Driven 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid The Chronicle Herald

23 Фев 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Driven 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid The Chronicle Herald отключены
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars

Driven: 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

The Lincoln MKZ, like the all-new 2015 MKC we previewed here last month, represents the reinvention of the Lincoln brand.

It was created by a dedicated design team, under design director Max Wolff in its new Lincoln Design Studio. It was also the first new product from The Lincoln Motor Company when it arrived as a 2013 model.

The topic of this week’s review, the 2014 version of the MKZ mid-sized, entry-level luxury sedan, saw no changes from last year aside from some new colour options, as it retained its elegant, luxurious look inside and out while still offering loads of advanced technologies.

The MKZ rides on the same global architecture as the 2013 Ford Fusion with an identical 112.2-inch wheelbase, however, the MKZ is 2.4 inches longer, 0.1 inches taller, and a half inch wider than the Fusion.

MKZ is available in three different powertrains: 2.0-litre EcoBoost, 3.7-litre AWD and the 2.0-litre Hybrid which powered my tester.

Cool in the cold

I like getting hybrids this time of year as it usually offers some decent cold-weather testing. My Dec. 30 to Jan.

6 test period certainly didn’t disappoint on the cold front as the week provided frigid temperatures along with that nasty blizzard last Friday.

How did the front-wheel-drive MKZ Hybrid perform in those conditions? Excellent.

Driving the MKZ, atop its 19-inch Pirelli winter tires on polished aluminum wheels, I felt safe and in control on some trecherous roads, especially on my short trek home to Dartmouth from Halifax at the height of the storm last Friday afternoon.

For the most part, that blizzard drive was a fun one. The MKZ ploughed through some heavy snow on the flat roads and did the same on snow-covered inclines like those on the the MacKay Bridge and one particular off-ramp where I had to stop a few times, waiting for other cars to spin off to the side, and then get underway again as the MKZ’s front tires dug in and pulled it where I needed it to go.

At all stops on those cold days, particularily in day-to-day city work commutes, the MKZ hybrid system also did its job in promptly shutting off the engine and shifting to battery power, then quietly shifting back to gas engine power or a combination of both.

The MKZ Hybrid’s drivetrain consisted of Ford Motor Company’s new 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain with lithium-ion batteries with a power-split electronic continuously variable transmission (e-CVT). The ‘power split’ allows the electric and gas engines to work together or separately to maximize efficiency. It’s the same powerplant that’s used in the Fusion Hybrid.

It generated 188 combined horsepower and 129 foot pounds of torque. While not big numbers, my tester still provided good acceleration off the line and during quick highway lane changes (I had one day of snow-free asphalt throughout my test) with surprisingly little noise from its e-CVT heard in a hushed cabin which also muffled wind and road intrusions.

Drive control

The MKZ Hybrid also featured standard Lincoln Drive Control which was a customizable continuously controlled damping system that adjusted the movement of my tester’s MacPherson strut setup and its aluminum control arms up front as well as the multilink suspension in the rear approximately every two milliseconds.

MKZ Hybrid had a Government of Canada fuel economy rating of 4.2 litres/100 km in the city and 4.3 on the highway. I managed 7.8 in mostly city (again, driving in very cold weather and on snow-covered roads).

To get the MKZ fired up and moving, I had to employ the services of the vertical strip, five-soft-button interface on the upper left side of the centre stack which replaced the traditional mechanical transmission shift lever.

The individual buttons of push-button shift engaged Park, Neutral, Reverse, and forward gears in two modes Drive and Sport. The electronic push-button start was positioned at the top just above the Park button.

I liked this gear select system for its simplicity and the cool factor, but it also opened up more room on the console area and offered better access to the two cup holders and the slick controls on the lower portion of the stack area for climate and audio.

The touch-sensor and swipe controls on that stack for audio and climate were a cinch to use, even with my gloves on.

MyLincoln Touch and the Sync system were also appreciated and used daily throughout my test week. The system operated the climate control, navigation and several infotainment devices, enabling me to operate them either with steering-wheel button toggling, voice commands, or taps on the eight-inch touch-screen display dominating the centre stack.

