Preview: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

For many years now, there have been hybrids.  Each year, more and more automakers strap hybrid drivetrains to existing cars, and some even create new cars to host the hybrid goodies.  Honda and Toyota have become famous for their hybrids.  Then, something interesting happened; these same automakers started putting their hybrid drivetrains in more upscale vehicles.  Lexus had a hybrid version of its very popular RX SUV and LS luxobarge.  While the regular cars scored high marks for frugality, the luxury hybrids were more performance-oriented.  So what’s going to happen when Ford takes its award-winning hybrid formula, used in the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, and mixes it with the Lincoln MKZ?

It becomes a game changer in the hybrid arena.  While Lexus’ HS250h currently holds the top spot as the most fuel-efficient luxury car, Lincoln has stolen that crown.  The MKZ boasts 5 more MPG than the HS250h, and has just as many luxury accoutrements as its rival.  Add to that the potent mix of EcoGuide and SYNC, and Ford should have a winner on their hands.  I’ve already reviewed the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and I’ve driven a few MKZs, so before the car even becomes available, I can tell you this; it will be a comfortable, quiet ride, matched with a fantastic sound system, navigation, and plenty of luxury gadgets and gizmos to keep you busy for a while.  All this while achieving, “at least 41 MPG highway,” according to Ford.  I think the number will be 40 when it actually comes out, given that the MKZ weighs quite a bit more than its more mainstream cousin.

While the regular MKZ hasn’t been the biggest seller for Lincoln, it’s sold modestly well, and those shoppers who are currently looking at the Lexus HS250h should do well to drive an MKZ Hybrid when it becomes available, later this year.

by John Suit

Source: Ford

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