2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid -Test Drive, Spec, Rating, Price

Hybrd 2.0The Lincoln MKZ hits the spot where it matters most

The hybrid shopping lane isn’t exactly where you would find bargains. The Ford Fusion Hybrid  would set you back in the near $40k range with added options. Lincoln’s sales mission is to convince you that the Lincoln MKZ hybrid version is just that much better for an extra $10k.

front grille hybrid 2.0 pearl white

If you’ve driven the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the first and foremost questions you might ask is, why the Lincoln MKZ? Strapping on nearly the exact same hybrid platform as the Fusion Hybrid, it’s even harder to justify the added cost. But with just a bit of effort to spot the differences, I think the Lincoln MKZ makes up for its price point. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a rock solid four-door sedan boasting premium qualities and looks inside out.

Modern Flare

On the outside, the Lincoln MKZ retains its signature looks but with a modern flare. Up front lies the split-wing grille with integrated headlamps. Side panels are kept simple with minimal and strait line contours to retain a mature look.

Where things get interesting is the sloping rooftop silhouette with its rear side vertexes converging into the rear trunk lines. Its low hanging side skirts, short trunk dimensions, and various chrome emblems give the Lincoln MKZ a bold stance with a mixed inspiration of luxury and performance.

2.0 hybrid pearl white

The inside’s even better

Where you can appreciate most in the Lincoln MKZ is the interior cabin space. All panel materials are layered with ultra dense and quality material with an overall black color congruence accustomed with mahogany wood. The seats are obviously where you spend the most time in a car, and the Lincoln MKZ made the best out of them with its dubbed “leather seating surfaces”. And speaking of which, they are as comfortable as any seats you’ll find in the luxury class.

Leather Interior

What I disliked about the Ford Fusion interior was the dark and gloomy interior cabin space. I was pleased that the Lincoln MKZ addressed this problem with its panoramic sunroof filling in an abundance of natural light into the cabin space.  But the sweetness doesn’t end there.  The entire panoramic sunroof sheet glass retracts, offering a convertible-like experience – a pretty unique and enjoyable luxury feature.

Retractable panoramic Sunroof

Center console in the LIncoln MKZ is the most streamline layout you will possibly find with virtually no protruding buttons or knobs. The end result is a solid one piece panel that seamlessly flows from the top of the center heating vents all the way down to the arm rest. And this is made possible with its clever vertical PRNDL button layout grabbing onto the side of the center instrument panel.MyLincoln Touch Center Console

An exclusive feature to the Lincoln MKZ is the THX II audio system. What’s unique about this audio system is its integrated center speaker capable of delivering a much richer mid-range sound dynamics and a high quality audio experience.
THX Audio

 

No car is perfect, and none will ever be. The rear sloping silhouette does gives the Lincoln MKZ a strikingly bold look, but compromises the rear seat headroom.

Leather Steering Wheel

 

Strangely enough, Lincoln missed a few easily fixable quirks that crept up on our radar. To name a few, button control on the steering wheel feels like very cheap plastic and the electric park brake lever is awkwardly placed under driver’s fire well with the lever part pulled out from Ford’s reject inventory bin.

 Leather Interior Steering Wheel

Powertrain Configuration

Torque factory remains identical to the Ford Fusion Hybrid powertrain.  Under the hood lies Ford’s relished 2.0L I-4 Atkinson cycle engine producing a net 188 horsepower.  What’s new and improved from last year’s hybrid powertrain design is the 1.4kWh lithium ion battery pack whose technology proves to be lighter and and more reliable.  Lincoln press claims that with the new battery pack, the MKZ can travel up to 85 mph on full electric mode. As enticing as the numbers look, rarely would you ever achieve this specification feat as you would have to accelerate ever so slowly.  But during our drive, we did notice the Lincoln MKZ was very capable in retaining itself in EV mode despite its minute battery pack.

2.0 Hybrid

To go Hybrid or Not

Interestingly, the starting price point for the gasoline and hybrid powertrain configuration are both exactly the same (for the 2.0l 4 cylinder engine).  Engine configuration is offered in 2 flavors – a 2.0L I-4 Ecoboost engine producing 231 and 270 ft.lbs of torque and a more fiesty 3.7l V6 producing 300 horsepower and 277 ft.lbs of torque.  The obvious question lies in whether you are willing to compromise power over fuel efficiency.

Rear Spoiler

We haven’t test drove a gasoline powered Lincoln MKZ, but from our experience with the Ford Fusion, you can expect more power from low speed acceleration but with torque-gasm quickly depreciating.  Looking at the engine specs, the larger 3.7l engine actually only has 7 ft-lbs of torque, so the fun factor isn’t much better either; although you’ll be able to hit higher speed ranges within a shorter period.

Driving Impressions and Final Thoughts

Because the powertrain configuration is shared between the Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKZ have very similar driving characteristics.  But there is a substantial improvement in both drivability and handling in the Lincoln MKZ.  This is made possible thanks to its dynamically controlled suspension damping system.  In addition to that, the on-board electric power steering sytem is also finer tuned to accommodate the new suspension setup.

2.0 Hybrid

In our review on the Ford Fusion, the suspensions were simply not up to snuff with an overall lazy damping characteristics offering compasthetic comfort level while struggling with handling and agility.  What you can expect from the duo-technology upgrade in the Lincon MKZ is substantially improved drive comfort with sharper handling.  Steering precision is also improved with a good heavy feel to it.  The Lincoln MKZ does lack a bit in terms of agility, and the added 1.4Kwh lithium ion battery pack is mostly to be blamed.  Test driving the agility aspects of the Lincoln MKZ would be an interesting experiment with a lighter gasoline powered powertrain.

2.0 Hybrid white

So the bottom final question is, do I think the Lincoln MKZ is worth the extra 10k on top of the Ford Fusion Hybrid?  My answer is a definitive yes.  Everything from the quality to looks are well executed in the Lincoln MKZ, and it very much deserves the luxury badge.  I really enjoyed the ultra solid interior and exceptional ride comfort and handling.  The combination of pure EV mode and interior sound isolation blocks out any undesirable wind and road noise were also factors added to the positive driving experience.  But ultimately, what I appreciated most were the exotic looks with its massive retractable panoramic sunroof.  The Lincoln MKZ has both the looks and feel, and that’s exactly what won my heart.

2.0 Hybrid White Rectactable panoramic sunroof

 

Specifications

  • Vehicle : 2014 Lincoln MKZ
  • Model : MKZ Hybrid
  • Price as Tested : $50,350
  • Vehicle Type : Luxury Sedan
  • Seating Capacity : 2+3
  • Powertrain Configuration : FWD
  • Engine : 2.0L I4 HEV Engine
  • Transmission : E-CVT
  • Horsepower : 188 Hp (Net)
  • Torque: 129 lb.ft @ 400 RPM
  • Fuel Economy: 41/39/40 city/highway/combined
  • Wheelbase : 112.2″
  • Height : 58.1″
  • Width : 73.4″
  • Additional Features : MyLincoln Touch Infotainment addon, Front and Rear proximity sensing system, Rearview Camera, Panoramic Sunroof

Pros

  • Exotic looks inside out
  • Superior and durable interior quality in cabin space
  • Good balance of drive comfort and handling thanks to dynamic damping suspension system.
  • Awesome panoramic retractable sunroof
  • Amazing sound quality thanks to THX audio system.

Cons

  • Expensive.  Tested model is priced in at 50k
  • Minor quirks with steering wheel buttons and park brake interface
  • Diminished headroom in rear seats.

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