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2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid boasts luxury plus efficiency, but is it enough?

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2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid boasts luxury plus efficiency, but is it enough?

by Steven J. Ewing (RSS feed) on Mar 31st 2010 at 12:01AM

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Earlier this week we reported that Ford had plans to repurpose its very well-received hybrid powertrain in the Lincoln MKZ. Makes sense, right? Both the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan (sister cars of the MKZ) benefit from the fuel-sipping mill, and by adding a bit of electric power to the Lincoln lineup, Ford is hoping to attract more buyers into its luxury division's showrooms. What's more, since Lincoln vehicles carry higher price points than comparable Ford or Mercury products, the return on this hybrid investment means a larger profit margin for the automaker as a whole.

Well, now it's official. For the 2011 model year, the Lincoln MKZ will offer the award-winning 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline/electric powertrain from the Fusion and Milan hybrids, good for up to 41 miles per gallon in the city. In doing this, Lincoln aims to compete directly with the recently introduced Lexus HS250h, and since the MKZ will net six more MPGs than the HS, it can safely take the title of most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America. What's more, the MKZ is slightly larger than the Lexus, and if Ford plays its cards right, we wouldn't be surprised if the MKZ Hybrid is less expensive than the HS, as well.

Aside from the powertrain, the new hybrid doesn't differ too much from the rest of the MKZ range. Plenty of standard amenities are on tap, such as the cool-looking SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a reverse sensing system, heated and cooled front seats, Ford's MyKey system and – of course – SYNC.

But the big question surrounding the MKZ Hybrid isn't how well it will perform against the Lexus, but if it will carry enough extra kit to significantly differentiate it from a Fusion or Milan with the same powertrain. Consumers who are only looking for efficiency might be willing to sacrifice certain luxury amenities to save money, and this dilemma has always affected MKZ sales. Still, luxury-minted customers would be wise to look at this as an alternative option to the HS250h, and we'll keep a close eye on sales numbers when the MKZ Hybrid goes on sale later this year. For now, hit the jump to read the full details in the press release, and click through our gallery below to see the electrified MKZ for yourself.



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