To say that the classic Lincoln driver was dying off may be a tad harsh—but not disingenuous. To attract the modern freethinker with money, Ford’s Lincoln team had to reinvent the brand.
The experiment is underway. Now, the 2013 MKZ is the first vehicle wearing the new suit, designed by a dedicated Lincoln studio in Dearborn Michigan. The whole transformation is being carefully orchestrated, soup to nuts, with an advertising/branding agency in New York that was formed strictly to service the Lincoln name.
This week a few auto writers were given a taste of the new MKZ Hybrid.
The MKZ’s outward shape is sexy, crisp modern power sedan. Somewhere between the BMW 3-series and Cadillac ATS. The sunroof is reminiscent of the faux volcano opening in Dr No (or SkyDome if you’re not a James Bond fan).
Inside, there’s plenty of attention paid to the driver. The “v-shaped” seat is revelatory in its comforting qualities. (Our sedentary culture has created a society of chronic back-injuries. But when you’re seated right, you can drive much longer and more safely.) The MKZ’s dials and buttons are blessedly easy to understand and operate, though utterly comprehensive in their detail.
I didn’t get to test the dynamics of the ride because of the challenge our hosts posed: complete a pre-determined 102km around the Blue Mountains in Ontario with the lowest litres per 100km reading. In short, who’s the greenest driver in the group?
Naturally, that meant no lead-footing or hard-braking, which is usually a favourite part of any test drive (but there was occasion for some slightly harder cornering because using the brake at all cancels energy spent, thereby increasing fuel usage; so you coast into the turn then accelerate while there). However, the gentlemanly rule was to honour speed limits without purposely going 10 or 20km under them; Hypermiling is unrealistic, douche, and dangerous.
My partner and I came in second place with 4.9 L/100km, an astoundingly low reading—especially considering we truly did the speed limit It felt wrong.
However, another team achieved a 4.9 as well, though their electric use was higher than ours, so they placed third. The winning team got an amazing 4.7 L/100km.
That we achieved such good numbers doing the officially sanctioned speed limit says a lot about the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, but also about greener, more attentive driving. I look forward to, hopefully soon, testing the MKZ again, but with the 3.7 L six-cylinder engine, which emits 300 ponies and 277 lb-ft. of torque—and whether I can keep that at the speed limit.
Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.
Photo courtesy of the author.