While Ford has poured a lot of money into the Lincoln brand over the past few years, with new products and designs, the Blue Oval hasn’t seen much return on its investment. Now, however, it may just have a plan that could work: It’s called the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and it just so happens to be the most fuel efficient luxury car in America.
Ford is not only hoping the hybrid buzz will get buyers into Lincoln showrooms, but its hoping that right now it can conquest sales from Lexus. Plus, as the MKZ Hybrid uses the same hybrid setup found in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the higher asking price and profit margin on Lincoln products will put more money in Ford’s coffers.
As mentioned, this is the very setup found in the Fusion, which shares its platform with the MKZ and Mercury Milan. So it’s not exactly new, but that doesn’t mean it’s not impressive. Remember, the engine won awards in the Fusion and is still one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road with a 41/36 mpg (city/highway) rating. That being said, it out-greens the Lexus HS250h (its closest competitor) by a considerable margin.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid will also come with plenty of standard technology and safety systems, such as a reverse sensing system, heated and cooled front seats, Ford’s MyKey system and SYNC. Plus it gets a version of the SmartGauge with EcoGuide on the dash. Lincoln is hoping all this will help it compete with the Lexus HS, however, we doubtful the Lincoln can compare to the Lexus’ luxury and build quality not to mention the fact that the Lexus also offers some truly impressive (if expensive) technology features. What the MKZ offers, however, is better fuel economy and more usable space.
The real competitor for the MKZ Hybrid may just remain its two siblings, which have always drawn customers down market with similar product offerings at a lower price point.
One of the biggest factors will be the car’s price, which Ford says will be released later this year when the MKZ Hybrid officially goes on sale.
Lincoln will officially debut the car later today at the New York Auto Show and AutoGuide will be on hand to bring you more info and plenty of live photos.
For up-to-date New York Auto Show coverage, see the link below:
GALLERY: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Official release after the jump:
LINCOLN INTRODUCES FIRST HYBRID; NEW MKZ HYBRID TO BE MOST FUEL-EFFICIENT LUXURY SEDAN IN AMERICA
NEW YORK, March 31, 2010 – Lincoln today introduces its first hybrid – the new 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – a premium midsize car poised to be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America.
Ford Motor Company – America’s largest domestic hybrid seller – is further broadening its aggressive electrification plan and second generation of hybrid technology with the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The vehicle is revealed today at the New York International Auto Show.
“Lincoln’s hallmarks are design, technology and comfort. Now, Lincoln also delivers the best fuel efficiency of any luxury sedan in America,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas.
Lincoln’s first-ever hybrid is expected to deliver at least 41 miles per gallon in the city when it goes on sale this fall. • New 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid expected to be most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America
• Lincoln MKZ Hybrid takes SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide to next level, offering drivers enhanced positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance
• More standard luxury, technologies and segment-exclusive safety features in the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid help it top its nearest competitor, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h
The new premium midsize sedan hybrid joins Ford Motor Company’s growing lineup of hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid – 2010 North American Car of the Year and America’s most fuel-efficient sedan – plus the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Milan and Mariner Hybrids.
Introduction of the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also complements Ford’s aggressive global electrification plan. Ford is introducing five new electrified vehicles by 2013. They include the Transit Connect Electric in late 2010, the Focus Electric in 2011, a next-generation hybrid electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2012, followed by another next- generation hybrid electric vehicle in 2013.
The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s projected fuel economy tops its nearest competitor – the 2010 Lexus HS 250h – by 6 mpg. It also trumps the Lexus with room for one more passenger and more standard luxury and segment-exclusive safety features.
“Today’s luxury customers do not want to make sacrifices. Lincoln has found a way to deliver a luxury sedan with the comforts they expect, the technology they want and the environmental responsibility society demands,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president, Global Product Development.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, named one of Ward’s 2010 “10 Best Engines.”
The system combines the best attributes of the gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors to deliver optimal performance and fuel economy.
Industry-leading fuel economy comes without sacrificing power. The combined gasoline engine and electric motor provide 191 net horsepower. Plus, the pure electric mode on the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid extends to 47 mph – compared with the Lexus HS 250h battery-only mode, which
reaches just 25 mph. More standard luxury The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid comes standard with features and technologies that are either not offered on the Lexus HS 250h or are available only at an extra cost. They include: • SmartGauge with EcoGuide – Ford’s highly successful interactive technology provides real-time information to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency, and coaches drivers on how to optimize hybrid performance. Lincoln takes SmartGauge to the next level of engagement by giving drivers enhanced positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance through the “growth” of virtual small flowers on the system’s right-most screen. Lincoln’s white flowers, inspired by apple blossoms, remain permanently unless long-term fuel economy is reset.
• Lincoln SYNC® – The Lincoln-exclusive voice-activated communications and entertainment system provides an omnipresent link to contacts and information. In addition to Bluetooth® phone, audible text and MP3 player capabilities, Lincoln customers also can access Vehicle Health Report and 911 Assist™.
• 10-Way Power Passenger Seat – This seat is designed to accommodate a diverse group of passengers. Memory functions enable passengers to fine-tune and recall their positions.
• Power Driver Memory Seat Settings – The driver seat memory feature helps ensure personal seating preferences anytime, with the touch of a button.
• Heated and Cooled Front Seats – This uniquely engineered system delivers exceptional heating and cooling comfort.
• Genuine Wood Trim – In addition to their exquisite appearance, the Swirl Walnut and Olive Ash wood trims offered in the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid are eco-friendly as well. The veneers come from well-managed forests, as defined by strict environmental, social and economic standards, and from other rigorously controlled sources.
• Reverse Sensing System – This system senses what drivers might not see behind them and relays an audible alert if objects are near, which increases in frequency the closer a driver gets.
• Keyless Entry Keypad – This Lincoln-exclusive feature provides secure entry at a driver’s fingertips. A personal combination holds a memory for driver preferences. So if an owner is out for a run and doesn’t want to take the keys along, the vehicle can be opened with the touch of a few buttons.
• Easy Fuel® Capless Fuel-Filler – This Lincoln-exclusive feature uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap. That means no more fumbling to remove and tighten the cap and less fuel odor on a driver’s hands at the
pump. • Personal Safety System™ – A Lincoln-exclusive suite of seven protection technologies works together as a system to help protect vehicle occupants. The system includes dual- stage front air bags and an occupant classification system to sense whether the passenger seat is occupied. It tailors – or suppresses – air bag deployment to help provide an appropriate level of protection. It also features the Ford Belt-Minder® system to remind front-seat occupants to buckle up.
• MyKey™ – This Lincoln-exclusive feature allows parents to program a key to limit speed and audio volume to encourage teens to drive safer and improve fuel efficiency. It also encourages seat belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings, and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 mph.
• Integrated Spotter Mirrors – The traditional side-view mirrors are designed with a secondary convex spotter mirror in the top outer corner, which provides a view of the driver’s blind spot. When traffic enters the driver’s blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it is visible in the secondary convex mirror, alerting the driver of obstacles.
• Acoustic Laminated Windshield – This windshield features a layer of sound-absorbent vinyl sandwiched between two sheets of glass, which enhances interior quietness.
The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also includes standard Bridge of Weir leather seats. The world- renowned luxury leather from Scotland is unembossed, allowing the natural beauty and character of the grain to shine through. The leather is milled for up to 12 hours to ensure a soft hand, and Bridge of Weir uses a chromium-free tanning process, which makes it easier to recycle.