Mid-size luxury sedan offers best in class EPA, technology, amenities
If youíve filled up at the gas station lately, driving a car that gets 41 mpg in the city should get your attention.
When you factor in that it also seats five passengers in luxury while still providing lots of room for luggage and includes the most advanced technology on the road today, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is hard not to notice.
The 41 mpg EPA figure is no typo.
Neither is the fact the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid holds best in class ratings for nearly every category in the mid-size luxury sedan category.
As a hybrid vehicle, power is produced via an Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter I-4 engine combined with an electric motor that together produces a net 191 horsepower.
Itís also capable of working in electric only mode at speeds up to 47 mph, further enhancing fuel economy.
As a hybrid vehicle, you never need to plug in to recharge the batteries for the electric motor ó thatís done through the vehicleís kinetic energy as it is in motion.
You still fill it up with regular unleaded gasoline, only not nearly as often.
Other than the fact you are making fewer stops at the gas station ó and that you will likely think it is the quietest car youíve ever driven ó youíd never know it was a hybrid.
It has lots of torque for quick acceleration. It corners on a dime. It has lots of room. And as I mentioned earlier, it is one of the most nicely appointed vehicles on the road.
I would be remiss if I didnít talk about the technology on the MKZ Hybrid.
For starters, it features the Lincoln SmartGauge with EcoGuide designed to give hybrid owners a more connected driving experience by coaching them to further maximize fuel efficiency.
Incorporated into the instrument cluster, the LCD screens can be configured to show different levels of information while creating a visual reward for the driverís efforts to operate the car in a fuel-efficient manner.
While you may not always use the system, it is like having a personal Eco coach right there with you if you want to learn how to squeeze every drop out of a gallon of gas. Speaking from experience, it is very possible to top the EPAís 41 mpg rating. A lot of being able to maximize fuel economy depends on how you drive.
Other standard features include Lincoln Sync, a voice-activated communications and entertainment system with 911 Assist; MyKey, which allows parents to activate a restricted driving mode when teens borrow the car; EasyFuel capless fuel filler system; keyless entry keypad; integrated spotter mirrors; genuine wood trim; heated and cooled front seats with 10-way power driverís seat with memory settings; Bridge of Weir leather seats; reverse sensing system to detect objects when backing up; and Lincolnís Personal Safety System that includes a suite of seven protection technologies working together to help protect vehicle occupants.
With a base price starting around $35,000, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is one of my top picks in the mid-size luxury sedan segment ó for comfort, performance and affordability to operate.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
5-seat luxury sedan†
2.5-L I-4 with electric motor
(net 191 horsepower)
Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT)
EPA: 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway
FUEL: Regular unleaded
SUSPENSION:† Independent short- and long-arm (front); multi-link fully independent (rear).
AdvanceTrac electronic stability control
LENGTH: 189.8 inches
WHEELBASE: 107.4 inches
WIDTH: 72.2 inches
HEIGHT: 56.9 inches
WEIGHT: 3752 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 17.5 gallons
TRUNK: 11.8 cubic feet