Lincoln, Ford’s venerable luxury brand, recently released details of its forthcoming 2013 MKZ Hybrid. It is targeted to take on other higher end green car offerings such as the Lexus ES 300h, by pricing for slightly less while offering a comparative set of features and eco drive technology.
The 2013 MKZ Hybrid will price for around $36,000 starting, offering up some new options under the hood which might possibly boost its 41 city/36 highway/39 combined MPG from the 2012 model while at the same time matching the price of its conventional gas sibling, which isn’t something you normally see happening with luxury cars with a hybrid option. Propelling this hybrid on the road is a new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gas engine mated to a 70-kilowatt electric traction motor that can offer a projected total system power of 188 horsepower.
The electric motor is also said to be able to push the car to 62 MPH all by itself, though there’s been no driving range estimate offered as of yet by Lincoln for when one is in the electric only mode. Like many other hybrids and electric cars out there today, the MKZ Hybrid also comes equipped with regenerative braking to help recover energy to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack.
Lincoln, in positioning this car as what it feels is an affordable entry in the luxury green vehicle class, has already found some success with previous year models in bringing new customers into its showrooms. It estimates 72 percent of hybrid buyers were new to the brand last year alone, offering some reinvigorating to a name not typically associated with more fuel efficient cars.
Comparable to the regular 2013 MKZ, Lincoln is offering a range of features in respective equipment groups. For those opting for the “Hybrid Premiere Package,” for example, one would get the Sync infotainment system tied to driver connect technology with an eight-inch screen, leather-trimmed heated front seats and LED headlamps.
Perhaps a more unique feature offering for the hybrid is something called “SmartGauge with EcoGuide.” This is essentially an instrument cluster Lincoln describes as coaching “drivers to become more fuel efficient, creating visual rewards in the form of the growth of virtual flowers on the system’s right-most screen for the driver’s efforts to operate the car in a fuel-efficient manner on a long-term, day-to-day basis.”
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, fuel efficient driving coach included, will be in dealerships in late fall.