Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category


Ford decided to spend billions revitalizing its 3-wheels-in-the-grave Lincoln luxury brand. It’s first “premium” product was the MKZ, a fancy version of the Ford Fusion. Its next big product, introduced in 2014 as a 2015 model, was the MKC, a completely re-worked version of Ford’s the very popular Escape compact crossover.

2015 Lincoln MKC

2015 Lincoln MKC

2015 Ford Escape. The MKC shares a platform and powertrains with the Escape. The interior and sheet metal is all unique to the MKC.

2015 Ford Escape. The MKC shares a platform and powertrains with the Escape. The interior and sheet metal is all unique to the MKC.

Compact crossovers are a very hot segment of the market. Products like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape sell well over 2 million units a year in the U.S. market. The premium segment is equally hot with entries like the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Porsche Macan and Mercedes ML all sucking up huge sales volumes and gigantic profits.

So when Lincoln introduced the all-new MKC, it knew it could attract some attention.

But first, let’s step back and try to figure out what a Lincoln is in the 21st Century.  Lincoln has been defined by its big sedans for decades. The image of a 1960s era Continental with suicide doors was indelibly seared into our collective consciousness with the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was riding in the back of a 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible that fateful day in Dallas.

1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Parade Car dubbed USSS  or "SS 100 X."  The SS stands for Secret Service.

1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Parade Car dubbed USSS or “SS 100 X.” The SS stands for Secret Service.

Movie stars drove Lincolns. This 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II belonged to Elizabeth Taylor.

Movie stars drove Lincolns. This 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II belonged to Elizabeth Taylor.

The younger audience may remember the 1965 Lincoln Continental Convertible used in the hit HBO show Entourage.

The younger audience may remember the 1965 Lincoln Continental Convertible used in the hit HBO show Entourage.

Maybe classic movie buffs will remember the 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III that was integral to the cop thriller The French Connection.

Maybe classic movie buffs will remember the 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III that was integral to the cop thriller The French Connection.

But like Cadillac, Lincoln seemed to lose its way over the remaining decades of the 20th Century. In the end, it was really only one sedan, the Lincoln Town Car, that was synonymous with Lincoln.  In fact, when you ordered car service, the term Town Car became a generic name for a big black sedan to ferry you to and from the airport. Ford really showed little interest in updating any Lincoln. By the time the Town Car was finally retired, it had been in service for nearly 30 years with only minor cosmetic and mechanical upgrades.

A 2011 Lincoln Town Car. This is how most people remember Lincoln from the end of the 20th Century.

A 2011 Lincoln Town Car. This is how most people remember Lincoln from the end of the 20th Century.

During The Great Recession, Ford even considered shuttering Lincoln as it had done to Mercury, which itself had become the redheaded stepchild no one wanted. A Mercury had become a rebadged Ford with only tiny changes to call it a Mercury. Lincoln was essentially the same thing, starved for product, with slashed development and marketing budgets and all but ignored by customers as its sales sank to new lows.

So it was a pleasant surprise that Ford decided to invest a few billion in Lincoln and try to revive sales with fresh product and flashy designs. But even with all the new investment, can the average consumer really quantify or identify a modern Lincoln? I don’t think so. Either you’re like me and wax nostalgic for a rear-drive flagship called Continental (hint: Lincoln could build one on the new 2015 Mustang rear drive platform) or you simply don’t care because you’ve only owned foreign cars since you were born. Nevertheless, Lincoln presses on.

The winged Zephyr grille – billed as the new face of Lincoln — is more successful on the MKZ than the sad-sack wavy brace-face gaudy grille of the Navigator. But I think the most successful integration of the new face of Lincoln is on this all-new 2015 MKC. The grille flows effortlessly into the headlamp assembly. A smooth line of ice-white LED running lights seamlessly complete the wingtips of the grille.

2015 Lincoln MKZ. This was the first application of the new winged grille.

2015 Lincoln MKZ. The 2013 model was the first application of Lincoln’s new winged grille.

The winged grille was grafted onto the front of a Lincoln Navigator. Not much else was done. It doesn't work as well here.

The winged grille was grafted onto the front of a Lincoln Navigator. Not much else was done. It don’t think it’s nearly as successful here.

Lincoln's signature winged grille is well integrated and the proportion seems right on the MKC.

Lincoln’s signature winged grille is well integrated and the proportion seems right on the MKC.

