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Quick Spin in the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (Review)

2013_Lincoln_MKZ_Hybrid_Review

Lincoln is on the cusp of a reinvention with the first of its new lineup being the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. Over the next four years Lincoln is planning on introducing four new models, which will reportedly include a new small crossover and compact entry-level model. GM managed to turn around Cadillac with sales now at their highest level in years, but can Ford pull the same success story with Lincoln?

Lincoln gave us a chance to get behind the wheel of the new 2013 MKZ Hybrid for a quick drive in New York and although traffic in Manhattan borders on insane, we were able to gather some initial impressions of the MKZ. Comparing the new MKZ to the previous model, shows that Lincoln is at least making a significant attempt at turning things around. While the outgoing MKZ was a pretty boring sedan from many angles, with a strong resemblance to the Fusion on which it was based, the new MKZ is a major departure. The new MKZ gets the Lincoln waterfall grille and an overall exterior that grabs far more attention than the last model. While the last MKZ felt more like an entry-level luxury sedan, the new MKZ's styling is more worthy of its luxury label.

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The MKZ Hybrid's exterior does look good, but its interior was mostly just acceptable. With the exception of the unique push gear selector and panoramic sunroof, the rest of the interior doesn't really stand out. It would have been nice if some of the materials that were used for the center console were higher quality and the navigation system was more frustrating than most.

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The 2013 MKZ is offered with three different powertrain options: a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder, a 3.7L V6 and a hybrid system. The MKZ Hybrid is powered by a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder that is mated to an electric motor and a CVT transmission. The system generates a total 188 horsepower and 129 lb-ft. of torque. The MKZ is rated at 45 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway.

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Over our short 10-11 mile drive through Manhattan, we averaged 38 mpg. This was below the EPA rating, but obviously since the drive was so short we can't say that this would be a true average. The drive did give us a chance to check out the hybrid system. The hybrid system has the ability to travel to travel in EV mode from a start, which will increase its total mpg, but with the A/C on full blast this ability was limited. It would be nice if it was easier to keep the system in EV mode, since most of the time it was a little difficult, even with "light throttle." Lincoln, which is probably reacting to the flack that Ford has received for its hybrid models, was quick to point out reasons why the MKZ hybrid may not achieve its 45 mpg rating. The climate control system was one of the big reasons as well as more obvious reasons like vehicle speed and driving styles.

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How does the rest of the MKZ Hybrid drive? Lincoln targeted the Lexus ES as the MKZ's main competition, but left off other major competitors from brands like Cadillac, Buick and Acura. On our quick drive the MKZ Hybrid's suspension swallowed most of Manhattan's crazy potholes and road imperfections. Was it sporty? Definitely not. The power steering was over boosted and its suspension was not firm enough to grab any sporty labels. It's interior was quiet and overall the MKZ Hybrid was comfortable and easy to operate. The push button gear selector was an interesting touch and if you select the panoramic roof option, your passengers will love the extra view. At the end of the short drive, we walked away wishing for more from the MKZ. It's stylish exterior can only take it so far and overall we'd hoped for a more "reinvented" Lincoln. We still have high hopes for the MKC crossover...

2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Base Price: $35,925
Price as Tested: $42,850

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