2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: Brief First Drive

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Remind  us in future to avoid drive routes confined almost exclusively to Manhattan.

While they're great for showing off hybrid cars--including the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid we briefly tested on Tuesday--they take years off your life.

We had a chance to put about 10 miles on the new hybrid MKZ, the entirely redesigned new Lincoln that's meant to take Ford's fading luxury brand into a new and better future.

Unlike the 2011 MKZ Hybrid we tested two years ago, the latest MKZ shares no body panels or interior design with the Ford Fusion mid-size sedan on which it's based.

And we found the 2013 MKZ Hybrid to be comfortable, very quiet, and pleasant enough to use around town.

All we can say about gas mileage is that in a loop of a few miles that was designed to maximize stop-and-go traffic, we recorded 28.6 mpg.

Taking the car out on Manhattan's West Side Highway, which let us get up to 50 mph and more, the gas mileage showing on the car's display dropped to 26.4 mpg.

Those readings are simply snapshots of brief usage, and you shouldn't put much weight on them.

We did notice that using the air conditioning had a noticeable impact on the car's electric performance.

When we briefly switched it off, the MKZ Hybrid offered stronger electric acceleration and stayed in electric mode longer.

And Lincoln has underscored this by adding "Climate" loads to its energy-flow diagram showing where battery power is being used--to our knowledge, the first time any maker has done so.

It's likely a response to the concerns over the difference between EPA gas-mileage ratings and real-world results in Ford's new C-Max and Fusion hybrids.

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid - energy flow diagram on center display

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid - energy flow diagram on center display

Enlarge Photo

Lincoln is taking pains to underscore the factors that affect gas mileage in hybrids, and that's one of several different steps it's taken.

We look forward to driving the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid on our usual test route and seeing how it compares to both the Fusion Hybrid we tested and its 2011 MKZ Hybrid predecessor, which we rather liked.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is now available at Lincoln dealers, and starting to rack up sales after a lengthy rollout delayed by quality problems at the Mexican factory that builds the near-luxury sedan.

The new MKZ competes most directly with the Lexus ES range; both cars offer conventional gasoline and hybrid models.


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Comments (12)
  1. Volt displays the climate load as an 'efficiency percentage' on one of the leaf-button screens..

  2. The Ford Focus Electric has a climate displayed exactly the same way as the MKZ. (The silhouette of a Focus certainly looks different though.)

  3. The Volt shows climate effect on energy usage.

  4. But why do these drives take years off your life? Fear?Frustration? Ennui?

  5. @Brian: New. York. City. Stop-and-go. Traffic.

  6. The recorded gas mileage you achieved in the testing is not all that good in comparison to the Ford Fusion which offers much better fuel economy in testing. I feel that Hybrids will be a temporary step in the automotive evolutionary ladder once large capacity affordable battery packs are developed and real world mileage range of BEV achieves 250+ miles. It's is much better than a plain ICE luxury car though so I will be supportive and it will allow manufacture to achieve a CAFE rating of 35 mpg or better while still having acceptable vehicles in size and passenger accommodations. I do not like the ICE only Smartfortwo for it is tiny and inefficient and much less practical than the Toyota Prius or Ford fusion Hybrid.

  7. My 2013 VW Jetta TDI gets better city milage than that by over 4 mpg, and hwy isn't even close, I routinely get 46-49 mpg. Diesel hybrids would do even better. Diesel hybrids with CNG injection better still.

  8. PS: That's with my air running on full, no sweating because I'm trying to save a few drops of fuel.

  9. As an owner of a 2102 Lincoln MKZ hybrid my only comment is that the driver must not know how to drive a hybrid. I average 39 miles per gallon in the winter and 43 miles per gallon in the summer, (yes with airconditioning set at 70 degrees) on a dialy basis communting to work. Highway comes in at between high thirthies and low forties depending on whether I set the cruize control at 60 or 70 miles per hour.

  10. @Charles: How much of your commute is in the aggressive stop-and-go Manhattan traffic that I described in the article?

    The reason we generally describe our test routes is precisely to forestall the kind of "You don't know what you're doing" comments.

    For the record, I've driven more than three dozen different hybrids. I usually drive in a lowkey way, with occasional bursts of speed where needed. But I don't hypermile and I don't disrupt the flow of traffic with any technique to boost my gas mileage.

    Hope that helps.

  11. @Charles: I'd also note that your 2012 MKZ Hybrid (I assume that's what you meant by "2102"?) is an entirely different car with a different engine and an earlier hybrid system.

    We tested a 2011 MKZ Hybrid (identical to yours), and the article with those results is linked in the article above.

  12. I drive an airport limo 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid - it now has 10,000 kms (6500 miles) and my "lifetime" average is 5.7 ltrs/100km (41.5MPG) The biggest reason many auto journalist get poor results is the way they drive. Driving a hybrid to achieve maximum fuel consumption benefit means your whole driving habits must change! I drive no more than the maximum highway speeds and my acceleration is usually very gentle but not enough to annoy people behind me. I choose my routes carefully as the best roads are ones that are between 70 and 80 kilometers/hour. Contrary to belief, I find I get worst consumption in stop & go traffic. I often drive from my home town of Aurora to Toronto Pearson Airport and I can easily achieve 5.4 ltrs/100km (44MPG)

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