2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Reserve
2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Reserve

Test Drive: 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

There are many valid reasons to buy a Lincoln these days, and they have nothing to do with the much-parodied shilling by actor Matthew McConaughey.

What would pull me into a Lincoln showroom, or onto the floor of pretty well any car company, isn’t the pathos of a pointlessly introspective aging movie star, but rather customer service. And I don’t mean the shallow customer service in which your presence is so typically treated as an irritant by an over-burdened service rep despite being the source of revenue that sustains his/her paycheque.

I’m referring to customer service, which is founded on the principle that my time is “mine,” and not a commodity to be wasted at the discretion – or worse yet, incompetence – of a dealership.

Buy any new Lincoln, and subjugation of the customer will be a curse of past automobile purchases. When it comes to servicing your new ride, Lincoln, like a number of other premium brands, will deliver a loaner Lincoln for use while they take yours in for servicing. After servicing, they’ll wash your vehicle and return it; all of this based on your schedule, not theirs.

Customer service – or more-so the lack of it – has become my Alamo. Whether vehicle-related or banal, those companies that exceed will get my business. This is the ethos that underpins Lincoln’s “Service on Your Schedule” modus operandi.

But, let’s focus on the true subject of today’s dissertation, which is the uncommonly handsome Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Inside and out, the pens at Lincoln hit a home run, at least in my ballpark. And frankly, the umps agree.

In my short time with the MKZ, many friends and colleagues remarked positively on the sedan’s exterior styling and its classy cabin. I was actually surprised by how impressed some of the curbside critics were, and I was in no position to argue.

My tester was the Reserve trim-level, which was tagged at $48,450, however, another $12K worth of options shot the expenditure skyward to $60,500. That spike in price for “luxury-car goods” seems modelled on a German automaker’s playbook.

Let’s set aside the price structure for a moment and delve into this fuel-efficient mid-size sedan. It’s equipped with pretty much all of the safety and comfort details expected in today’s premium market; no quibble there.

I loved the Revel Ultima 20-speaker audio system and the Bridge of Weir leather. And unlike past interface technologies from Ford, the Sync 3 System in the MKZ was enjoyable to use and fairly straightforward in adaption.

The front seats were comfortable, supportive, and heated and cooled. Very nice. I really can’t fault the vehicle’s cabin.

On the road, the MKZ is tomb-like quiet, that is until the 2.0L Atkinson gas engine fires up to keep things moving. I was of the view that it should be less intrusive given the serene ambience this car otherwise imparts.

Don’t misinterpret here; the gas mill isn’t a major detraction from propulsion, which is generally well-polished. I just think it could be a touch better in this class of vehicle.

The MKZ Hybrid is not a plug-in hybrid, so don’t expect much electric-only driving. This system operates in the more conventional hybrid manner, which better suits buyers unable to plug-in. Perhaps they live in a condo, or, would rather not have the hassle of plugging in their car; it may just be one more thing to remember in the hectic lives we endure these days.

I also doubt that hybrid buyers are particularly concerned with performance dynamics, other than that of fuel-efficiency. If, however, a buyer values acceleration over economy, the MKZ can be optioned as a ballistic missile with a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 under the hood.

So, this brings me to my next comment: If I were in-charge, and in my delusions, I am, I would soften the suspension of the MKZ Hybrid in order to emphasize a plush ride over stout handling. Let’s not try to be a BMW 3-Series. I don’t think that’s what typical hybrid owners want.

The MKZ Hybrid is a remarkably relaxing car to drive. It seems to dissipate stress, largely because it’s not meant to be a streetfighter. So why not loosen the tie a bit Lincoln and spoil those economy-conscious buyers with a luscious ride to match the ambience of this superb-looking sedan with the gorgeous cabin.

2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Reserve
Price as tested (before taxes): $60,500.00
Configuration: front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L Atkinson gas engine + 1.4kWh battery, continuously variable transmission
Power: combined 188 horsepower
Fuel-economy ratings (L/100km): 5.7L city / 6.2L highway
Warranty (basic): 4 years / 80,000 km
Competitors: Acura RLX Hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, Lexus ES Hybrid

Related links:
Lincoln Canada

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