The MKC’s sheet metal is drawn taughtly over its skeleton. Deep scallops give dimension to the sides and a spear-like crease darts over the bulging fenders. Large wheels (18″ standard or optional 19″ and 20″) fill the wheel wells adding to its substantial, planted look. The rear “clam shell tailgate” is an expensive upgrade to the more pedestrian version on the Ford Escape. In addition to a wider opening, the wraparound tailgate also allows for an unbroken applique of Lincoln’s signature full-width taillights in the form of a thin, artistic rendering of the front wings, except this time in red and white LEDs.

The style lines flow effortlessly across the MKC's flanks.

The style lines flow effortlessly across the MKC’s flanks.

The rear is quite nicely rendered. The large clam-shell style tailgate is a nice tableaux for the designers.

The rear is quite nicely rendered. The large clam-shell style tailgate is a nice tableaux for the designers.

The LED theme carries on at all touch and focal points on the MKC. Door handles light up, a thin slice of LEDs form turn signal repeaters embedded in the the side mirrors.  Approach the car with the key in your pocket and LEDs beckon you forward, illuminate door handles and alerting you to the peril of puddles. Inside, the door panels, foot wells and dashboard all glow softly in tasteful warm-colored LEDs. It must be quite the light show at night, but even during the day, it was impressive.

LEDs bathe the exterior in soft accent lighting. You've gotta love the puddle light that projects the "LINCOLN" on the ground.

LEDs bathe the exterior in soft accent lighting. You’ve gotta love the puddle light that projects the Lincoln cross on the ground.

The MKC I drove was a fully-loaded all-wheel driver with the optional 2.3L Ecoboost turbocharged inline, direct-injected 4-cylinder engine making 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a 6-speed automatic. While I felt it had plenty of power to motivate it’s rather porky two tons, I was a bit disappointed Ford hasn’t gone to an 8- or 9-speed automatic used by “competitors” Audi and BMW.  At this point, a 6-speed automatic in a “luxury” or “near-luxury” car feels a bit old school. Even Jeep is using a new ZF 9-speed automatic in its Cherokee – a car similar in size to the MKC.  Downshifts brought loud howling from the engine which seemed sort of out of character from a very soothing and zen-looking car.

The 2.3L EcoBoost engine combined with AWD is the least fuel-efficient trim level of the MKC.

The 2.3L EcoBoost engine combined with AWD is the least fuel-efficient trim level of the MKC.

The fuel economy is also disappointing. The EPA rates the AWD 2.3L Ecoboost at 18/21/26 mpg (city/combined/highway).  The car’s computer proclaimed 9.7 mpg!  Of course, that is demonstration/dealer mpg, but still a bit shocking for a compact crossover.  I have a feeling that you’d be lucky to get 18 mpg combined if you used this car for your daily drive in Los Angeles. But even if you opt for the entry level front-drive 2.0L Ecoboost, the EPA rates it at 20/23/29 mpg – not exactly class-leading fuel economy.  By contrast, the 2015 Honda CR-V with Honda’s new 2.4L direct inject (non-turbo) engine and AWD is rated at 26/28/33 mpg – far better than the MKC. The Acura RDX – the “luxury” version of the CR-V – is rated at 19/22/27 mpg – but that’s with a 3.5L V6 engine! So the V6 AWD Acura RDX beats the vaunted “economy” of Ford’s 2.3L Ecoboost.

Lincoln's marketing babble compares the MKC to the Audi Q5.  It will be a while before Lincoln can play in Audi's sand box.

Lincoln’s marketing babble compares the MKC to the Audi Q5. It will be a while before Lincoln can play in Audi’s sand box.

Okay, I know, this is a near-luxury crossover, so playing the fuel economy game is only one fraction of the purchase equation.  To my eye, the MKC is a lovely package, far easier on the senses than the angularly-awkward Acura RDX but quite likely equally as pleasing as the svelte Teutonic lines of the Audi Q5 – Lincoln’s stated Quixotic foil.

My sales associate informed me that they have had a few Audi Q5 customers trade in their Audis for the new MKC. While I don’t doubt his veracity, I don’t know how many Audi owners are going to cross shop with Lincoln – a struggling near-luxury brand. It’s taken Audi decades to prove its luxury-performance bona fides in the US market.   I can see an Audi owner considering its corporate cousin, the Porsche Macan or more likely, offerings from fellow German rivals BMW and Mercedes. And no one is cross shopping anything German for the uncompetitive (and soon to be replaced) Cadillac SRX either.

