275-volt Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) battery pack add another 35 HP, giving the hybrid system a total of 191 HP. All MKZ Hybrids are fitted with Electronic Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT).

The official fuel economy estimates for the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid are 41 city / 36 highway miles per gallon (MPG).

We put close to six hundred miles on the odometer of our Ingot Silver Metallic review unit, scoring an average of 37.8 MPG on the Interstate highway and 38.3 MPG combined. While we beat the official numbers on the highway, our week with the MKZ Hybrid illustrates the point that winter temperatures and conditions can be tough on hybrid gas mileage.

Test period temperatures ranged from the single-digits to the low-forties. Highway testing took place with temperatures in the high-thirties.

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, heat on, heated drivers seat on, windows up: 37.2 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, heat on, heated driver seat on, windows up: 38.5 MPG

The 17.5 gallon gas tank provides an exceptional amount of range, and with the Easy Fuel capless fuel filler, you can’t forget about the gas cap … or perhaps you can …

The MKZ Hybrid rolls on 17-inch nine-spoke machined and painted aluminum wheels, clad with P225/50R17 Michelin low rolling resistance all-season tires.

Although the MKZ Hybrid delivers excellent fuel efficiency, it is slower off the line than its V6-powered stablemate.

The MKZ Hybrid delivers a quiet and composed ride. The regenerative brakes are predictable and the transition between the gasoline engine and electric motor is smooth. Like the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the MKZ can roll silently under electric power at speeds up to 47 miles per hour.

While it shares the slick SmartGauge dashboard with the Fusion Hybrid, the MKZ Hybrid’s interior is a significant step up from its Ford cousin’s more austere cabin. The MKZ’s interior features genuine wood – either walnut swirl or olive ash – and Bridge of Weir leather-trimmed seating. The 10-way power front bucket seats are heated and cooled, with two-way power lumbar support. The drivers seat has two memory settings.

Microsoft Sync and Bluetooth are standard. The handsome wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel has an uncluttered design. Sync’s voice controls allow you to keep your eyes on the road.

There are two 12-volt outlets: one at the base of the dash, and the other inside the center console. Auxiliary audio and USB iPod inputs can also be found inside the center console. Music can be streamed from Bluetooth devices.

Our test unit was equipped with the Rapid Spec 201A option package, which includes:

  • Voice-activated navigation (with SIRIUS Traffic and <10 GB music jukebox)
  • Rearview video camera
  • 600-watt, 14-speaker THX II sound system with 5.1 surround sound and two subwoofers, and
  • The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) (with cross traffic alert) which lets the driver know about unseen vehicles, both on the highway and in the parking lot.

The MKZ Hybrid’s back seat is comfortable and accommodating, with 37.8 inches of headroom and 36.7 inches of leg room. While there’s a fold down center armrest, the MKZ Hybrid lacks rear seat ventilation controls.

Cargo capacity is limited in MKZ Hybrid, when compared to the non-hybrid MKZ, with 11.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. The MKZ Hybrid’s backseat does not fold down, due to the placement of the battery pack.

All-in-all, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a well-executed mid-size luxury sedan that just happens to be fitted with a highly-advanced and fuel-efficient powertrain. By offering the MKZ Hybrid at the same price as the standard MKZ, Lincoln aims to set the pace for the segment.

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