Latest entry to the ever-expanding premium mid-size hybrid market, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid made its initial appearance in New York prior to arriving at dealers this fall. While the first look at Lincoln's first gas-electric offering didn't include any specific pricing guidance, it left no doubt the automaker is serious about creating a package that will effectively leverage the MKZ's already impressive fundamentals in a way that gives luxo-loving buyers with fuel-efficient leanings a new alternative to consider.

>2010 New York Auto Show Home

The 2011 Lincoln MKZ uses Ford Gen II hybrid technology that matches a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor that collectively turn out 191 horsepower. More important, Lincoln expects the 2011 MXZ Hybrid to deliver at least 41 mpg on the EPA city cycle, a stat that would give it a 6-mpg edge on the Lexus HS 250h, the vehicle viewed as its primary rival. Lincoln also pointed out that the front-drive MXZ Hybrid can travel at speeds up to 47 mph on pure electric power, nearly double the pace the Lexus can manage.

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Like its conventional counterpart, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid will come with a massive roster of standard features that either aren't offered or cost extra on the Lexus. Elegant wood trims and heated/cooled power front seats covered in premium Bridge-of-Weir leather impressively set the stage for a journey of any length while thoughtful touches like Lincoln SYNC, a keyless entry keypad, programmable MyKey, a reverse-sensing warning system, capless fuel filler and an acoustic laminated windshield contribute their own more practical appeal. Going the Hybrid route also nets the SmartGauge with EcoGuide interactive instrument cluster.

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