There’s a lot to like about the new 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid — the sleek design, the elegant and stylish interior, the quiet and efficient response on the road — but the best thing about it is that you don’t have to lay out extra bucks to get the fuel efficient technology; the hybrid carries the same price tag as the gasoline-powered MKZ and Lincoln is the only car manufacturer to do that.
I also like the fact that if you buy the MKZ Hybrid, you get the same key features as consumers who by the gasoline version. For example, if want the Hybrid Premiere Package, you get SYNC with MyLincoln Touch with an eight-inch touch screen, leather-trimmed and heated front seats, LED headlights and Lincoln Drive Control, which controls the performance of multiple systems on the car — including suspension, steering and noise control — to deliver exceptional driving and handling.
The new MKZ Hybrid also comes with new next-generation lithium-ion batteries that weigh less and generate more power than the previous nickel-metal-hydride batteries. And the onboard 2.0 liter Atkinsoncycle four-cylinder gas engine delivers better performance and is more efficient than the earlier 2.5-liter unit, while the 70-kilowatt electric traction motor by itself can power the car to speeds up to 85 mph.
The electric motor during launch allows for a smaller gasoline engine and significantly reduces fuel use, and when it is used as a generator it helps recover vehicle energy during deceleration or braking to recharge the battery pack.
Another interesting feature on the new MKZ is the push-button shift on the dashboard. The contemporary five-button interface replaces the traditional mechanical transmission shift lever. I must admit that it does take some getting used to and it may cause some to recall the days of the Edsel and the push button transmission controls in the center of the steering wheel.
The 2014 Lincoln MKZ also has an available retractable panoramic roof, along with inflatable rear seat belts and multicontour front seats with Active Motion. The retractable panoramic roof is comprised of a 15.2 square-foot glass panel and it is one of the largest retractable roofs on the market today.
Other available features include the THX II Certified Audio System, with 700 watts, 14 channels and 14 speakers. And the MKZ also offers inflatable outboard rear seat belts that have been designed to spread impact forces across more than five times the area of conventional belts, thus reducing pressure on the chest while helping to control head and neck motion, and reduce the risk of injuries.
The MSRP on the 2014 Lincoln MKZ ranges from $36,190 to $38,080.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.