Then there are two new beauty pageant entries: The gorgeous Land Rover Discovery Sport and the very pointy, but stylish Lexus NX, based on the Toyota RAV4 — although you’d never mistake the Lexus for the Toyota.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

The 2015 Lexus NX

The 2015 Lexus NX

I found the MKC comfortable with plenty of seat adjustments as well as a power tilt/telescope steering column. There is a 2-position memory for the driver’s seat. The rear window is fairly narrow, so rear visibility isn’t the best, but with all the electronic driving aids like blind spot monitors, a back-up camera and back up sensors, it wasn’t a big deal. You sit fairly upright, perched high as you’d expect in an crossover, so forward visibility was great.

The interior is very nice with mostly soft-touch surfaces. It's far more pleasing than the Ford Escape.

The interior is very nice with mostly soft-touch surfaces. It’s far more pleasing than the Ford Escape.

There is plenty of cargo in the MKC. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold nearly flat.

There is plenty of cargo in the MKC. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold nearly flat.

The electric power steering was well weighted, if numb. I did feel some road vibration come through the wheel when I wasn’t expecting it. Turning radius wasn’t the best, but it’s what’s expected with a front drive car. It’s definitely not a sporty Mustang, but for the target customer, it will be perfectly fine.

While you constantly feel the weight of the MKC, the 2.3L EcoBoost always felt capable of the task. I didn’t perceive much turbo lag either, and the throttle was well-weighted and with linear acceleration – no jack-rabbit starts or sudden bursts of unexpected power. I didn’t drive the smaller engine and I suspect it would feel taxed by the MKC’s heft.  But for the vast majority of customers, they won’t notice or care. As long as it goes when they push the gas pedal and stops when they press the bakes, it will pass the test. In short, the MKC felt properly sorted, appropriately quiet and well dampened over rough roads. That’s a sure winning combination of traits.

LEDs add accent and mood lighting to the interior.  Very nice and easy on the eyes.

LEDs add accent and mood lighting to the interior. Very nice and easy on the eyes.

The MyLincoln Touch infotainment system is as annoyingly complex as ever. However, on the MKC, Lincoln mercifully ditched the touch-pad sliding bars for volume and tuning and grafted on honest-to-god physical knobs for volume and tuning and physical push buttons for things like climate control and seat heaters. They look good and are easy to use. However, the center console fascia looks cheap and there are several hard-surface plastic panels below eye level.  Two USB ports lurk in the console between the front seats, cup holders are well placed and of adequate size and the arm rest is comfortable. There are a bunch of very handy steering wheel mounted buttons for everything from the cruise control to the phone and tuning/volume control.

The touch-screen is large. The new physical knobs and switches are a welcome return to "analog" for Lincoln.

The touch-screen is large. The new physical knobs and switches are a welcome return to “analog” for Lincoln.

I love the heated and cooled seats and the “no hands” operation of the tailgate is very handy.  Keyless entry and start is standard on all levels of the MKC as is Lincoln’s push button transmission. The push buttons are a little gimmicky, but you’d get used to them fast. There are paddle shifts for easy manual shifting when you need it.  Another “wow” factor is the optional Panoramic Vista Roof with power shade. Touch one button and the cloth shade rolls back to let the sun or stars in. It really makes the interior feel much bigger and is quite impressive. I highly recommend it.

The cabin feels very airy and roomy with the optional Panoramic Vista Roof.

The cabin feels very airy and roomy with the optional Panoramic Vista Roof.

Unfortunately there are a few things that give me pause about the 2015 Lincoln MKC. Aside from the decidedly last-generation 6-speed automatic, the infotainment system is still the MyLincoln Touch – which, along with MyFord Touch has brought Ford’s Initial Quality Survey ratings down and receives withering criticism from Consumer Reports.  It’s 4-quadrant touch-screen with small fonts is hard to read and use while moving. Just this month (January 2015), Ford announced at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show that it’s killing these systems and will go to a much more simplified system called Sync 3, which looks an a lot like Chrysler’s far superior U-Connect system.  We won’t see Sync 3 until 2016 model year cars appear.  Then there is the adaptive cruise control which is a generation behind the current units. It still shuts off when the car dips below a set speed. The newest systems can bring the car to a full stop and then automatically follow when traffic starts to move again.  Even if you were to lease the car for 3 years, you start with out-dated, frustrating tech from day one.

