2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: Prototype of the luxury car of the future?

11 Jun 2014 | 1,895 views | No Comment
     By Don Hammonds      If we had to describe the 2014 Lincoln MKZ it would the word "futuristic."      I can't think of a single piece of usable new technology that this car  does not have, and if Lincoln officials are ;looking for a new way to sell it, that's the angle to use as far as we aer concerned.       When you enter this car, you notice the unusual contour of the seats, the sweeping dashboard and console that look as though they belong in one of Ford Motor Company's showcase concept car.       Now where's the key hole? you might wonder. Well....there isn't one.  There's a push button to start the car, and when you do so, you're not going to hear much of anything to indicate the car is running, at least if you are driving the hybrid version. Thankfully, Lincoln has provided you with a little dashboard heads up to let youknow it is now safe to drive off.       Okay, but where's the shifter? you ask.         It shifts via pushbutton--there's one button for each gear, and just select whichever one you prefer. It's the first production car in I don't know how long to rely on pushbuttons for gear changing.  Other cars use round knobs and gizmos, some use electronic shifters, but this one uses buttons.  Cool!  Another futuristic feature for Lincoln.   Then there are the other things like a regenerative brake system, hill start assist,  perimeter anti theft system, electronic parking brake, active noise control,  reverse sensing system, navigation system,  BLIS with cross traffic alert, active parking assist that allows the car to park itself, and on and on.      I say let the other luxury brands position themselves as they will, but it makes sense to pitch the Lincoln MKZ to those discriminating few who believe a luxury car is far more than  a bunch of bling, a frighteningly fast engine, and every creature comfort imaginable.  It is also a type of car which should have--as Lincoln has-- the latest in technology to offer safety, convenience and pleasure.  Our example was painted a lovely color called platinum Dune TriCoat, with a Hazelnut perforated leather interior. Base price was $36,190, which includes much of the aforementioned equipment except for the traffic alert system, navigation, technology system, rear view video camera, etc. Standard equipment also includes adaptive LED headlamps, heated mirrors, split wing grille, Sync with Lincoln Touch, satellite radio, anti-lock braking system, traction control, hill start assist, and a host of air bags, among other things.        Our car was a hybrid, so it was powered by a 2.0 liter I-4 with the electric hybrid system, both of which combined to provide 188 horsepower.  The transmission was a six speed automatic continuously variable transmission.           The ratings for the hybrid model for fuel economy are 45 city, 45 highway, and 45 combined.  By buying this car you save a whopping $5,750 in fuel costs over a five year period. Cost estimates area are  based on 15,000 miles a a year at $3.50 a gallon. Annual fuel cost is $1,150 a year.  Other engines available  for the Lincoln MKZ gasoline powered version  include a 2.0 liter turbocharged four with 240 horsepower, and a 3.7 liter V6, producing 300 horsepower.     We may as well tackle another subject here--the criticism that the MKZ is too much like the Fusion on which it is based.       We're having a hard time figuring out what the rest of the motoring press is talking about. First, it looks nothing like a Ford Fusion other than some aspects of the roof profile, the interior is totally different, rather softer and more subdued than the Fusion's more rugged, muscular ambiance to its interior. So what are these writers talking about?      There were two criticisms that we had of the Lincoln MKZ. One is the Sync climate control and audio system. Regular readers are quite aware of the problems we have with the system, including difficulty getting it to do what we wished regardless of whether we touch it or use voice control.  It simply needs to be redesigned or replaced. End of discussion.  We couldn't even get our Bluetooth system to work no matter how hard we followed the owners manual.       Then there's the general tone and tenor of the hybrid version.   The start/stop function seemed jerkier and clunkier than some of its luxury counterparts, and there also were some uneven, bothersome moments as the car was underway.  It must didn't seem to have the ambiance of a true luxury car when on the road, and we strongly suspect that the gasoline version is much smoother and akin to what most people expect from a luxury car. The Lincoln MKZ comes with the Lincoln Commitment Owner Benefits Package which includes a four year/50,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty, six year, 70,000 mile powertrain warranty, 6 year, 70,000 mile 24 hour roadside assistance,  and complimentary scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,00 miles.      The Lincon MKZ is a good car that only needs a few adjustments here and there to make it a great car.      

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