2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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Gas or hybrid for the same price

Date Posted: May 26, 2014
By Zack Spencer

Lincoln is trying to make a comeback in North America with a new model offensive. New crossover vehicles and this MKZ hybrid.

The Lincoln MKZ is the first vehicle in a four-vehicle transformation coming from Lincoln over a four-year timeline. The next vehicle will be the compact luxury crossover called MKC coming this summer. And this MKZ has been selling well, in fact the hybrid model has sold much better than Lincoln was expecting. But the reality is that Lincoln has a long way to go to resurrect this once mighty American luxury brand.  A big part of this resurrection is the fashion-forward design that they hope will attract younger buyers, not the older crowd that traditionally purchases Lincoln’s. Another is providing value, something luxury buyers are not used too. The base MKZ and the Hybrid have the same starting price of $37,960

Looks

This big Lincoln is built off the same platform as the less expensive Ford Fusion. It could be argued that the front waterfall grille is dramatic and takes that base Ford sedan and turns it into the Lincoln with good effects. The standard LED headlamps also make a statement. It is the back of the car that I’m not sure about. The super clean and rather square rear deck lid and bumper, framed by a full width taillight, look modern but the rest of the car has sweeping lines. The back is chunkier looking. One thing we really miss is a rear trunk release on the outside of the car; you have to use the key fob or the interior release. When you open the trunk, the area for storing the hybrid battery pack really limits the amount of space for carrying larger objects.

Inside

One look inside this MKZ and you realize the buyer Lincoln wants is a younger, tech savvy professional. Front and centre is the standard MyLincoln Touch system that is exactly like the MyFord Touch system. If Lincoln wants to charge more for their products they need to have a different system, the way Cadillac does with their Cue system. Both the regular gas model and the hybrid come nicely equipped. Many people will opt for the Preferred package at $6100 to get the huge panoramic sunroof, navigation system, heated rear seats and steering wheel, backup camera, blind spot warning system and more. This was the package on my test car, and it is a good deal, because for $46,000, the MKZ comes pretty much loaded. As a comparison the Lexus ES hybrid fully loaded is over $53,000.

Drive

The MKZ is sold in three configurations, the base front wheel drive (FWD) with a 4-cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine an all wheel drive (AWD) with a 3.7L V6 or this hybrid. Unfortunately the V6 is the only one with AWD. The 2.0L Ecoboost turbo 4-cylinder is the same one used in the Range Rover Evoque and pumps out 240hp. The 3.7L V6 has 300hp and the 2.0L 4-cylinder matched to a hybrid system has a rather pokey 141hp. The upside is that this car is rated at 4.0L/100kmh in both the city and highway. Now I have been on record as saying the Ford/Lincoln hybrid system is one of the best on the market--but invigorating it is not. This is a cruiser; the whole setup is refined and muted making this MKZ not as edgy as it looks. It is interesting that Lincoln’s main rival has historically been the Cadillac but these two companies couldn’t be further apart. Cadillac, with their award winning ATS and new CTS, were developed to take on the best that the German’s can throw at them and they have real contenders. This MKZ isn’t going to get German car buyers excited. No, this car is more of a challenge to Lexus or excellent for existing Lincoln buyers but the interior and styling isn’t what older buyers want.

Verdict

Lincoln has done a good job of packaging the MKZ without a price premium to get the thrifty hybrid model. It comes nicely equipped and when fully loaded is a relative bargain in the luxury space. But there are a few issues. One is the push button transmission. I’m not opposed to buttons, just to the fact they are not close to the driver; it’s a bit of a reach, especially going back and forth from drive and reverse, several times, when parking. I much prefer the rotary dial in the Jaguar or the column shifter in the Mercedes products. The rest of the centre console is covered in hard plastic with sliding controls for the heat and radio, the rest are touch-sensitive. Call me old school but I prefer a conventional layout. The biggest rival for this car is the less expensive Ford Fusion it is based on that offers the same engines and interior infotainment system. Lincoln needs to do more to differentiate its brand from Ford.

The Lowdown

Power: 2.0L and hybrid system with 141hp

Fill-up: 4.0L/4.0L/100km (city/highway) 

Sticker price: $37,960

Lincoln needs to do more to differentiate its brand from Ford.
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