Lincoln has this new exclusive option package called Lincoln Black Label.  I inspected an MKC Black Label sitting on the showroom floor.  It sported the exclusive Black Tie paint and the “Center Stage” theme. The interior had a lovely leather double-stitched dash, Venetian black leather seats with Alcantara inserts, contrasting red stitching, matching door inserts, a beautiful black Alcantara headliner and exotic wood accents, including in the steering wheel.  You also get complimentary maintenance (like BMW), so there are no maintenance costs during the 4-year, 50,000 mile factory warranty. If you don’t have the time to take your car in for service, the concierge will send a valet out to you, leave a loaner car and return your car when its finished, at your convenience. Whether or not you use the valet, a loner car is always free.  Also included is “anytime” complimentary car washes and an annual detailing – a nice touch you wont find from any other car company.  All these things make you feel pampered and do add value. But is it worth $6,000? On a Lincoln? I guess only time will tell, but I have to believe the take rate will be fairly low.

The interior of a 2015 Lincoln MKZ with the Black Label package. This "theme" is called Center Stage.

The interior of a 2015 Lincoln MKZ with the Black Label package. This “theme” is called Center Stage.

Details are important. Check out the upgraded switchgear for this Black Label MKC.

Details are important. Check out the upgraded switchgear and lighted kick plate for this Black Label MKC.

Finally we come to the price.  The MKC 2.0 EcoBoost FWD starts at $33,995.  A loaded MKC 2.3L EcoBoost AWD is an eye-popping $49,225. If you opt for the new exclusive Lincoln Black Label package, it’ll add another $6,000 to the sticker shock. The loaded MKC Black Label I saw on the showroom was over $55,000.  This makes for some fuzzy new math.  Is it worth paying top dollar for:

  • Any Lincoln
  • A CUV based on the decidedly mass-market Ford Escape
  • Complex infotainment system, soon to be replaced
  • Last-generation safety sensors, hardware and software
  • Relatively poor fuel economy; no hybrid option

I’ve always been dyslexic, but no matter how I look at at the numbers, I don’t see a compelling case for anything other than the base MKC.  Lincoln is going to have to find some very “affordable” Red Carpet lease payments to make the purchase of an MKC attractive enough for most buyers.


Lincoln. When you hear the name, what car do you see in your mind? I immediately go to the Elwood Engle-designed Lincoln Continental from the 1960s. The fourth-generation Continental hardtop and convertibles defined the times in America, from the halcyon glamour days of the Kennedy administration to the limousine in which JFK was assassinated. The car’s “suicide” doors – rear doors hinged from the rear – were a defining characteristic.

The Elwood Engle-designed Lincoln Continental was the epitome of elegance.

The Elwood Engle-designed Lincoln Continental was the epitome of elegance. Image from Arizona Car Collectors

From 2004 – 2011, the HBO series Entourage used a black 1965 Lincoln Continental Convertible in its opening credits. The image of the four young stars riding through Hollywood in their top-down ’65 Lincoln ending with an overhead shot of them all exiting and slamming the doors in unison solidified the car’s cultural cool image for the 21st Century.

Another Lincoln that comes to mind is the classic Continental Mark series. Elizabeth Taylor owned a 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II – considered one of the most beautiful, expensive luxury cars ever made. In 1956, the car cost around $10,400 – close to $90,000 today. There was the 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III used to smuggle drugs in its rocker panels in the classic Gene Hackman cop drama, The French Connection.

Elizabeth Taylor's 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II. Stunning. Simply stunning.

Elizabeth Taylor’s 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II. Stunning. Simply stunning.

And of course, over the past three decades (1981-2011), the Lincoln Town Car became synonymous with black car livery service.

2011 Lincoln Town Car

2011 Lincoln Town Car

Lincoln. What defining styling feature comes to mind? For me, aside from the aforementioned suicide doors of the 1961 – 1969 Continental, I think the bold vertical Rolls-Royce style grille, flanked by hidden headlights, stands out. First displayed on the 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III – a true personal luxury flagship coupe – the feature defined Lincoln through the 1985 model year with the Continental Mark VI.

This 1970 Lincoln Continental Mk III was definitely a statement car.  An executive's personal luxury car.

