Of course, my pre-teen brain imagined all of this would take place via the sort of dazzling, animated interfaces I dreamt about from my favourite pre-teen TV show, Star Trek. Don’t tell my friends, please. Even if my imagined future of high-tech motoring wasn’t actually that far off.
What is a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid?
For highly closeted sci-fi-loving gadget-nerds like yours truly, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid packs feature content, design touches, and high-tech interfaces that get the salivary glands gushing on overtime. Though not equipped with photon torpedoes or warp drive, the MKZ Hybrid is only a few hundred thousand horsepower away from being the driver’s very own road-going USS Enterprise.
It has features -- all of them. The self-parking system, navigation, climate-controlled seats, three customizable in-dash screens, colour-selectable mood lighting, household power plug, and adaptive xenon lights don’t even put much of a dent in the list of toys. With every camera-and radar-based hazard-detection system going, it’s virtually self-aware, too. Plotting a course, hailing your favourite friend or accessing important trip-related data is always just a spoken command away.
2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Price and Specs
Power came from a high-compression 2.0L 4-cylinder engine teamed with an electric drive system powered by a trunk-mounted battery. Combined system output of 188 horsepower is adequate when drivers aren’t in a rush -- though if they are, they’ll be treated to a less-than-refined growl as the gas engine gets busy to help speed things along. Driven gently, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is relatively quiet and refined. Driven assertively, not so much. Passing power is adequate, nothing more.
The gist? This car won’t make driving enthusiasts warm in the loins, though I did appreciate a measured-by-hand average consumption of 6.1L/100km, including plenty of highway driving. For where and how I drive, that’s small-car mileage in a big, comfortable luxury sedan.
Driving the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
There’s a lot going on in this low-consumption luxury cruiser -- and that’s aside from the “more miles per tank” operation of the hybrid drive system and the gorgeously styled interior. On board, the work of Lincoln designers is the most apparent through a finely honed, one-of-a-kind interface between man and machine that adds to the driving experience in a serious way.
It all starts before you get inside. A touch-activated, backlit panel of light-up numbers appears on the driver’s door pillar, inviting you to enter an unlock combination.
Open the door and the backlit centre console comes to life with touch-sensitive buttons “appearing” through the dark finish. This slick, flowing console floats over the upper dashboard and has two pass-through storage bins beneath it. It’s elegant and simple when the MKZ is turned off, and looks like pure drama when it lights up full of controls.
This console arguably serves as the cabin’s visual centerpiece, and isn’t interrupted by a gear shifter since the MKZ “shifts” via buttons. Chrome sliders light up as you trace your finger over them to adjust the THX stereo volume or the climate fan speed, adding further to the concept-car environment.
Interfaces aside, the highway ride is comfortable and relaxed without excessive floatiness, and the 2013 Lincoln MKZ should prove long-haul ready for most. I noted no space-related issues other than a slightly cramped footwell, and reduction in trunk space to facilitate the drive battery.
Inside and Out of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Other positives? I enjoyed above-average headlight performance after dark, as well as the glass panel roof which slides backwards to turn the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid into a virtual convertible. Doing so doesn’t result in offensive levels of wind noise, even well beyond the speed limit.
Further, the MKZ wears its Hybrid identity discreetly. It’s a gadget-rich car that happens to have a hybrid powerplant, not a hybrid car with a bunch of gadgets. And the cabin is bang-on where material selection and a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and interface are concerned.
My complaints of the model are mainly related to the driving dynamics. Like many hybrids, steering and brake systems offer little feel or precision, and the modest performance and lazy-sounding engine mean you definitely aren’t in a driver’s car.
Comparing the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Where high-tech, highly unique and very upscale cabin are concerned, the MKZ Hybrid is in a virtual class of its own. I’ve driven few other cars that so proudly flaunt distinctive design, both inside and out, towards a unique, modern, and engaging character. It won’t impress drivers after all-out comfort as much as, perhaps, a Lexus ES 300h, though shoppers after laid-back luxury delivered with tremendous feature content and a plethora of unique touches, as well as thrifty mileage, should check it out.