Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

It is easy to admire the Lexus HS250h with its slick styling and future-tech interior. The car set the standard for entry-luxury hybrid sedans. Not to spoil the gravy train, but it is about to get a wrath of competition from Lincoln’s own star, the MKZ Hybrid.

If you’ve driven the Ford Fusion Hybrid or Mercury Milan Hybrid, you have a very clear idea of what lies within the MKZ Hybrid. All three cars share a Mazda-derived vehicle architecture and efficient powertrain. The tight four-wheel independent suspension system is the best balance between driver engagement and a quiet, smooth ride. But, nobody buys a hybrid just to sprint through backroads.

Moved by a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, and enhanced by a electric motors and batteries, the MKZ Hybrid accelerates with 191 horsepower and will turn in an ultra-frugal 41/36-MPG city/hwy. That’s not as good as the purpose-built Prius, but is an improvement over the already-impressive Lexus HS250h. Better still, the MKZ is a comfy mid-size car with absolutely no compromises over the gas-only version. Given a light foot, the car will run on battery only up to 47 MPH over short distances.

Being a Lincoln, luxury is a given. Heated and cooled leather front seats, THX surround audio, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and genuine wood trim soothe weary passengers. Blind spot and reverse warning systems keep them safe, as do four-wheel anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. So far, AWD is not available on hybrid models. For a little entertainment, the instrument cluster “grows” and “kills” leaves on the LCD screen depending on how the car is driven.

It’s a fun way to make a point and encourage drivers to stretch their dollars for more miles.
Enhanced exterior styling, luxurious interiors, and a fuel-sipping powertrain make the Lincoln MKZ the sedan to beat. You may buy the MKZ Hybrid for its frugality, but you’ll love it for its chassis, handling, luxury, and grown-up feel. It is less iPhone and more conference phone, but that is a formula that seems to be working just fine for Ford and Mercury.

By Casey Williams