When we take a hard look at the current Lincoln lineup, we see some issues. For starters, the Navigator, MKS, MKT, MKX and MKZ aren't exactly setting the sales charts on fire. Come to think of it, we just listed the entire Lincoln lineup. Okay, so Ford's luxury marquee can easily be likened to a well-heeled slice of Swiss cheese, but we have proof that The Blue Oval is trying to breath new life into the brand. We loved the MKT, the 2011 MKX looks extremely promising and it looks like the four-pointed star is getting into the hybrid business as well.
The Detroit News reports that Lincoln will debut a hybrid MKZ this week at the New York Auto Show. The MKZ will likely share the same powertrain as the Ford Fusion Hybrid; a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle mill mated to an eCVT transmission, along with an electric motor drawing power from a 275-volt nickel metal hydride battery pack. The MKZ hybrid will be the first battery-assisted model in the Lincoln lineup, giving Ford a luxury hybrid competitor to the Lexus HS 250h.
And if the MKZ does in fact carry the same powertrain as its more pedestrian sibling in the Ford dealership, the Lincoln should have more than competitive fuel economy. The HS 250h is rated at 35 miles per gallon city and 34 miles per gallon highway, while the Fusion Hybrid manages a 41/36 mix. The MKZ is a big bigger, too, and price should be comparable. Also helping the MKZ's case for life is the fact that Lincolns carry higher MSRPs than the typical Ford or Mercury, giving The Blue Oval a theoretically bigger margin with which to make a profit.
The down side to the MKZ hybrid is the fact that Ford is pretty well restricted on how many hybrids it can produce. Unless Ford has struck a deal to increase its hybrid powertrain output, the MKZ will simply shift the allocation of hybrids in the Ford family instead of adding to the overall totals. We're also very interested to see if Ford strives to differentiate the MKZ from its more pedestrian siblings to better-justify the undoubtedly higher price tag that comes with the Lincoln badge. We'll be staked out at the New York auto show for the chance to know for sure.
[Source: The Detroit News via The Truth About Cars]