Quick Drive: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

By Winding Road Staff

July 08, 2011

To me, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid feels like a much different car than the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Not that it really drives any differently, but it just has a different atmosphere inside the cabin. Touches like the leather, wood trim, and generally higher-quality materials immediately set it apart. The general comfort level is uplifted a bit, and the inclusion of features like the multi-way power seats and easy-to-use climate control are on hand to make the occupants feel like they’re in a more luxurious vehicle. It’s things like this that make Lincoln feel like its own brand—a case for Ford to keep it.

The MKZ makes a nice package to include hybrid technology. It’s a smooth car, and start/stop and EV mode only help to make it feel smoother, quieter, and more comfortable. Like the Fusion Hybrid, it includes the SmartGauge cluster with EcoGuide (the instrument that displays power flow, fuel economy, and the graphic of the leaves that grow when you drive economically). Even as the car ages, the hybrid driving experience still feels quite fresh.

—John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor

While I agree that the MKZ experience is marginally more luxurious than that of the still-well-turned-out Fusion hybrid, my contention has always been that I’d rather have the Ford and pocket the extra cash.

Because these cars are more or less identical from a mechanical standpoint, and pretty difficult to separate from a driving perspective (save the better NVH sorting of the MKZ), the question becomes one of styling and a little bit of optional equipment. Fusion offers just about every option I’d want in a hybrid of this class, and it starts at about six-thousand less than the MKZ, making the suite of equipment like heated/cooled seats, leather, and better audio too pricey from my tastes.

I appreciate that, these days, there are sporty hybrids (Infiniti M35h), luxurious hybrids (BMW ActiveHybrid 750i), and personal hybrids (Honda CR-Z), but in the world of bread-and-butter, frugal-driver hybrids (Toyota Prius) I’ll save my pennies with the mildly less posh Fusion.

—Seyth Miersma, Editor-in-Chief


High-quality interior affords good level of comfort
A quiet, refined experience, especially on the highway
One of very few decent-sized, luxury hybrids available for under $40,000


Powertrain not as sprightly than we’d like for a luxury cruiser
Too expensive relative to Ford Fusion sibling
Buick LaCrosse eAssist will be out soon, and is likely to be really competitive