2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Test Drive and Review

Lincoln MKZ InteriorBy John Addison (12/14/10)

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s Elegant Drive

This Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is delivering the most smooth and silent drive I’ve experienced. In stop-go LA traffic, I quietly move forward only using the two electric motors, with the gasoline engine off. When I accelerate around slow traffic the electric motors and gasoline engine blend power so smoothly that it would happen unnoticed unless you are doing a test drive.

The Lincoln MKZ is the premium hybrid car with the best fuel economy on the road. No other luxury or premium car gets the Lincoln MKZ’s 41 highway, 36 city, and 39 mpg combined fuel efficiency. The sticker price on this beautiful midsized four-door, five-seat, sedan is $34,333. How much more does this MKZ hybrid cost over the standard MKZ? Not a dime. Since the MKZ will save most drivers at least $1,000 per year over the non-hybrid, it practically makes this Lincoln a bargain.

As I sit behind in the Quietcraft Interior, admiring the Walnut Swirl steering wheel and dashboard, and adjust the fine leather seat to give me just the right support, I ask why Ford did not give this Lincoln a premium price. The answer is that Ford wants to sell more hybrids than Toyota. By 2020, Ford plans to have 10 to 25 percent of all its sales be hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric. If lithium battery prices keep dropping and oil prices keep rising with every drill and every oil spill, Ford will reach the 25 percent goal.

Ford Motor with this Lincoln MKZ hybrid is taking on Toyota Motor with its five Lexus hybrid models. So far, Ford is beating Toyota at its own game. Powered by the proven Ford Fusion hybrid drive system, the Lincoln MKZ delivers 39 mpg combined beating the 35 mpg of its competitor the Lexus HS250h hybrid. The MZK has 8.8 more cubic feet of passenger room than the Lexus HS250h and still delivers better mileage. In Spring 2011, however, Lexus is again expected to take the lead at 42 mpg combined with the new CT200h compact hatchback.  The Lexus CT200h allows drivers to select from four modes – Normal, EV, ECO, and Sport. The Lincoln MKZ keeps it simple. No selecting modes. Touch Start and drive.

As the Lincoln versus Lexus hybrid battle continues to unfold, Lincoln will emphasize their quiet, roomy, and luxurious ride. Lexus will focus on performance and a range of hybrid choices from hatchbacks to sedans to SUVs.

The Lincoln hybrid system makes all the decisions about when to be in electric-only mode and when to engage the gasolineengine. When stopped or accelerating carefully in the MKZ, I stay in stealth mode propelled with quiet electric motors. If I accelerate with care, I could reach 47 mph before the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is engaged. When I step on it, the gasoline engine and 40-horse electric motors work together taking me rapidly to the speed limit. Everything happens automatically – the MKZ’s computerized drive system decides when to engage motor, engine, or both.

The MKZ Hybrid includes an array of electronics for safer driving, navigation, and entertainment. The SmartGauge instrument cluster includes a keyless entry pad, display of growing leaves as you learn to drive without wasting fuel. Seat positions contoured to your comfort are remembered. The standard sound system is great and uses Synch to allow you to use your Droid, iPod, or other music system.

Although the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid costs no more than the standard MKZ, the standard includes 16 cubic feet of trunk space, while the hybrid only includes 11.8 cubic feet.

With the hybrid you sacrifice not having a 60/40 split rear seat that lowers. This matters to people that regularly need the option of added cargo space for sporting goods, home projects, and extra luggage. The standard Lincoln MKZ only delivers 21 mpg; the hybrid 39 mpg.

If you sometimes drive on snowy or icy roads, both the MKZ is available with optional AWD; the MKZ hybrid is not available with AWD. The Lincoln MKZ AWD delivers 19 mpg combined; the Lincoln MKS AWD delivers 20 mpg benefitting from a turbocharged 3.5L engine. Speaking of cold, the front seats of these Lincolns can be heated or cooled to individual comfort year round.

