3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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MPG 38 City / 37 Highway
Pros
  • Dramatic new styling provides distance from Ford Fusion
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Cutting-edge in-cabin technology
  • Sporty look and feel
Cons
  • Interior quality not up to class standards
  • Lincoln still fighting to recover upscale image
, Automotive Editor -
For 2013, Lincoln's midsize MKZ gets a ground-up redesign. The Z's split-wing grille and integrated wedge-shaped LED headlights remind the beholder of its full-size MKS stablemate, and out back, Lincoln switches things up with a stylish LED brake light bar. This newest MKZ looks less like its platform-sharing cousin, the Ford Fusion, than ever before. But one thing that hasn't changed is the availability of a luxurious, fuel-efficient hybrid model. Down a half-liter in displacement from last year, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder coupled to an electric motor puts a combined 188 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission, which delivers it to the front wheels. Lincoln rates the MKZ Hybrid at 45 mpg city and highway.

Introduction

Inside, the MKZ is sumptuously appointed in leather and wood trim, with a sloped, floating center stack reminiscent of Volvo. Don’t expect to find a conventional shift knob—instead, five buttons do PRNDL duty to the left of the standard 8-inch touch screen. Front seats are heated, and the driver’s perch is 10-way power adjustable.

In the lone, standard Premiere trim, you can expect the latest version of MyLincoln Touch infotainment with SYNC, accessible via the touch screen in the stack and the 10.1-inch LCD instrument cluster. You can also expect Lincoln Drive Control, which controls the adjustable suspension with continuously-controlled damping and brings the engine and transmission into the digital decision-making process for a smooth ride on any road.

Competitors include Infiniti’s M35h, a V6 hybrid luxury cruiser with much more power, but many fewer miles per gallon; BMW’s ActiveHybrid 3-series, with a turbocharged straight six which essentially uses an electric motor for extra power and torque, and thus suffers considerably in terms of fuel economy compared to the MKZ; the Lexus ES300h, with its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid system, is a more direct rival, but still can’t quite keep pace with the MKZ’s 45 city/45 highway rating; and the Buick LaCrosse eAssist, if you’d rather have GM’s approach to fuel-efficient luxury. At 25 city/37 highway, it’ll spend more time at the pump, but the electric motor in place of an alternator doesn’t jolt to life from a dead stop like the MKZ’s full-blown hybrid drive system.

With unassailable fuel efficiency and more comfort and cool tech than ever, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is making waves among the luxury hyper-miler competition.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Starting price
$28,450

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Base

Recommended for: Anyone who wants a gas-sipping Lincoln for the 21st century.

Though the MKZ Hybrid is offered only in one trim, Lincoln makes a point of pointing out that it is available with every option the non-hybrid Z offers, which means if you want yours with an enormous panoramic sliding glass sunroof, 700-watt, 14-speaker THX II sound, a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control, active park assist, and blind spot monitoring, start checking boxes. An available option for 2013 across the MKZ lineup is a set of inflatable rear seatbelts, although why these aren’t standard is a mystery to us.

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