52 5 Mpg in a 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid The Car Tech CNET Reviews

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52.5 mpg in a 2011 Lincoln MKZ

I try my hand at hypermiling in a 2011 MKZ Hybrid on a 94 degree day.

Liane Yvkoff)

We’re in a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid a few hundred away from our hotel in the of Georgetown during rush sweat dripping off our faces, our and legs, visibly soaking our D.C. is experiencing a heat but we’ve got the windows rolled up and the air off.

Let’s roll the windows, I beg.

Stay so close, my driving partner

But I’m dehydrated and my heart is as though I’ve been out when all I’ve been is stewing in stop-and-go traffic. is only a few minutes away in the of a cooled hotel lobby, and yet I I could faint before point. This competition of will end when we get to the hotel and marketing team logs our gas mileage for the 24-mile hypermiling which is slipping from its of 52 mpg down to 50. That we are doing at all is ridiculous.

We are two 30-something automotive sous-viding ourselves in our own sweat the enclosed cabin, all for the chance to win an HD and bragging rights.

2011 MKZ Hybrid can operate up to 47 mph using the electric motor to propel the

(Credit: Liane Yvkoff)

not worth physical injury, I decide. I roll down our and expect the gauge that the accessory load to skyrocket and our gas to plummet. Nothing happens. We into our hotel driveway at the gas mileage as we had when we were in our self-created steam room, mpg.

All that suffering for nothing.

the hypermiling challenge was proposed to us morning in an air conditioned meeting in National Harbor, the temperature had not to the forecasted 93 degrees, so the competition easy enough,

The 2011 MKZ Hybrid’s ability to stay in EV up to 47 mpg meants that we could drive to our destination 30 miles using only the electric The way we saw it, the car would only turn the when we needed to accelerate (which we would avoid), the battery (we’d be energy-efficient), or on the highway (wouldn’t be often).

We assumed that on a hot day, of the other teams would bother to compete. And with us two women, we had a -100 lb advantage on To further reduce our weight I pawned my laptop off on a Lincoln PR to carry, saving us anther 5

Further bolstering our success, we also eliminate all electronic In-dash navigation with Serivces: Off. Instead, guidance would be given out the way—by me using preprinted

Air conditioning: Off. Cooled Off. Sunroof: Closed. Closed. Turn signals: not worth the parasitic drain.

The 2011 Lincoln MKZ s refreshed grill.

(Credit: Ford)

we turned a fully loaded into a Ford stock But unlike most stock the MKZ Hybrid was still standard with luxurious leather-and-wood and smooth ride. We were a to win.

So off we went, driving than Miss Daisy. As we out into traffic, we were to accelerate slowly, brake and for long periods, and stay way the speed limit. Right we noticed that the MKZ Hybrid’s from electric motor to gas was almost imperceptible. In fact, the way to check sometimes if we were in EV or using the gas engine was to check the meant we were driving in EV orange meant we were gas. Thankfully, we often saw

And by keeping an eye on the range indicator showed how much we could without requiring the gas engine to on, we could drive in the EV sweet The SmartGauge with EcoGuide was new to us, but it only took a few minutes for us to hypermiling masters.

We were off to to a start as our average MPG for the trip climbed to the mid-thirties and then the 40s. After 15 minutes in we averaging 50 mpg and climbing up.

But this was not conscious effort. Stop every 100 feet gave us opportunity to regenerative brake. signs, on the other hand, treated a little less as we rolled through more one to avoid completely losing On roads where the speed was obviously just a suggestion by midday traffic’s frequent we held our slow-moving ground as school buses drove us. The one-lane roads made it not to give in and drive at the flow of but we were undeterred.

With our sight set firmly on the competition, we drove on the shoulder we could to let traffic pass us to find themselves stuck a moving truck). At least I believe, we were passed by a in a walker.

We started out the second leg of our with a huge handicap: a battery.

(Credit: Liane

In our rear-view mirror the line of cars behind our slow-moving was easy to ignore because our was laser-focused on the SmartGauge. Talk distracted driving—we were aware of our car’s accessory (none), how much battery we had (we tried to keep it as high as and were always on the lookout for an to regenerative brake) and the status of our fuel economy.

It didn’t long before we felt the of high noon. We decided to air conditioning because it used too energy. But we also decided to with the windows rolled up to creating drag.

The only was that by sweating profusely we clearing our pores, so we rationalized, and to Ford’s chromium-free tanning of the leather, we weren’t inhaling chemicals.

But when our attention wandered the new EcoGuide feature that us blooming apple blossoms as we more economically, the car’s electronics and features taunted us. One push of a button and we could be the MKZ Hybrid’s new cooling seats. we missed a turn because of a in the directions, we didn’t want to our accessory electrical load by on the navigation system. Sure, from Sirius satellite have been nice, but we do by entertaining ourselves with the and EcoGuide display. Driving had become a game.

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The silence and road noise, broken by our hysterical laughter that we attempting this on a 94-degree was our sole luxury feature to

What we should have if we had bothered to use the in-dash navigation and communication system.

(Credit: Tom

But we were deluding ourselves.

The about hypermiling competitively is you can’t make any mistakes. By a turn we lost two miles. Not under normal circumstances, but at the scenic rest stop to drivers and try to cool down was

This was compounded by the fact we left the doors on and the keys in the which drained the battery and the ICE engine, took us out of the game.

the battery way below threshold—somewhere 35 and 50 percent—the gas engine was the only moving us, and we instantly dropped 55 mpg to below 49 mpg. Game It’s hard to recharge the without hilly terrain or at highway speed.

And yet neither our pride nor delusion give, and we proceeded on the George Parkway at 40 mph to our halfway point. We in at 52.2 mpg. Not bad! Or so we

With a better-than-average score, we confident enough to persist, but our trip started with a handicap. The car we selected had not been driven by hypermilers. The fuel was down by an eighth (the leg was only 30 miles and should used less than a of gas) and the battery level near Low.

We really have even tried at point, and yet we did.

The 2011 MKZ hybrid is equipped with and cooled seats chromium-free seats.

(Credit: Ford)

On the way the outside temperatures showed 94 Inside the car it was hot enough to kill The problem was that we should given up long before. at the beginning.

Starting out with a battery was impossible to overcome, and we had made too many mistakes to win other more experienced But we were in for a penny, and the pound we willing to pay was in literal water Little did we know that you can the window an inch on the driver’s and another inch in the rear side with almost no drag on the highway. Even after we broke down and down the window blocks the final destination, we found driving with windows in city traffic had no effect on our economy. In the end it was all for naught—we were royally by another team of media stalwarts who charged up battery to full capacity each leg by parking the car in neutral and the engine.

They rolled up with a mpg average for the second half of the

We earned an impressive average of mpg on the first leg of the trip.

But thankfully, you have to drive at school-zone with the windows up and air conditioning off to good gas mileage—the MKZ Hybrid is at an impressive 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg, when using turn

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