• 32
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Earlier this week we reported that Ford had plans to repurpose its very well-received hybrid powertrain in the Lincoln MKZ. Makes sense, right? Both the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan (sister cars of the MKZ) benefit from the fuel-sipping mill, and by adding a bit of electric power to the Lincoln lineup, Ford is hoping to attract more buyers into its luxury division's showrooms. What's more, since Lincoln vehicles carry higher price points than comparable Ford or Mercury products, the return on this hybrid investment means a larger profit margin for the automaker as a whole.

Well, now it's official. For the 2011 model year, the Lincoln MKZ will offer the award-winning 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline/electric powertrain from the Fusion and Milan hybrids, good for up to 41 miles per gallon in the city. In doing this, Lincoln aims to compete directly with the recently introduced Lexus HS250h, and since the MKZ will net six more MPGs than the HS, it can safely take the title of most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America. What's more, the MKZ is slightly larger than the Lexus, and if Ford plays its cards right, we wouldn't be surprised if the MKZ Hybrid is less expensive than the HS, as well.

Aside from the powertrain, the new hybrid doesn't differ too much from the rest of the MKZ range. Plenty of standard amenities are on tap, such as the cool-looking SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a reverse sensing system, heated and cooled front seats, Ford's MyKey system and – of course – SYNC.

But the big question surrounding the MKZ Hybrid isn't how well it will perform against the Lexus, but if it will carry enough extra kit to significantly differentiate it from a Fusion or Milan with the same powertrain. Consumers who are only looking for efficiency might be willing to sacrifice certain luxury amenities to save money, and this dilemma has always affected MKZ sales. Still, luxury-minted customers would be wise to look at this as an alternative option to the HS250h, and we'll keep a close eye on sales numbers when the MKZ Hybrid goes on sale later this year. For now, hit the jump to read the full details in the press release, and click through our gallery below to see the electrified MKZ for yourself.

[Source: Lincoln]
Show full PR text

• New 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid expected to be most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America

• Lincoln MKZ Hybrid takes SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide to next level, offering drivers enhanced positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance

• More standard luxury, technologies and segment-exclusive safety features in the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid help it top its nearest competitor, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h

NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – Lincoln today introduces its first hybrid – the new 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – a premium midsize car poised to be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America.

Ford Motor Company – America's largest domestic hybrid seller – is further broadening its aggressive electrification plan and second generation of hybrid technology with the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The vehicle is revealed today at the New York International Auto Show.

"Lincoln's hallmarks are design, technology and comfort. Now, Lincoln also delivers the best fuel efficiency of any luxury sedan in America," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas.

Lincoln's first-ever hybrid is expected to deliver at least 41 miles per gallon in the city when it goes on sale this fall. The new premium midsize sedan hybrid joins Ford Motor Company's growing lineup of hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid – 2010 North American Car of the Year and America's most fuel-efficient sedan – plus the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Milan and Mariner Hybrids.

Introduction of the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also complements Ford's aggressive global electrification plan. Ford is introducing five new electrified vehicles by 2013. They include the Transit Connect Electric in late 2010, the Focus Electric in 2011, a next-generation hybrid electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2012, followed by another next-generation hybrid electric vehicle in 2013.

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid's projected fuel economy tops its nearest competitor – the 2010 Lexus HS 250h – by 6 mpg. It also trumps the Lexus with room for one more passenger and more standard luxury and segment-exclusive safety features.

"Today's luxury customers do not want to make sacrifices. Lincoln has found a way to deliver a luxury sedan with the comforts they expect, the technology they want and the environmental responsibility society demands," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president, Global Product Development.

The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford's second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, named one of Ward's 2010 "10 Best Engines."

The system combines the best attributes of the gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors to deliver optimal performance and fuel economy.

Industry-leading fuel economy comes without sacrificing power. The combined gasoline engine and electric motor provide 191 net horsepower. Plus, the pure electric mode on the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid extends to 47 mph – compared with the Lexus HS 250h battery-only mode, which reaches just 25 mph.