This 1970 Lincoln Continental Mk III was definitely a statement car. An executive’s personal luxury car.

Today, the four-door Continental nameplate has been dead for a dozen years. There hasn’t been a Continental Mark coupe since the Mark VIII in 1998.  The truth is that Ford’s Lincoln division has been on life support for at least 20 years, selling mostly warmed-over Ford SUVs and rebadged sedans. It’s hard for consumers to believe Lincoln is a luxury car company if the parent doesn’t.

In a bold and risky effort to save Ford from bankruptcy, as part of his One Ford strategy, CEO Alan Mulally sold off its luxury brands – Jaguar/Land Rover, Volvo and Aston Martin, liquidated its controlling interest in Mazda and shuttered Mercury. He borrowed more than $40 billion just before the 2008 financial market meltdown that caused the Great Recession.  This was great timing as Ford would never have received a gigantic line of credit after Lehmann Bros went belly up and some of the world’s biggest banks nearly collapsed.

Mulally’s big bet paid off and Ford dodged the waves of recession bankruptcies that consumed GM and Chrysler in 2009. To the surprise of many, including me, Ford decided to save Lincoln. They couldn’t give up on the luxury (or near luxury) market and the corresponding higher margins that are built into premium products. In other words, Lincoln was worth saving.

First up, Ford hired a hot-shot young designer, Max Wolff, to create a modern Lincoln styling language. Mr. Wolff reached way back to a pre-war 1941 Lincoln Continental design for inspiration for the split-wing grille we see today. It’s supposed to evoke an eagle – but more metaphorically I’d say it looks like the wings of a Phoenix rising from the ashes. And if we’re getting into metaphysics, I’d posit that the ashes represent the burned pile of crap that was Lincoln before this new generation MKZ.

This 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe first displayed the "eagle's wing" used as inspiration for the modern face of Lincoln.   Barrett-Jackson auction picture.

This 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe first displayed the “eagle’s wing” used as inspiration for the modern face of Lincoln. Barrett-Jackson auction picture.

Next Ford took the symbolic step of renaming its Lincoln division to The Lincoln Motor Company. Cue the appropriate and warranted sneers and rolling of eyes. This was a waste of time and money, but the marketing department thought it was important. So be it.

Today, the new face of Lincoln, and its de facto flagship, is the MKZ sedan. Designed by Solomon Song and introduced in early 2013, the MKZ is the first all-new Lincoln under the new masthead.  While the larger Taurus-based MKS is slotted above the MKZ in pricing, it’s all but ignored by Lincoln’s marketing department and consumers.

The 2014 Lincoln MKZ makes a bold statement. The new face actually seems to work well on this car, particularly if you see it in person.

The 2014 Lincoln MKZ makes a bold statement. The new face actually seems to work well on this car, particularly if you see it in person.

In Lincoln’s bewildering naming scheme, MK = Mark. The Z is for Zephyr – a 75 year old nameplate from Lincoln’s (nearly) forgotten past.

Together with the upcoming 2015 MKC, a compact crossover based on widely-popular Ford Edge, the MKZ will either revive Lincoln in the near-luxury market or consign it to the automotive graveyard. Lincoln can’t lose money forever.

The 2015  Lincoln MKC hopes to capture a profitable chunk of the red-hot compact crossover segment.

The 2015 Lincoln MKC hopes to capture a profitable chunk of the red-hot compact crossover segment.

Fundamentally, the MKZ is a nicely-dressed Ford Fusion. It runs on the same platform, uses mostly the same powertrains and shares most of the stuff you don’t see or feel.

But the MKZ isn’t just a badge-engineered car. It has a very distinctive look, front and rear, and the interior appointments are a definite cut above the Fusion. I test drove the 2014 MKZ Hybrid, which starts at the same $37,085 as the entry-level front drive MKZ with 2.0L Ecoboost engine.

I think the new style works best from the rear of the MKZ. The slim LED-lit taillights make a beautiful sweep across the entire back of the car. It looks great at night.

I think the new styling cues are most successful from the rear of the MKZ. The slim LED-lit taillights make a beautiful horizontal sweep across the entire rear of the car. It looks terrific at night.

The hybrid drivetrain is shared with the Fusion. A 141-hp Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and 118-hp electric motor combination are mated to a planetary CVT (continuously variable transmission) and 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It has a pushbutton transmission selector, unique to Lincoln, located on left side of the center console. The buttons worked well, but quickly rocking the car from reverse to drive (like maneuvering into a tight space) might be frustrating.

