More than just a Fusion in drag Lincoln's new artillery against an esoteric and continuously-evolving market
What do you associate the brand name Lincoln with? For me, two visions immediately pop into my head; Speeding airport limousine drivers and little old grandpas flying to the golf course cutting people off and disregarding shoulder checks on the way. In recent years, the Lincoln brand has catered to an older audience. All of my preconceived notions were tossed out the massive panoramic roof when I spent a week with the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.
With fuel prices increasing annually it seems (especially to the driver of a 6.2 litre pickup) the demand for eco-friendly automobiles is also. Ford’s Fusion Hybrid has already been making a statement in this relatively new segment competing well with the likes of Toyota, GM and Honda. The introduction of hybrid cars and SUVs from the luxury brands such as Cadillac, Lexus, and even Mercedes-Benz have recently challenged Lincoln to compete in this ever-growing segment.
Some may argue that the new MKZ hybrid is simply a Ford Fusion wrapped in an Armani suit, further accessorised with a Rolex watch; but after driving this car for the week I believe the major differences in styling inside and out, ride quality and performance seriously defeat that argument.
It’s a well-known fact that the Lincoln MKZ and Ford Fusion share powertrains. In the case of the hybrid models, they are powered by a 2.0L Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder which produces 141 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. In addition to this motor, the cars utilize the new 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that bangs out 88 kW. Working in tandem, the two motors boost the total system horsepower to 188. Daily driving both in the city and on the highway proved extremely enjoyable with this vehicle. Even when the pedal had to be floored, the instant torque from the electric motor made for smooth and seamless acceleration. Even the CVT transmission wasn’t as bad as one would have expected from this car.
Yes, driving around in the MKZ may feel like you’re barely moving, and you may not hear the big V8 you’re used to in a big Lincoln sedan, but this car makes you feel like you are in a futuristic space shuttle taking off in style. Even on our “upgraded” tar and gravel backroads in Burlington, ON, the MKZ’s ride was flawless. It diminished road noise to almost nil and absorbed every bump or imperfection in the road. The car incorporates Lincoln’s new Active Noise Cancelling System, which is standard equipment. Similar to noise cancelling headphones, the system uses radio waves from the 11-speaker audio system to decrease unwanted sounds and noise in the cabin. This combined with the continuously damping suspension means the ride is absolutely sublime.
This is a hybrid, so fuel economy numbers are important. I averaged a conservative 6L/100km throughout my test week. This is a bit worse than Lincoln’s claim of mid-4L/100km numbers, but I wasn’t even trying to hypermile, nor was I driving anywhere as conservatively as most hybrid drivers. I feel that hypermiling or consciously trying to save fuel takes away from the enjoyable experience of the MKZ, so I decided to drive it no differently than any other large sedan.
Exterior and interior finish is top-notch. This new MKZ looks the part whether you’re a teenager out gallivanting with mom’s car or a sophisticated, seasoned Lincoln owner. One of my younger friends couldn’t take his eyes off the lines; the split grill and 19” wheels just did it for him. The fully panoramic glass sunroof which retracts at the touch of a button caught most completely off-guard. The retraction right over the rear windshield is a neat conversation piece. My tester was fully equipped including rear-view camera, blind spot detection, Active Park Assist, navigation, and tons of other toys.
Interior trim and the cabin overlay on the Lincoln is futuristic and a huge step from previous model years. From the exorbitantly spacious and comfortable seating to the high-tech touch screen (MyLincolnTouch), everything feels premium. There is even a Brake Coach that instructs you how to properly slow down to maximize regenerative braking. After a week of driving, my efficiency percentage was a whopping 97%; better than most grades I was ever rewarded in school.
Overall, my week-long stand with the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was pleasurable. Being an avid golfer, I was curious to see if my prized possession, my clubs, would fit in that battery-filled trunk. I was amazed when not only my bag, but my wife’s bag fit perfectly. Some guys may say that one golf bag is enough, but just to keep the peace between you and your spouse, two fit perfectly into this trunk.
Lincoln has been making premium automobiles for over half a century and has some big shoes to fill; their cars are going up against some pretty heavy hitters. I believe the new MKZ has some real potential in the new eco-friendly market. This new addition seems to appeal to all walks of life from young to old. My tester was equipped full jam and came out at $44,050, which isn’t bad considering how much you actually get for your dollar.
2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Gallery