Lincoln’s mid-size MKZ sedan, which shares a platform with the Ford Fusion, was given a makeover two years ago and was first offered as a hybrid in 2011. The MKZ Hybrid features a 2.5-
liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine mated to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, the same technology used in the Ford Escape and Fusion hybrids. The 40-hp electric motor will take you as fast as 47 mph before gasoline assistance kicks in. The MKZ Hybrid comes with the usual bells and whistles, such as SmartGauge with EcoGuide to monitor how green your driving behavior is. It is rated at 41 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel efficient luxury sedan on the market, handily beating the Lexus HS250h (although it can’t quite match the efficiency of the Lexus CT200h hatchback). If a hybrid just isn’t your thing, there is an available gasoline V-6 powerplant that produces a more-than-adequate 263 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. With the V-6, buyers can choose either front- or all-wheel-drive propulsion. Options include Sync AppLink voice-activated navigation, a rearview camera, a blind-spot information system, and adaptive HID headlamps. The luxurious cabin features upgraded materials and is trimmed in aluminum or wood (depending on which package you order). As before, a host of safety and high-tech features is available.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: MKZ FWD, MKZ AWD, MKZ Hybrid
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engines: 2.5L I-4/electric hybrid, 156 hp, 136 lb-ft
3.5L V-6, 263 hp, 249 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic, continuously variable
Passenger volume: 99.0 cu ft
Cargo space: 16.5 cu ft

For 2012, Lincoln is giving the MKZ subtle upgrades to make it more competitive. For example, heated and cooled seats are now standard, and Sync AppLink is available. Two new exterior colors are available for 2012: crystal champagne and cinnamon.

Dual-stage front air bags, side air bags, stability and traction control, programmable MyKey, front seatbelt pretensioners, a tire-pressure monitoring system, ABS, automatic headlamps, and a reverse sensing system are standard. A driver’s knee air bag, adaptive headlamps, a blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert, and a rearview camera are optional.

All: 17-41 mpg city/25-36 mpg highway

  • Hybrid is a no-cost option
  • THX sound system
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Drives like a Ford Fusion
  • Least credible Lincoln

Hybrid MKZ is your best bet.

  • Audi A4
  • Buick Regal
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Lexus HS250h
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