While Toyota has led the hybrid market with the Prius, Ford has come on very strong in recent years. The previous generation Ford Fusion Hybrid was the first model, and it has made a big impact. Lincoln also got in on the game early with the Fusion’s sibling, the MKZ Hybrid.
Even as the previous-generation standard MKZ flailed, the Hybrid model made some important headway in California and other import-dominated markets. That’s because Lexus didn’t pursue the hybrid market with the ES, instead trying its hand with dedicated models like the now-cancelled and slow selling CT 200h.
With the 2013 Lexus ES, they’ve come around to conventional wisdom and added a Hybrid model. Lincoln doesn’t intend to cede anything to Lexus though, just announcing mileage figures for the 2013 MKZ Hybrid model. This car is a big win for Lincoln, as it bests the ES hybrid by every measure. The MKZ Hybrid returns 45 mpg across the board – city, highway and combined. That is 5 mpg better in the city and 6 mpg better on the highway than the all-new ES Hybrid.
The story doesn’t stop there though – the ES Hybrid is significantly more expensive, costing $2,750 more than the standard gas ES. Lincoln was the first automaker to offer its hybrid model at the same price as the standard model. Buick does this as well, but its with eAssist – a much less costly mild hybrid system. The MKZ offers a wealth of powertrain options – 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, hybrid four-cylinder and a top-end V-6 model. While the MKZ is unlikely to steal any sales from Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, the car is a prime competitor to the Lexus ES. We could see the hybrid doing well in particular, as it is the MKZ’s trump card. At 45 MPG, Lincoln says the MKZ Hybrid is the most efficient luxury hybrid in America – even besting smaller models like the CT 200h. We’re eager to see how it fares in real-life testing.