American Luxury Hybrid Style

Ford Motor Co. says it is further broadening its aggressive “electrification plan” with the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid recently unveiled at the New York International Auto Show.

Similar to the Ford Fusion Hybrid already on sale, Lincoln’s first-ever hybrid is expected to deliver at least 41 miles per gallon in the city when it hits the market this fall.

The MKZ Hybrid’s projected fuel economy tops its nearest competitor (the 2010 Lexus HS 250h) by 6 mpg, despite the fact that it’s a five-passenger vehicle. (The Lexus can only accommodate four.)

The 2011 MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid technology, which includes the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle in-line four-cylinder engine. The system combines the best attributes of the unconventional gasoline engine and battery-driven motors to deliver superior performance and fuel economy. The combination of gasoline engine and electric motor provide 191 net horsepower.

Lincoln also notes that the pure electric mode on the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid extends to 47 mph compared with just 25 mph for the Lexus HS 250h’s battery-only mode. 

While that statistic might not mean much in real-world driving, buyers will probably be impressed by the MKZ Hybrid’s standard features like SmartGauge with EcoGuide, Ford’s interactive technology that offers real-time information to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency.

The system gives drivers positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance through the “growth” of virtual small flowers on the system’s screen. Lincoln’s white flowers, inspired by apple blossoms, remain permanently unless long-term fuel economy is reset -- a sweet touch.

The MKZ Hybrid also offers SYNC (the voice-activated communications and entertainment system), 10-way power passenger seat, heated and cooled front seats, the popular capless fuel filler and genuine wood trim.

Well-to-do environmentalists will be pleased to learn the veneers come from well-managed forests, as defined by strict environmental, social and economic standards, and from other rigorously controlled sources. The hybrid also includes standard Bridge of Weir leather seats, but we were unable to ask the cows how they feel about that.



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Driving Today Auto Review - American Luxury Hybrid Style