More standard luxury

The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid comes standard with features and technologies that are either not offered on the Lexus HS 250h or are available only at an extra cost. They include:

• SmartGauge with EcoGuide – Ford's highly successful interactive technology provides real-time information to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency, and coaches drivers on how to optimize hybrid performance. Lincoln takes SmartGauge to the next level of engagement by giving drivers enhanced positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance through the "growth" of virtual small flowers on the system's right-most screen. Lincoln's white flowers, inspired by apple blossoms, remain permanently unless long-term fuel economy is reset.

• Lincoln SYNC® – The Lincoln-exclusive voice-activated communications and entertainment system provides an omnipresent link to contacts and information. In addition to Bluetooth® phone, audible text and MP3 player capabilities, Lincoln customers also can access Vehicle Health Report and 911 Assist™.

• 10-Way Power Passenger Seat – This seat is designed to accommodate a diverse group of passengers. Memory functions enable passengers to fine-tune and recall their positions.

• Power Driver Memory Seat Settings – The driver seat memory feature helps ensure personal seating preferences anytime, with the touch of a button.

• Heated and Cooled Front Seats – This uniquely engineered system delivers exceptional heating and cooling comfort.

• Genuine Wood Trim – In addition to their exquisite appearance, the Swirl Walnut and Olive Ash wood trims offered in the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid are eco-friendly as well. The veneers come from well-managed forests, as defined by strict environmental, social and economic standards, and from other rigorously controlled sources.

• Reverse Sensing System – This system senses what drivers might not see behind them and relays an audible alert if objects are near, which increases in frequency the closer a driver gets.

• Keyless Entry Keypad – This Lincoln-exclusive feature provides secure entry at a driver's fingertips. A personal combination holds a memory for driver preferences. So if an owner is out for a run and doesn't want to take the keys along, the vehicle can be opened with the touch of a few buttons.

• Easy Fuel® Capless Fuel-Filler – This Lincoln-exclusive feature uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap. That means no more fumbling to remove and tighten the cap and less fuel odor on a driver's hands at the pump.

• Personal Safety System™ – A Lincoln-exclusive suite of seven protection technologies works together as a system to help protect vehicle occupants. The system includes dual-stage front air bags and an occupant classification system to sense whether the passenger seat is occupied. It tailors – or suppresses – air bag deployment to help provide an appropriate level of protection. It also features the Ford Belt-Minder® system to remind front-seat occupants to buckle up.

• MyKey™ – This Lincoln-exclusive feature allows parents to program a key to limit speed and audio volume to encourage teens to drive safer and improve fuel efficiency. It also encourages seat belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings, and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 mph.

• Integrated Spotter Mirrors – The traditional side-view mirrors are designed with a secondary convex spotter mirror in the top outer corner, which provides a view of the driver's blind spot. When traffic enters the driver's blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it is visible in the secondary convex mirror, alerting the driver of obstacles.

• Acoustic Laminated Windshield – This windshield features a layer of sound-absorbent vinyl sandwiched between two sheets of glass, which enhances interior quietness.

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also includes standard Bridge of Weir leather seats. The world-renowned luxury leather from Scotland is unembossed, allowing the natural beauty and character of the grain to shine through. The leather is milled for up to 12 hours to ensure a soft hand, and Bridge of Weir uses a chromium-free tanning process, which makes it easier to recycle.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've seen the tail-lights many times, but each time I read an article about this car they manage to make me sad, just like when I saw them for the very first time.
      Mr. Mulally, can't you see it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I drove one of the MKZ's or whatever the hell they call it. It is nothing more than a tarted-up Fusion, just like the Jaguar X-type was little more than a tarted-up Mondeo. I haven't driven the Lexus, but I am sure, based on owner loyalty, the Lexus is one hell of a lot better driver than this piece of crap. And these are the same guys that bring us the crazy new Mustang?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know they just refreshed this thing, but it already looks musty.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree. They should re-design it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Problem with this is it's anonymous. If I saw one on the street I wouldn't look once, let alone twice. The HS, love it or hate it, like the Prius, has street presence. It causes people to look twice, figuring out what it is.
        Again, love it or hate it, you know you look too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I really like the looks of this car, although I preferred the last version, and its interior was much more unique.It also drives pretty damn well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, how can it be "green" if it runs of plankton?
        • 5 Years Ago
        maybe so but it looks about 1000x better than the Lexus HS250 as well as the ES350

