By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
Lincoln claims the 2011 MKZ Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, beating its likely closest competitor, the Lexus HS 250h, by six mpg during city driving. The company also says the MKZ Hybrid tops the Lexus with room for one more passenger, along with more standard luxury and segment-exclusive safety features. Indeed, the Lexus will be this car's main competition, considering they're priced within $800 of each other. But the new Lincoln could also conceivably do battle with cheaper competition from Toyota (Camry Hybrid), or possibly within its own brand ranks (Ford Fusion Hybrid). The MKZ Hybrid is offered in one trim level.
You want to maximize fuel economy and efficiency without sacrificing a luxurious ride and the accoutrements that make it so. The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is several hundred dollars cheaper than the Lexus HS 250h, which will undoubtedly sway at least a few buyers.
You aren't averse to bold styling. Like its brand brethren, the MKZ has got the brand DNA right in your face with massive twin chrome grilles in front and long taillights astern. It's not quite as extreme as the fascia on the MKX crossover, but it'll still get attention.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the brand's first-ever hybrid offering. It employs Ford Motor Company's second-generation hybrid technology, the award-winning 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle in-line four-cylinder. There's also what's called "SmartGauge with EcoGuide" interactive technology in the instrument cluster that provides real-time information to help the driver maximize fuel efficiency, and even actively "coaches" drivers on how to optimize hybrid performance.
Driving Impressions The constantly variable transmission (CVT) in the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is rather loud at speed and drones somewhat under acceleration, but admittedly plays a crucial role in helping the...car get the unbelievable gas mileage that it does. Brake pedal feel could be better and the binders are a little difficult to modulate in traffic, but that's a problem with most hybrids. And last, it floats a bit in the corners, but holds its ground well, particularly considering the tires are hybrid-hard. Besides, who buys a hybrid for its handling prowess? We also wish that the interior – what you use to interface with the car – had an update and some better materials, because better tactile feel would go a long way in the MKZ. Small gripes aside, though, if it's this or the Lexus HS 250h, just tell us where to sign, Lincoln.
We must profess our love for the intuitive and responsive touch screen technology aboard today's Fords – err, Lincolns. That, along with the SmartGauge driver-interactive instrumentation and SYNC capability, gives the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid a distinctly high-tech feel. Almost like we are in fact driving the future.
SmartGauge with EcoGuide
All hybrids, regardless of make, should come with a system like this, especially considering that most typically buy a hybrid for absolute fuel efficiency domination. This system, by offering feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance, helps you eek the most mpgs out of your car.
While the interior of the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid does feel a little dated with an abundance of cheap, hard plastics, the technical features within more than make up for the lackluster cabin appointments. The SmartGauge instruments – which offer feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance – are impressive and give the car an almost sentient personality as it interacts with the driver. An interactive multimedia and touch screen interface sits in the center stack, allowing you to easily manipulate the navigation, climate and audio controls along with hands-free calling (if you'd rather not use SYNC for some of these, that is).Exterior
If you like the glorious grilles up front, you're likely not to have any problem with the rest of the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid's exterior, although we will point out that the rest of the car's styling is a little sedate in contrast with the front end. Unlike the more sharply creased Ford Fusion Hybrid, the MKZ has a more stately look to it. The standard wheels are painted multi-spoke 17-inchers, with 18-inch polished aluminum alloys available as an option. There's also a Sport Appearance Package that might help a bit with the ho-hum rear three quarters.
A robust standard equipment list is likely where Lincoln will sell most of its buyers. The 2011 MKZ Hybrid comes with a host of standard convenience and luxury features, including the SmartGauge cluster and the always-entertaining SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system, along with Bluetooth capability for your MP3 player, memory stick, or smartphone. The MyKey feature allows parents or fleet administrators to activate a restricted driving mode and works directly with consistently engaged stability control, blind spot monitoring, and Cross Traffic Alert. And finally, there's what's called the "Personal Safety System," a suite of seven protection technologies like dual-stage front airbags and an occupant classification system that work to protect vehicle inhabitants.
