Some of the older brands are finding themselves reinventing themselves these days, lest they become staid and relevant only to the aging population. Cadillac recently underwent a metamorphosis, and it looks like Lincoln is working on it with their MKZ.
Going after the 30-somethings, Ford's luxury brand Lincoln is trying to combine sportiness, performance and pricing to suit this particular demographic.
While critics complained that the previous version of the MKZ was just a fancy Ford Fusion, it's been completely redesigned for this year, both inside and out.
Lincoln is calling the design style "Elegant Simplicity", featuring sweeping lines and a split wing grille that was inspired by the 1938 Zephyr.
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid does continue to share some underpinnings with the Fusion. The powertrains are the same, an Atkinson-cycle 2.0 litre four cylinder that produces 141 horses and 128 lb-ft of torque. This engine is tied to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, boosting output to 188 horsepower. This generation's battery is smaller and lighter than before, boosting performance through lower weight. The new MKZ hybrid can travel up to 100 km purely on electricity.
The Atkinson-cycle engine is used throughout the Ford range of hybrids because the torque from these engines is almost instantaneous. The engine in the MKZ is paired to a CVT which results in good fuel economy when combined with regenerative braking. Natural Resources Canada have rated the MKZ hybrid at 4.2 L/100 in the city and 4.3 L/100 km on the highway.
As is typical with Lincolns, the MKZ hybrid is comfortable, the suspension absorbs bumps in the road and rough pavement allowing occupants to cruise in comfort. Steering is light and easy to manoeuvre. It comes standard with Lincoln's line-up of gadgets called Lincoln Drive Control, allowing drivers adjust suspension settings. Three modes are offered: Sport, Normal and Comfort. The non-hybrid model adds transmission and engine noise adjustability features too.
The interior is comfortable, with lots of room for knees, hips and shoulders, though headroom is reduced a bit for rear passengers due to the sloping roofline of the car. Materials are premium level, though short of those offered by German competitors.
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid starts at a little over $38,000 here in Canada, topping out at $44,050 for the fully loaded Preferred hybrid model.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca