It's still a small field, but the class of mid-size luxury hybrids will have a new king later this year: it's the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which Lincoln predicts will have class-leading fuel economy.
It's been a few months since Ford predicted that the Fusion Hybrid would achieve 47 mpg in the city and 44 on the highway, and in the months since we've heard about how the company's C-Max Hybrid and Energi will achieve stellar fuel economy. But it's now the turn of the Fusion-based 2013 Lincoln MKZ, which Ford Motor Company predicts will achieve 45 mpg in the city, on the highway, and as a combined rating.
Lincoln spokespeople said as much on their media tour of the Monterey Peninsula in the run up to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on Sunday. Automobile editor-in-chief Jean Jennings put the news on Twitter, and we confirmed the numbers with Ford representatives back in Michigan.
One caveat: these numbers are projected, and therefore unconfirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency. If they hold, the 45 mpg number is enough to dwarf its two closest competitors, the Lexus ES Hybrid, which gets 40 mpg city / 39 mpg highway / 40 mpg combined, and the Buick LaCrosse eAssist (i.e. mild hybrid), which scores a 25-mpg city and 36-mpg highway rating. It's also considerably more than the 36-mpg city / 41-mpg highway / 39-mpg combined rating that the last MKZ Hybrid achieved.
The MKZ Hybrid will reach Lincoln dealers later this year at a projected base price of $36,800.
Source: Lincoln, via Twitter