2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Underscores 'Your Mileage May Vary'

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It seems Ford has taken to heart the concerns over the difference in its new hybrids between EPA gas-mileage ratings and real-world results.

In a media presentation yesterday on the new 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Ford's luxury brand devoted considerable time to explaining how it helps drivers understand the factors that affect their real-world fuel efficiency.

In fact, out of 43 slides covering every aspect of the new hybrid, fully nine addressed the information provided by the MKZ Hybrid to drivers on efficiency.

Several of the information displays that appear on the screens either side of the central speedometer are very similar to those used in the Ford Fusion Hybrid (whose understructure the new Lincoln shares) as well as the Ford C-Max Hybrid.

But Lincoln has redesigned the energy-flow diagram that's shown on the large center-stack display. It now uses colored arrows to show power flows among the engine, electric motor-generators, and lithium-ion battery pack.

And that energy flow now includes arrows that show both "Climate" (largely meaning the air conditioning, if it's on) and "Other" cabin electrical draws.

That underscores the message that use of the climate control has a noticeable impact on the amount of energy being consumed by the car at any given point.

A short stint behind the wheel with the climate control turned off (baking in the car's black leather interior) showed that, indeed, the MKZ Hybrid appeared to offer more acceleration and longer duration on battery power alone than it did with the AC switched on.

That same display also now shows a reason every time the engine switches on.

Those include "Acceleration" as shown below, along with "High Speed"--which on our short Manhattan test drives seemed to kick in at 35 mph or so (with, admittedly, the air conditioning turned on).

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid - energy flow diagram on center display

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid - energy flow diagram on center display

Enlarge Photo

The 2013 MKZ and MKZ Hybrid mid-size sedans compete most directly with the Lexus ES 350 and ES 300h hybrid, Lincoln says.

While the MKZ Hybrid's fuel efficiency is EPA-rated at 45 mpg, previous experience with its sibling the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid indicates that it may likely return somewhere between 35 and 42 mpg in real-world use.

We won't know for sure until we test it over several days.

Meanwhile, at least it appears Ford has heard buyers' concerns over the disparity between EPA-rated and real-world gas mileage.

How will all this information be passed along to MKZ Hybrid buyers?

Well, that's up to the salespeople and delivery staff at the dealership.

The revamped "Lincoln Motor Company" is stressing that the dealer experience, tone, and hospitality will be entirely different when shopping for a Lincoln.

So we'd be curious to hear from anyone who's bought a 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: How much explanation did you actually get from your dealer about factors that affect gas mileage?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (10)
  1. I have 3245 on my 2013 MKZ Hybrid and I have had many hybrids so I know how to milk them for all they're worth. My Z-Brid gets about 43 MPG but, on hot days when I'm running the air (I live Florida) my MPG sits somewhere around 41-42. Still, not too bad considering it's a luxury car and I purchzsed the car for the looks, comfort and MPG (last). I look at the MPG I'm getting as an unexpected pleasure, as no one can ever believe EPA estimates - just look at KIA's debacle on their Optima Hybrid (I had that car for a few months and it could never get over 24 MPG as a hybrid). The scam artist who cold me that car (Century Kia, Tampa) insisted their car would get 37 MPG - never broke 29 MPG - absolute garbage. Lincoln got it right this time.

  2. I agree that Ford "gamed" EPA test. But most other manufacturers do as well. (Some cheated outright like Hyundai/Kia). Toyota and Honda purposely gamed their EPA plugin efficiency by having their battery range matching the EPA test cycle of 11 miles in order to get a really pretty MPGe number.

    Ford did what the EPA test required. In a way, it is NOT Ford's fault. It is EPA's fault for having a such "STUPID and OUTDATED" test criteria...

  3. So why don't they just tell the truth instead of perpetuating the lie?

    I have a 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid (similar size) and get very close to the advertised 42/39. On fuelly.com, it looks like that is almost exactly what Fusion Hybrid owners are getting.

  4. Retail buyers of a Lincoln don't give a flying fig about the fuel mileage. Limo drivers will however. And if they want to save some extra dough, they will keep their foot out of it and learn how to ecoDrive.

  5. @Ron: Lincoln's buyer data might contradict you.

    In California (a crucial market for Lincoln if it's to have a future beyond old people), about 60 percent of LA buyers of the MKZ opt for the hybrid model. That would seem to indicate that they do in fact care about fuel economy, no?

  6. "That would seem to indicate that they do in fact care about fuel economy, no? "

    John: That would "appear" that way. However, many people in CA buy a particular car for a "statement". And being a hybrid or "green" is a good statement to make.

    After all, even Paris Hilton claimed to drive a Tahoe "hybrid" at one point...

    So, having a hybrid in CA is sometimes nothing more than a "green" statement. I know for a fact that at least 3 Prius owners in my company did it b/c they think it is the "greenest" gasoline car available so they have to make their "green" statement.

  7. Last November I bought a 2012 Prius. I drive about 70 miles round trip for my job. Working the night shift there isn't much traffic and maybe that is why I get 60 MPG+. On the morning return with a little more traffic I still get 58 MPG+. One night I got 67 MPG using the cruise control a lot and observing the 55 MPH limit. Why is it that Consumer Reports has awarded Prius Green Car of the year for 11 straight years? Sure looks like they are doing something right. Also, I don't have to worry about leaking fuel lines and a car fire.

  8. Toyota is indeed doing something right. The Prius hands down is the MPG king. It's cozy dimensions, relatively light weight and tiny fuel-sipping motor contribute greatly to the Prius' success. When it comes to CR crowning their green king, no other hybrid - not from Lincoln, or Lexus, or BMW et al can compete. That doesn't mean however, that the Prius is the finest hybrid car money can buy. In fact I'd be willing to bet that any hybrid from any of the three companies I mentioned would be a better place to be in while hybriding from A to b than a humble Prius.
    Fuel leaks are annoying indeed, but even Toyota doesn't get it right all the time. http://www.usatoday.com/story/driveon/2013/06/05/toyota-prius-lexus-hs-recall/2390919/

  9. I purchased a 2013 MKZ Hybrid just about a month ago and have just over 1k miles on it. I am getting only 31-32 MPG currently. The dealer did not even mention anything affecting MPG but did mention a 1K mile break in period prior to seeing around 40MPG plus as advertised. I am deeply concerned that I may never see that kind of MPG in my MKZ. Am I doing something wrong or do I have a setting set wrong or something? Granted it is Houston and 100 degrees right now but a full 10MPG plus difference is very alarming. Any ideas??

  10. I have 700 miles on my 2014 MKZ hybrid. When I bought it temperatures in Chicago were 10-16 BELOW ZERO and lots of snow on the ground. The MPG average showed 31 MPG. When it warmed up to 20 degrees, the MPG average ticked up slightly, but I noticed that at the end of a trip, the trip summary was showing high 30's for that trip. Now it 38 degrees out and I have learned how to tease the mileage out of the car. This morning I reset the average MPG to 0 to see what I'm getting now that the weather has warmed up and the snow is off the street. Oh, and I removed my golf clubs and some junk from the trunk as well. I drove into the city from the suburbs. Rush hour traffic. 25 miles and I averaged 50.1 mpg for the trip.

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