New Design Debuts at LA Auto Show
A significantly updated 2017 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and its gasoline counterpart made a surprise appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show sporting a new face.
Gone is the horizontal “split wing” grille, replaced by a single-piece mesh design shown on the Lincoln Continental flagship concept at the New York International Auto Show in March. The
Continental goes on sale next September, and the design will be used across the entire lineup according to Lincoln’s design chief, David Woodhouse.
Flanking the new grille are redesigned headlamps, available with full LED lighting. A thin strip of chrome accents the fog lights, lower air vents and larger air dam.
The new model carries forward designs from the 2012 MKZ concept with a lower body line that runs between the front and rear wheels on the bottom of the doors. The backside is nearly identical to the concept as well, with small LED taillamps and an LED bar that crosses the decklid between the lights.
In total, it is a beautiful design that is crafted with attention to detail. On looks alone it is a compelling midsize sedan in the extremely competitive entry luxury market segment.
Thoroughly Updated Interior
The new MKZ’s interior receives a major update as well. It’s highlighted with sumptuous expanses of material designed to present an upscale ambience. Unique is a push-button gearshift that adds to a creative theme in the interior space helping to make the car stand apart from its competition.
Originally pioneered by Volvo, the MKZ has a floating center console that not only provides additional storage space below, but adds to cabin’s elegant appearance. The MyLincoln Touch infotainment system does away with capacitive touch controls in favor of knobs and buttons, a change prompted by owner feedback.
There is an arms-length of options available. The current models enormous-sized, fully retractable panoramic glass roof carries over, and buyers who want a fully loaded MKZ Hybrid can opt for the Harmon high-end Revel audio system with 20 speakers.
Advanced safety tech is becoming the norm, and the 2017 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid keeps pace. Available is park assist and pre-collision assist. Pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control that can bring the car to a complete stop without driver intervention are also offered as cars are evolving toward self-driving capabilities.
In the past, the MKZ Hybrid has been offered with all of the options available on the gasoline model, a rarity with other automakers. We assume Lincoln will continue this practice.
No Changes for 2017 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid System
Under the hood of the non-hybrid version, Lincoln is vaunting an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 producing 400 horsepower, but stands pat with the carry over full hybrid powertrain
from the outgoing car.
The powertrain begins with a lean-burning Atkinson cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Rated output is 141 horsepower and 129 pounds-feet of torque.
The engine’s motivational tasks are shared with a 118 horsepower AC electric traction/generator motor that puts out 177 pounds-feet of torque. When working together, the two power sources deliver 188 system horsepower and an estimated 200 pounds-feet of torque.
Lincoln’s hybrid system is a powersplit design. The gas engine and electric motor can work together in a blended mode or individually to maximize efficiency, depending on sensors that seek the optimal blend of power and fuel economy.
The engine also can function independently of vehicle speed, providing power to the wheels or charging the battery pack by means of regenerative braking as needed.
A planetary gear set directs the power output of the engine, motor or the combination of both to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT) that routes the power to the front wheels.
Completing the system is a 1.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack located in the cargo area.
The system has an EPA fuel economy rating of 41 city/ 39 highway / 40 combined. That’s equal to the top selling midsize luxury hybrid, the Lexus ES 300h.
No Hybrid Premium?
When the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was launched in 2012, it was the only hybrid that sold for zero “hybrid premium” over the base gasoline model, and remains so today. Lincoln has not released
pricing for the 2017 MKZ Hybrid or its optional packages, but the 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid starts at $35,190, so expect to see a base price of around $37,000 or so. Adding on all of the available options will probably increase the pricing closer to the $45,000 mark.
The new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid goes on sale in summer 2016.
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