Options on the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid include a THX II certified audio system with 5.1 surround sound, navigation with integrated SIRIUS Travel Link, a power moonroof and 18-inch polished aluminum wheels. If you opt for the Sport Appearance Package you also get a sport-tuned suspension bundled into the mix.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is powered by Ford's second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-Cycle in-line four-cylinder engine that's also found in Ford's Fusion and Escape Hybrid models. The engine itself makes 156 peak horsepower at the top end of the tachometer, but electric motivation gives the car an additional 35 horsepower boost, via a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor and nickel-metal-hydride battery packs. The well-matched combo is enough to give the MKZ Hybrid a best-in-class total system power output of 191 horsepower. No, it isn't going to win many stoplight drag races, but that's respectable considering that it returns 39 combined mpg and a claimed 47 mpg when cruising under all-electric motivation. And while its gas-powered MKZ brothers are available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Hybrid puts its power down using only the front wheels.
2.5-liter in-line 4, permanent magnet AC synchronous motor
191 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (engine and motor combined)
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 41/36
By Norm on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, mpg, quietness,handling"
Cons: "high rate of depreciation,chrome overlay on wheel"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the best car I have ever had for long-distance trips. It is very roadworthy, not requiring constant attention to the "helm". The ride i s controlled without being harsh. Everything is within easy reach. The seats are very supportive and comfortable. Climate control is great. A bonus is the great MPG. On two, three thousand mile trips, it averaged 30mpg while driving 75-80 on the Interstate. The average includes a minimal amount of driving at destination. High mileage was 32. Not bad for this V-6. Is this a great car or what? The car is quiet!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Sheil on Monday, June 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice looking body"
Cons: "doesn't hold value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"this car lost value due to a restyling on lincolns part - suspension on this car is awful - never take a long trip in it - not comfortable - would never buy another lincoln - they certainly did not protect their consumer who owned lincolns prior to 2012 as I was told that because of the restyling, my 2009 dropped dramatically in resale value... I paid $26K for this car in 2012 and have been offered $12500 on a trade in 2014 towards another lincoln..seriously?"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By El Gringlow on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "price and content r great"
Cons: "no room in back if tall people sit up front."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"compliments from Lexus owners all the time. nice interior. seats need more lumbar support. nice features for price. Decent ride and more than enough power."
By Mij on Monday, May 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks inside and out. I'm proud to own it."
Cons: "Brake problem. Took two trips to get it right."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have had more compliments on this car than any I have ever owned. It has served me well and I am still wondering if I should just keep it."
By Golfer on Tuesday, May 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, good lookin"
Cons: "Front seats good be a little more comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"First Lincoln, would buy another. Very good car owner experience. Solid vehicle, comfortable and reliable. Trunk large enough to pack for long trips."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Jrasero23 on Monday, May 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, quiet, AWD, standard fetaures"
Cons: "Fusion esque, ok gas millage AWD, handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought a 2011 CPO MKZ AWD with moon roof option, premium paint option. Personally I enjoy the more traditional styling of the 2010-2012 MKZ with its more boxier shape and handsome toothy grill. While the grill is uniquely Lincoln the rest of the car's styling is very Fusion besides the elongated LED taillights. The ride is very quiet and the car absorbs road imperfections with ease and I would say the ride quality is up there with the Lexus ES. Like the ES the MKZ isn't a sports car, with that being said the MKZ accelerates nicely with its standard 256 HP V6 engine but you wouldn't want to power into turns since the car floats and has some motion. The motor is competent and with AWD the car has no torque steer, but the motor isn't as refined as its competitors and comes off as course. The interior is what sold me on the MKZ and on Lincoln in general. Styling is subjective but to me the soft touch plastics, real wood accents, and bridge of weird leather add up to a true luxury package. It is important to note that some materials Lincoln skimped on, such as the cheap sun glass holder, cheap emergency brake, and no hood struts. The seats are perforated and crazy soft and comes standard with heated and cooled seats. The back seats have nice padding but lack thigh support. The seating has a classy contrasting seat piping and headrests are big and comfortable. The back seats have adequate room and the trunk has a huge wide opening and 16.9 cubic feet of flat cargo space. I have the AWD version and it rated 17-24 and 19 combined. I live in NYC and I have been getting 20-21 mpg. Not bad but bellow other competitors with AWD. Overall the 2010-2012 are great cars that have very good reliability ratings. If you can find one of these CPO these are a great deal since a CPO is about the same as a top of the line CPO Honda. If you want a sporty luxury sedan a BMW 3 series, Cadillac CTS, and Infiniti G37 are your best bets, but these are significantly more money. If you don't care about performance as much and want comfort and value I highly recommend the Lincoln MKZ especially the 2011-2012 models."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful