Ford's luxo-nameplate announced Monday morning that the hybrid version of the 2013 MKZ had been rated by the EPA at 45 mpg in the city, highway and combined. This should come as no surprise as the car the MKZ is largely based on, the 2013 Ford Fusion, was recently rated at 47 mpg across the board.
This mpg rating means the MKZ Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient luxury car available and is a much-needed arrow for Lincoln's quiver in its fight against Lexus. The MKZ targets directly the Lexus ES 300h (which we recently tested), and the Lincoln's $36,800 starting price is almost $3,000 less than the Lexus.
Why the gap? Lexus prices its hybrid ES higher than its base ES, whereas the base price for Lincoln's MKZ gets you either the gas model or the hybrid. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
The front-wheel drive MKZ Hybrid has a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor for a total output of 188 horsepower (Lexus' ES 300h has 200), paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Lincoln is coy with an exact sales date for both versions of the MKZ, saying only that it will go on sale by the end of the year. In the meantime, we'll have one landing in our test garage in about a month. Stay tuned.