• Jun 4, 2010
When the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid goes on sale this fall, it will have an updated version of the SmartGauge that debuted last year on the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The basics of the SmartGauge remain the same, with a pair of 4.3-inch LCD displays flanking a central speedometer. The LCDs can display several layers of information to help coach the driver to be a more efficient motorist.

The most obvious change is the color palette for the LCD gauges. They have been changed from a predominantly blue color scheme to what Lincoln officials describes as a more upscale-looking green and gold. The leaves on the right of the display have been present since the introduction of system on the Fusion and provide a graphical representation of the driver's short-term average fuel economy. The more thrifty your driving style, the more leaves you get. Behave like a lead-foot and they dissolve.

The SmartGauge in the 2011 MKZ Hybrid will also add some new flora to the mix in the form of a long-term fuel efficiency indicator. The indicator takes the form of apple blossom flowers (the state flower of Michigan) that appear amidst your tangle of digital leafs. If your average fuel economy is sufficient (Ford won't say what number you actually need), the first flowers will begin to appear after 4-6 weeks of driving. They first appear as buds and then grow into small and finally large flowers. More flowers appear over time, but the more you get, the more time it will take to earn more. If you earn all of the flowers, then you'll have saved about $8,000 in fuel costs and 30 tons of CO2 over the life of the car.

Aside from adding a whole new element to the game of achieving high MPG that we all play when behind the wheel of a hybrid, Ford's new long-term flower indicator also may serve a second, more practical purpose. If you decide to sell your MKZ Hybrid a few years down the road, a full bouquet of flowers in the SmartGauge proves you were a slow, careful driver and may fetch you a higher price on the used car market.



[Source: Ford]


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  • 27 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well this is better than the original concept they were considering, where as you increase your mpg's Al Gore takes off pieces of clothing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Never had a green thumb I'm afraid...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes RL, be afraid... very very afraid.
      • 4 Years Ago
      LOL wth
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you're really naughty the tree catches fire.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not my favorite new Ford gimmick. Just give me all 6 gauges with real needles, not leaves... and keep big brother from spying on my driving habits.
        • 4 Years Ago
        SO one of those 6 gauges is a fuel economy gauge? Yeah, I didn't think so. You can turn off the leaves by the way and have more or less "normal" gauges.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The glory days of motoring are over my friends :P
        Pug_Power
        • 4 Years Ago
        A few more hybrids doesn't really herald the end of the "golden days of motoring". There'll always be performance and fun to drive cars out there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The glory days of motoring are over my friends"

        I don't believe that for a minute! If you roll back the clock! Henry Ford had something like 22HP right in the Model T? Now we're looking at 1000HP in some incredible cars! Both are extreme examples of high and low.

        So if you look at the evolution of HP in combustion engines (1000 versus 22) you're looking at 8HP a year. Given that technology (versus mechanical engineering) doubles yearly, with batteries and non mechanical power that figure rapidly increases. So since Tesla has 248HP in their Electric car...If you compound the yearly advances in technology you end up demolishing the numbers of combustion engines.

        Additionally, the deployment and manufacturing of the technology is much less "part-complex" i.e. less parts. So it's got an advantage in speed-to-market too!

        And then there is Hydrogen!

        So keep the hope because we're just scratching the surface friend! I'm dreaming of the day of 10,000 HP alt fuel (battery or hydrogen) vehicles with carbon fiber or similar bodies that weigh so little, keeping them on the ground is the biggest challenge!
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, but the ICE being phased out signals the end of an era.

        But apple blossoms are much worse.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I suppose i was appealing more to the petrolheads out there. Making a crack about the apple blossom dash being a signifier of the death of fun.

        The future is electric/hydrogen/magic pony dust, but those cars just won't be the same.
      • 4 Years Ago
      shweeet! i would soooo love to have just about ANY blossoms on the gauge! LOL
      • 4 Years Ago
      When does is get to dashplesauce stage?
      • 4 Years Ago
      WOW! you get that many leaves for avg. 0.3 MPG. Imagine avg. 1 MPG. you would have the amazon rain forest on your dash!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah. I would fail miserably at that "game".
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't wait to read the first rant on the internet about how someone's dealer inadvertently reset something in the computer and erased all the apple blossoms. You know it'll happen, both the reset AND the rant.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ooooh! DIS-TINC-TIVE!!!

      :-)

      D.
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