Based on the Ford Fusion, Lincoln’s MKZ has hints of its Continental big brother. It offers high-end specifications for the sub-$40,000 market, but mixes them with an efficient gas-electric powertrain.
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2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Overview
What's New for 2018
The MKZ Hybrid is unchanged for 2018.
Choosing Your Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Like the Fusion Hybrid, the MKZ Hybrid marries a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder to an electric motor and a battery pack to generate a grand total of 188 horsepower. That's not a lot of power, but the MKZ Hybrid makes up for it at the pumps, returning an EPA-estimated 41 miles per gallon city but only 38 highway mpg.
That powertrain works via a continuously variable transmission that sends its power to the front wheels. While the MKZ offers all-wheel drive with its gas-only models, ticking the box for the hybrid means living without it.
Common optional extras include the $2,495 MKZ Technology Package. Available on all but the base car, this pricey extra adds a complete suite of active safety systems ranging from adaptive cruise control to blind-spot monitoring to automatic emergency braking. This is an options box you'll want to tick and is reason enough to upgrade beyond the base trim. Also available across the top three trims is the $595 MKZ Climate Package. Its heated rear seats are nice, but it's the heated steering wheel that makes its price worthwhile.
Both the mid-grade Select and Reserve offer a pair of sunroofs – a $2,995 panoramic option or a $1,200 single-pane setup – while the Black Label comes standard with the single-pane unit and slashes the price of the bigger option to $1,795.
Unless you really like being pampered, the Reserve with the Luxury Package is a better buy than the ritzy Black Label, providing much of the same content without the ownership ancillaries.
2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Review
Shoppers looking for a reasonably priced and efficient entry-level luxury model would do well to consider the 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. This Lincoln has an attractive exterior, although the interior simply doesn’t match what most competitors offer.
The 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a small luxury sedan with room for five. Lincoln offers the MKZ Hybrid in Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label trims.
The 2018 MKZ Hybrid comes with a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. This model is front-wheel-drive only. Power is routed to the front wheels by means of a continuously variable transmission. Choose the top-trim Black Label with the available retractable roof and the Tech package and this sedan easily tops $50,000.
We chose the Hybrid Reserve model, which builds on the many standard features below it and adds leather-trimmed seats, power front seats with lumbar support, heated and cooled front seats, ambient lighting, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. You’ll also find a 14-speaker Revel audio system and a voice-activated navigation system with HD Radio. Here's how we'd build ours:
- Model: 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Reserve
- Engine: 2.0-liter inline-four, electric motor
- Output: 188 hp / 129 lb-ft
- Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT)
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 41 City / 38 Hwy
- Options: MKZ Technology Package ($2,495, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, forward collision warning, forward sensing system, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist), Single Panel Moonroof ($1,200), MKZ Climate Package ($595, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats), Power Rear Sunshade ($295)
- Base Price: $41,095 (including a $925 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $45,680
If you’re looking for outstanding performance in the 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, those expectations need to be lowered immediately. Under full throttle, this sedan delivers 188 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. The MKZ Hybrid offers steady acceleration and a comfortable ride. Its electric power steering is sufficiently weighted, while its handling offers nothing special.
That said, this hybrid does what it has to do. This sedan is engineered to maximize fuel economy. It delivers an outstanding EPA-estimated 41 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway, and 40 combined.
If you confuse the MKZ with the large Continental, then that’s a good thing. Last year, Lincoln updated the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid to align closer to their flagship sedan. The look carries over well to the junior member, offering further separation from the otherwise similar Ford Fusion. The sliding glass roof is an interesting feature, but we don’t believe many people would be willing to plunk down $3,000 for one. That said, a traditional single-panel moonroof is worth considering.
Inside, the cabin is quiet and plush. We can’t put it in the same category as models such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Cadillac ATS. Those vehicles and others like them offer greater sophistication befitting a luxury model. Most MKZ Hybrid models utilize matte plastic, although the Black Label brings in glossy wood. Still, we’re disappointed that the cabin doesn’t have the wow factor of the Continental or Lincoln Navigator SUV.
The Best and Worst Things
The MKZ Hybrid offers tremendous value, chiefly for its no-cost upgrade. This means a corresponding MKZ trim level costs the same as the MKZ Hybrid, something no other manufacturer offers. On the other hand, opting for the hybrid means going with an underpowered sedan. Clearly, you’ll choose the hybrid if fuel efficiency is a priority to you.
Right For? Wrong For?
If fuel efficiency and environmental awareness chart your reasons to purchase a new car, the MKZ Hybrid should be on your list. You may not be ready to move over to an electric car, as a hybrid offers the security you need to get you where you’re going. On the other hand, if making compromises in performance doesn’t sit right with you, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
Outside of Lexus, there aren’t many luxury hybrid sedan models. The 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid soldiers on and does so without a price premium. As long as the trade off in power doesn’t cancel out huge gains in fuel efficiency, this handsome hybrid might be everything you need.