The infotainment and controls of the center stack are framed by the push-button transmission along the left side.

The infotainment and controls of the center stack are framed by the push-button transmission along the left side.

I drove a fully-loaded model with the $5,375 Preferred Equipment Group and the $2,250 Technology package. All in, the car was $46,380 – and it could have gone higher if I wanted the $2,995 retractable panoramic sunroof – a gigantic (and heavy) sliding glass panel that is now a “signature” Lincoln feature.

The panoramic glass moonroof on the Lincoln MKZ is an engineering marvel. The light inside the cabin is really striking, day or nigh. Power shades can filter out the summer sun.

The panoramic glass moonroof on the Lincoln MKZ is an engineering marvel. The light inside the cabin is really striking, day or nigh. Power shades can filter out the summer sun.

The car was quiet, the steering was nicely weighted, without a hit or road feel. The regenerative brakes were a bit grabby, which seems to be fairly normal on hybrids these days.  I found the car comfortable, but wished for a little more thigh support. Perhaps the $595 multi-contour front thrones with the “Active Motion (11-Bladder)” massage feature would be a better investment than the ambitiously-priced $1,200 single-pane moonroof on my tester.

The cockpit of the MKZ Hybrid has a modern, high tech look.

The cockpit of the MKZ Hybrid has a modern, sleek and clean high tech look.

I loved the sound of the THX audio system, but I still have reservations about the MyLincoln Touch infotainment interface. The voice control was hit and miss. I found the on-screen icons a bit confusing and I’m still not a fan of the touch and slide controls on the center console for adjusting volume, tuning, temperature and fan. That said, they worked far better than those on the CUE system in the Cadillac ATS I drove last year. I think most drivers end up just using the physical buttons on the multifunction steering wheel.

The 2015 MKC will address some of these complaints with a return of physical knobs. Hallelujah!

The latest-generation MyLincoln Touch system sees the return of round knobs and physical buttons to replace the touch controls found in the MKZ.  It's unclear if the 2015 MKZ will adopt these changes, but it's likely.

The latest-generation MyLincoln Touch system sees the return of round knobs and physical buttons to replace the touch controls found in the MKZ. It’s unclear if the 2015 MKZ will adopt these changes, but it’s likely.

The biggest drawback I found was the compromised trunk space in the Hybrid. Trunk capacity drops from 15.4 to 11.1 cubic feet – not an insignificant 4.3 cubic feet.

The tech package stuff seemed to work perfectly. I tried the adaptive cruise control and lane keep assistants and they worked as advertised. Front and rear parking sensors were useful and the active park assist was uncannily accurate – although I didn’t try it in heavy traffic with a tight parking space.

The EPA rates the MKZ Hybrid at 45 mpg (city/highway/combined). But actual users at FuelEconomy.gov give it a range of between 33 to 40 mpg, with an average of 36 mpg. So don’t plan on 45 mpg in real-world driving. Bummer.

I enjoyed my time in the MKZ, but it was a completely forgettable experience. I struggled to remember anything exciting about it just 24 hours later. I really liked the self-parking feature, but how often would I use it? And that feature’s not unique to Lincoln.

So would I spend the extra $7,000 for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid over the comparably-equipped Ford Fusion Hybrid? Probably not, although the Lincoln warranty (4/50,000) and dealership sales/service experience would be much nicer than rolling with the great unwashed masses at the local Ford dealer. The all-new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is an attractive new “green” car with tons of advanced tech features. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is about as close you can get to a Lexus without the name and its cargo capacity is 14 cubic feet – only a 2 cubic foot loss to the hybrid’s battery. Between $35,000 and $50,000, there are many worthy (and more memorable) competitors.

This is a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Titanium Edition (unchanged for 2014).  It has that handsome Aston Martin face.

This is a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Titanium Edition (unchanged for 2014). It has that handsome Aston Martin face.

The 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is also a good alternative to the MKZ.

The 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is also a good alternative to the MKZ.

I think for me to be interested in Lincoln again, it will have be a rear drive luxury flagship – maybe a new millennium Continental Mark car. Ford has a newly-reworked rear drive platform underpinning the 2015 Mustang that debuts on April 17, 2014.  I’m begging Ford to give Lincoln a product on this platform. Anything else, count me out.