I’ve always been a fan of MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch (launched in the 2011 model year) and it was a treat to experience the system’s continued improvement in both its functionality and screen layout in the MKZ.

That MyLincoln Touch was included as part of the preferred package on my tester which also added: 911 assist, Smart Gauge with Eco Guide, brake coach, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled leather driver and passenger seats, heated rear seats, the 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, THXII audio system with 14 speakers, power tilt and telescoping steering column, premium floor mats (note: optional all-season mats were included in my tester; $250), electro chromatic mirrors, 110-volt power point, LED lighting, and more.

Brake coach is located in the left-hand side of the 10.1-inch gauge cluster and helps you optimize your use of the vehicle’s regenerative braking system and helps improve fuel economy and reduces wear on the brake pads. My tester was also equipped with the class-exclusive inflatable rear seatbelts that supplemented its eight standard airbags.

Modern luxury

The overall feel inside was one of luxury and modernity and I had plenty of head and leg room up front with good visibility out the sides but a limited view out the rear window. The rear-view camera, large side-view mirrors, active park assist, and cross-traffic alert all helped.

I was surprised that the high and wide centre console area had such a small storage bin, but I did appreciate the two hidden shelves below the centre console that were good for small-stuff storage and keeping items out of view.

In the rear, the kids had loads of room, while three averaged-sized adults could also squeeze in, but those over 5-11 will fight with the sloping roof line.

The rear seatbacks were split foldable and included a trunk pass thru and a fold-down armrest with two cupholders. The trunk, because it hosted the hybrid system’s batteries behind the rear seats, only offered 314 litres, but that was enough room for a bag of hockey gear with sticks placed through that convenient pass thru.

Aside from the inflatable rear seatbelts, my tester included a long list of other safety features, including: eight airbags, hill-start assist, active park assist, lane-keeping assist, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, auto highbeams, rain-sensing wipers, front parking aid, adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation, crash sensing system, emergency brake assist, SOS post crash alert system, advance trac with electronic stability control, torque vectoring control, and traction control.

That lane-keeping assist feature was a neat piece of technology and one of its cool features was its ability to read lane markings with a forward-facing camera while using the MKZ’s electric power steering to move the steering wheel and gently nudge you back into your lane if you wandered out.

‘Beautiful’ exterior

Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars

Outside, I liked the design of the MKZ and so did the four random people who walked by it when I was parked at the grocery store, Mic Mac Mall, Kent and Home Depot on different days during my test week. The popular comment was ‘beautiful.’

One commenter was, err, split on the split-wing grille up front, but all thought the rear-end styling was great. I did, too, especially the look of its LED taillights which went the width of the car.

Exterior features included: a power deck lid will full up/down function; the LED taillights; solar tinted glass; the split grille with chrome surround; and heated side mirrors with memory, puddle lamps and turn-signal indicators.

On the whole, the MKZ Hybrid was an exceptionally quiet drive in and around the city and on the highway; it offered plenty of room for tall and/or wide adults; and more than enough technology to keep young and old geeks happy. The amount of safety tech was impressive for its price range.

My only beefs were with the lack of small-stuff storage compartments inside, the lack of space in the wheelwells which accumulated snow/slush fast, and the fact that I came no where near its rated fuel economy but, like I said earlier, the 7.8 litres/100km I received had a lot to do with the driving conditions, which the MKZ handled superbly.

2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Engine: 2.0L I4 HEV

Power and torque: 188 hp, 129 foot pounds

Transmission: E-CVT six-speed automatic

Drivetrain: front wheel drive

Steering: electric power assisted

Gov’t of Canada fuel rating: 4.2 city, 4.3 highway, 4.2 combined

Fuel required: regular

Wheelbase: 2,850 mm

Length: 4,930 mm

Curb weight: 1,746 kg

Base price: $44,450

Price as tested: $49,625 (includes $3,525 in options; $1,650 transportation and handling)

Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars
Lincoln MKZ Electric Cars

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