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#11

in 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,592 - $20,592
Original MSRP: $34,755 - $34,755
MPG: 41 City / 36 Hwy
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2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

While it certainly isn’t a sport sedan, reviewers are impressed with the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s performance. Acceleration, though not overwhelming, is adequate, and the fuel economy is very impressive. And although you shouldn’t expect the MKZ Hybrid to carve canyons, reviewers say it’s still a composed hybrid car, with driving dynamics that are more adept and rewarding than the Lexus HS, but not as lively as the Chevrolet Volt.

  • "Base or Hybrid, these sedans are not as composed overall as the class-leading Lexus ES, though they are close. MKZ does not absorb small pavement imperfections quite as well as a comfort-oriented premium car should." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Around town, the sedan is quiet, with plenty of low-end torque on tap for jousting with traffic." -- MSN 
  • "When we recognized the Fusion hybrid as a 10Best winner in 2010, we noted that ‘you can drive it for fun (a hybrid first) or for mileage -- which is also fun.’ This applies verbatim to the MKZ hybrid." -- Car and Driver
  • "Of course, those shopping for a luxury hybrid will be most interested in what's going on under the hood, and to that end, the new Lincoln hybrid is no disappointment." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with an electric motor. Together, the two make 191 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. Power goes to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that a few reviewers say is unrefined during hard acceleration. Overall though, reviewers like the powertrain, which can go up to 47 miles per hour on electric power alone.

When it comes to fuel economy, the Lincoln MKZ hybrid doesn’t disappoint. The EPA estimates that the MKZ Hybrid gets 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway. Although the Chevrolet Volt can travel longer distances on electric power alone, the MKZ Hybrid sips less fuel in the city after the Volt fires up its gas engine.

  • "MKZ Hybrid behaves much like its Ford Fusion sibling. Its powertrain is very well integrated, providing smooth transitions between electric only and gas/electric power. The CVT can be slow to react to throttle inputs, meaning you need to plan ahead for passing and merging maneuvers." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2012 Lincoln MKZ is a leader in its adaptation of a hybrid drivetrain to near-luxury architecture. And the result is compelling, with 191 total system horsepower and an EPA city fuel-economy rating of 41 miles per gallon." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Our only complaint is with the sound of the continuously variable transmission. While a CVT is almost required to achieve this kind of fuel economy, this one is loud under acceleration, which is out of place in a luxury car." -- MSN 
  • "Sure, it gives up 72 hp to the V-6 model, but the hybrid’s acceleration is more than adequate." -- Car and Driver
  • "Those aren't just admirable figures. They beat the MKZ Hybrid's closest competition, the Lexus HS250h, by a wide margin -- mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway. In fact, it would be hard to make a case for the baby Lexus now that Lincoln has stepped into the hybrid ring." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Right away we noticed that the MKZ Hybrid's transition from electric motor to gas engine was almost imperceptible." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

While the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid doesn’t handle as well as its sport sedan-minded rivals within the upscale midsize car class, reviewers say that it performs adequately for daily commutes. More importantly, the vast majority of reviewers agree that it’s a better handler than its main rival, the Lexus HS.

  • "Hybrid models are heavier and feel that way on the road, but they're never unwieldy." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Off-center steering motions are Lexus-liquidy; the ride's absorbency suggests the sponges in the suspension are from Neiman Marcus; and the brake pedal says this is a luxury car being stopped with virtually no regen-braking sensation. Frankly, I'm floored that such a personality metamorphosis can be accomplished almost solely by rewriting software." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Finally, and like most hybrids, the brake pedal on the MKZ isn't as firm as we'd like. In stop-and-go traffic, the pedal lacks the controllability of the V6 model, which makes it less than confidence-inspiring." -- MSN
  • "As Lincolns go, the MKZ has always been a fairly flat-cornering machine, and the hybrid version of the sedan is no different. We wouldn't recommend showing up to your local autocross event with this cruiser, but it's certainly more of an engaging drive than the previously-mentioned HS250h." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "While incredibly comfortable over broken pavement, the MKZ Hybrid doesn't deliver the typical slosh-and-dive indicative of prehistoric American luxury products. Its electronic systems and suspension are all well-matched for a finished product that's very well-rounded." -- Autoblog

Next Steps: 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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