If you love the drive, but can’t quite afford the $34,333, then you can save $7,000 and enjoy the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Of course, it won’t hurt to test drive the alternatives from Lexus and others. For premium features, a luxurious drive, and a non-premium price, the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is hard to beat.

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Specifications

Hybrid Drive System

  • 2.5L iVCT I-4 Atkinson-cycle engine with permanent-magnet AC-synchronous electric motor
  • 191 net horsepower combined from gasoline engine and 2 electric motors
  • Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT)
  • 275-volt sealed nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery
  • Regenerative Braking System (also captures downhill energy)
  • 2011 EPA-estimated fuel economy 41city/36hwy/39 combined mpg
  • 17.5-gal.capacity
  • 2011 EPA 4.8 tons CO2e / year source-to-wheels

Power and Handling

  • AdvanceTrac® ESC (electronic stability control) with brake actuated traction control
  • P225/50VR17 Tires
  • 17″ 9-spoke machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets
  • Mini Spare tire and wheel
  • Power four-wheel disc brakes with Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution and integrated regenerative braking


  • Heated/Cooled 10-Way Power Front Seats with 2-Way Power Lumbar
  • Fixed Rear Seat
  • Heated/Cooled Front Seats
  • Premium Bridge of Weir Leather-Trimmed Seating Surfaces
  • SYNC® In-car Connectivity System
  • Lincoln Premium Sound System
  • Sirius
  • Genuine Wood Appliquès and Door Trim Accents
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with genuine wood accents, speed control and redundant audio controls
  • Leather wrapped shifter knob
  • Front and rear floor mats
  • Dual LCD SmartGauge Cluster with EcoGuide
  • MyKey
  • Ambient Lighting
  • 2 front and 2 rear assist handles
  • Cabin air filtration system
  • Rear window defroster
  • 1st-and 2nd- row dome lamps
  • Auto dimming rearview mirror with microphone and compass
  • (2) 12V powerpoints
  • 110V Powerpoint
  • Manual tilt/telescoping steering column
  • Driver and passenger front illuminated visors with mirrors
  • Global open windows (driver/front passenger)-may be opened with key fob
  • 1 touch up/down driver/passenger side window
  • Audio input jack
  • Remote deck lid release
  • EasyFuel™ capless fuel filler
  • Power door locks
  • Remote keyless entry system with trunk release (fob integrated into key)
  • Universal garage door opener
  • Variable speed windshield wipers
  • Dual zone electronic automatic temperature control (DEATC)
  • Front row center stack with adjustable armrest, 2-tier storage with 2 cupholders
  • Cupholders– 8 total
  • Front Floor Center Console
  • Glove Box


  • Front bumper mounted fog lamps with bright bezels
  • Quad beam headlamps with autolamp on/off delay controls
  • Available Adaptive HID Headlamps
  • Exterior Mirrors
  • Split wing grille
  • Reverse Sensing System
  • LED taillamps
  • Antenna–mounted on rear portion of roof
  • Windshield–Acoustic laminated glass
  • Solar tinted glass
  • Safety
  • Front Seat Side-Impact Airbags
  • Driver’s Knee Airbag
  • Side Curtain Airbags – First and Second Row
  • Beltminder® System
  • Child safety rear door locks
  • Emergency trunk release
  • LATCH (lower anchors and tether anchors for children) system–2nd row
  • SOS Post CrashAlert System
  • Personal Safety System
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad
  • SecuriCode™ Remote Keyless Entry System
  • Battery Saver
  • Perimeter Anti-theft alarm
  • SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System
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About Author: John Addison

Founder of the Clean Fleet Report, author of Save Gas, Save the Planet. John writes about electric cars, renewable energy, and sustainability.

2 thoughts on “2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Test Drive and Review

  1. Electric 38
    December 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    A short “U tube” type video of the test drive might be a good way of showing the features and smoothness of the vehicle.

    Also, the ampere hours of the vehicle -for solar assisted charging.

    Thank you,

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