        it drives and handles better than oth those cars and now it manages to to beat them in mpg's

        so i say Ford has a product that gives u no reason to go into a Lexus showroom
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think their whole problem is with their grills. They all have over-exaggerated grills for a brand with almost no image with the age group below 50. There is also no reason to buy any of them over the Ford models, and all the Ford models look better than the Lincoln models IMO. I think Lincoln's designs from 1998-2006 were perfect for the brand or at least normal looking. I think they need to add a high-performance coupe to their lineup, the MKR with just a waterfall grill not the big giant one. It doesn't make sense how smart Ford has been lately but they can't keep a luxury brand going, but GM hasn't been in the spotlight for good things lately but now at least Cadillac and Buick are offering some of the best cars in their classes.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Because Lexuses are terrible? Have you even sat in one? sorry but this car is hideous compared to the fusion.
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol, what kind of spam is this?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gawd... look at that nose. I can't stand the grill treatment that Lincoln has gone with.

      Another question, does Lincoln really need to exist?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Retired old people need something to drive darnit! lol
        But I agree, they now have a rebadged Mercury which was rebadged from Ford. Talk about a hand me down huh?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "But the big question surrounding the MKZ Hybrid isn't how well it will perform against the Lexus, but if it will carry enough extra kit to significantly differentiate it from a Fusion or Milan with the same powertrain."

      That's just silly. The interior and ride of the Lincoln, together with the fuel economy seals it in my book. Regular consumers care about more than just the 0-60 and time around the 'ring.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Other than the prestige that comes with owning a car with a Lexus badge, I can't see why anybody would even consider an HS over the MKZ Hybrid. Even though the MKZ has yet to be tested, I'm confident that it is going to be a substantially better car and likely come at a better price.

        Chassis: The MKZ sits on a better chassis
        Powertrain: Other than some super high end models, Ford's hybrid system is the best in the business
        Interior: The quality is close between them, but the Lincoln has much more room
        Styling: This is subjective, but I'm not a fan of the HS. The MKZ looks alright in person, not ugly but not exciting either
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes, I've been infatuated with Cadillac for years but the new letter designations can be confusing. When you're interested in a manufacturer but don't follow their line up, as with Lincoln, one has to take a trip to a dealer to figure out what's what, particularly when the manufacturer uses identical letter prefixes. They all have great web sites but the pictures don't really reflect how the cars look in their actual context.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ah lincoln. always the perfect example of how much tail-light is too much tail-light
        • 5 Years Ago
        Runner up would have to be a Buick Park Avenue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A 2.5 moving all of that luxury steel? call me skeptical...
      Sounds like it's gonna be on the slow side of things.

      I mean, the fusion hybrid itself is something like 3800LB. Maybe it's stripped down a little? hm..... :/

      Well i hope it sells well. Way cooler than the HS250!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The MKZ weighs the same as the Fusion so it shouldnt be an issue. At least no more than it already was.
        • 5 Years Ago
        2 tons of hybrid fun!
        Okay, only 3743lbs of fun. (Ford lists the Fusion hybrid at 3720lbs)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't see how a MKZ hybrid (or cars like it) save buyers money unless a much better resale value help leases or at trade-in time. Although this hasn't been officially priced yet, if it's anything like other hybrids the premium paid for the "hybrid" version is going to require many many miles of driving and/or many many years of ownership to generate any bottom-line savings from improved fuel economy. Unless you fall into that "high mileage" category (which I assume most Lincoln owners don't), you buy a hybrid to make an environmental/oil savings statement but not to save money.

      As far as similarity in styling and powertrain to other Fords, that's really nothing new for Lincoln or Cadillac or even many near luxury imports.
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol... learn how to use the internet first
      • 5 Years Ago
      When the Fusion/Milan first came out I preferred the styling of the Milan. But when the latest generation came out I flipped and love the Fusion. As of the MKZ. I love it from the side. I love the fact that it has a nicer interior. But the front and back! OY! It makes me want to buy the Fusion and just load it up with every option. Plus it'll still be cheaper then the MKZ. But I do gotta say that I'm glad that Lincoln has a Hybrid. Maybe Ford should make Mercury all and only Hybrids. Then the can upsell to the Lincolns for those who want more luxury.
    • Load More Comments