Take notice: Ford wants as much as 25 percent of its vehicles to be powered by motors and batteries in the coming decade. The company expects 75 percent of those vehicles to be conventional hybrids—and the rest made up of pure electric cars or plug-in hybrids.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a good example of how Ford will scale up to reach its target—by spreading its best electric-drive technology across common platforms. Instead of dreaming up a brand new purpose-built gas-electric vehicle for its Lincoln luxury brand, Ford is migrating the technology from its award-winning Ford Fusion Hybrid to the MKZ. That’s a good thing, considering the Fusion Hybrid swept 2010 lists for car of the year—including the North American Car of the Year, Motor Trend, and our own Hermance Award.
Like the Fusion Hybrid, the gas-electric Lincoln MKZ combines a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and two electric motors to produce a total of 191 horsepower. It’s not just the remarkable 41 miles-to-the-gallon city mileage that earned the Fusion Hybrid so many accolades. It’s the refinement of the hybrid system. Ford engineers set a new standard for how smoothly the vehicle’s power seamlessly shifts between engine and motor. The system is an ideal fit for a luxury package, like the MKZ.
The 2010 Lincoln MKZ itself has a smooth new look for this year—featuring new fascias, stretched tail lamps, and updated dashboard and gauges. The 2011 Hybrid version, due out in the fall, will add a few more refinements, including the latest version of the dashboard SmartGauge with EcoGuide.
The list of features available with Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is extensive: SYNC (Ford’s voice-activated communications and entertainment system); adaptive HID headlamps; 10-way power seats; heated and cooled front seats; reverse sensing system; keyless entry; capless fuel-filler; a suite of safety features including dual-stage front air bags; parental key systems to limit speed and audio volume for teens; and integrated spotter mirrors.