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

Ford has reminded us over and over again about its plans to offer a full line of electified vehicles in the United States. The Escape and Mariner hybrids started this trend, the Fusion and Milan hybrids are garnering lots of praise, and with new products like the Transit Connect Electric and Focus Electric hitting the streets in the not-too-distant future, the automaker appears to be fulfilling its goals. The newest addition to the electrified lineup is this 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which builds upon the success of its Fusion and Milan sister hybrids.

With fuel economy ratings of 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway, the MKZ Hybrid will lay claim to the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, besting its nearest competitor,the Lexus HS250h,by six MPGs. Ford has also assured us that the MKZ will be priced below the Lexus, making it a more affordable alternative for shoppers. Aside from the addition of the four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, not much changes from the standard MKZ and Ford is hoping that this vehicle will bring more buyers into Lincoln showrooms when the car hits dealerships this fall. Check out our galleries below to see both live and stock shots of the MKZ Hybrid.

Live photos by Steven J. Ewing / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
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* 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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder how something that awful happens...
      "guys im almost done with the new design, I only need to make the taillights :P
      oh $hit, it is almost 7pm!!!11!!! g2g cu"
      • 5 Years Ago
      These Lincoln's are basically treading on Mercury's teritorry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What is with Lincoln's recent "my grill's bigger than yours" design theme. The front end looks like and automotive version of International's "Lonestar" retro-styled semi cab.

      The Fusion's restrained good looks are much more pleasing to the eye...well to my eye anyway.

      And...as long as I am on a soapbox...what is it with flowers, trees and what-not blooming all over hybrid dashboards already? Stop! Now!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Beautiful color, looks great on this car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oops. reply-fail.
      • 5 Years Ago
      that front end AND rear end are both hideous. its like they want to compete with Acura with ugly designs too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That center stack has to go.

      The rest of the interior looks good but the center stack below the nav screen is hideous
      • 5 Years Ago
      Subah, Cozz-ah and a brass band. It'll be luv-leh.
      • 5 Years Ago
      nice job on trumping the HS250
      although it was not as hard since Lexus failed to set a high bar

      but this makes 2 lexus vehicles obsolete - the HS and the ES

      seems like Lincoln just killed 2 birds with one stone
        • 5 Years Ago
        The ES is a joke, if you or anyone else thinks a tarted up Camry = cachet then I don't even know what to say.

        If the Lexus ES is going to be chastised as a "tarted-up Camry", then the MKZ by the very same token is nothing more than a "tarted-up Fusion". Amazing how such little forethought is paid by many posters here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        On the other hand, calling a Lexus ES a "tarted up Camry" is entirely appropriate.

        If the Camry was a bad car (and I'm no Toyota fan just as I'm no fan of American Fords) then why on earth would it have been so successful? Yes, you're talking bollocks, basically.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Luis

        The HS turns no heads, and if it does it is because some idiot paid too much for what is essentially a Prius sedan.

        The ES is a joke, if you or anyone else thinks a tarted up Camry = cachet then I don't even know what to say.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "@Bloke: how is this any different than a tarted up Fusion? At least the ES is completely unique in design from the Camry. You fanboys are completely BLIND!"

        Again, another post with no forethought. The other poster stated the Lexus ES was a "tarted up Camry" while appluading the MKZ. My argument is that if the ES is to be chastised in this way, how is it any different to the MKZ which is essentially a tarted-up Fusion? Don't refer to me as a "fanboy" - when it comes to American and Japanese cars, I'm indifferent to both.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Calling it a "tarted up Fusion" would be an insult if the Fusion were already a bad car, which it is not.

        On the other hand, calling a Lexus ES a "tarted up Camry" is entirely appropriate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still have a hard time finding the value added in the MKZ.

      MKX and MKZ should just be rolled into Mercury. Give the MKZ interior and tail lights to Milan. Fusion and Milan can cover the market.

      Lincoln should go up market. MKS and MKT should be the base of the Lincoln brand, not the top of it.

      Lincoln then needs a big full-size rear-drive successor to the old Continental, and the Town car... updated to compete with Caddy XTS and maybe a bit of an annoyance or more to Lexus LS and such.

      Then Lincoln needs the MKR and Mark IX RWD mid-size luxury sport sedan, and luxury sport coupe pairing, to take on the likes of CLS and E-class coupe.

      Let Mercury breathe, in compact to mid-size sport and premium mainstream, not being suffocated between Ford and Lincoln encroachment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I disagree. They should kill Mercury and focus dollars on improving Lincoln. This was Ford's biggest mistake, not shedding Mercury during the Carpocalypse."

        I agree with you - there's no need for three brands to cater to the market. Mercury is simply redundant; expand Lincoln as a luxury marque and a global one, competing with the likes of the German Q-cars, Jaguar, Alfa, Cadillac and Lexus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I disagree. They should kill Mercury and focus dollars on improving Lincoln. This was Ford's biggest mistake, not shedding Mercury during the Carpocalypse.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or don't give those tail lights to Milan... but it doesn't change my point, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Any word if they are unvieling the 2011 Explorer at this auto show???
      • 5 Years Ago
      great achievements ruined by the taillight
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