I’m not really a major car freak like I once was when younger. I still do appreciate cars particularly when the approach is conservative and properly stated. That doesn’t mean being overly conservative or square, just tactful in my mind.
I have always given American cars first looks because well, I’m a proud American. Sadly American cars have seemingly lost their focus on what the public wants over the last 20 years or so. Lincoln had in my opinion something working for them with the Lincoln LS but then discontinued that model after 2006 as well as the Town Car in 2011 which I never cared for.
To date Cadillac seems to have the right approach to getting the attention of the general public. With the recent introduction of the ATS to compete with the likes of the 3 series BMW, there’s something finally exciting with an American brand. Even more impressive to me is the newly revealed CTS V-Sport aimed squarely at the 5 series and E class Mercedes Benz and is absolutely gorgeous.
Something in particular caught my attention about this Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and was all about ears and sound (or the lack of it).
The 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
I recently had the opportunity to drive the 2012 Lincoln MKZ as a rental while my wife’s 2003 Lincoln LS v8 was being serviced. I was very surprised by this vehicle for several reason which I will explain in a moment but first I have a confession. I am not a fan of the hybrid approach because it feels like something is being taken away from me as the driver and thats raw horsepower.
When I got behind the wheel of this car the first thing I noticed was that the seats felt reasonably comfortable and supportive as well. I felt positioned very well which is something I have a hard time doing with many cars I sit in and it’s the first think usually that I knock a vehicle for as a negative.
As I combed my eyes over the interior of this car I was awkwardly delighted at how well it seem to be appointed. My tactile experience was not disappointed either as I found that all surfaces I touched including the dashboard felt reassuring and of quality.
I could not get over how silent this car is when you start it up. You will absolutely hear nothing and I mean nothing. My wife had to convince me that she had started the car and was ready to drive on more than one occasion. Once out on the road you realize that there are different moments when the electric motor is running the show and when the gasoline engine is in command. The car surprisingly performed pretty well in my view because I often got up to 45 mph in a 35 mph zone without noticing it.
Looking at the gauges was interesting and intriguing simutaneously as they are bright and graphically pleasing to look at. But the real star here is the fuel consumption / average readings as they were overwhelmingly gratifying. This is where the hybrid feature really has its selling point but it is a long haul proposition as it will take many years to offset the purchasing cost compared to its gas burning twin.
The real show stopper for me was the 5.1 channel 600 watt sound system in this Lincoln as I was completely amazed at how well it performed. Not only was it well balanced in terms of the full range of the sound spectrum but music was reproduced at a high fidelity level of quality I never anticipated.
It was not simply “loud” but rather concert or studio like in its approach. I immersed myself with good music to the point I found myself dancing ever so slightly in my seat (something us conservatives just don’t do!) as I discovered a new radio station on the dial at 89.9FM KCRW (featuring eclectic music from around the world). It seemed that regardless the volume setting I pushed it to, the system could simply handle it and well. I was not disappointed in the least.
Lacking Fondness For
I know that this car is not designed to be very athletic in its handling prowess (or lack thereof) but you can’t blame me for pushing it a little to see if it had any right? Well, the Lincoln MKZ may have me satisfied with how well it is off the line pointed straight as a hybrid, but, I was not at all impressed with its lack of handling around corners and curves in the road. It felt like it was wearing formal dress shoes in a track event and quickly lost its sense of confidence when under pressure in turns. Certainly not like the Lincoln LS in this regard.
Another thing struck me as a bit odd. The doors felt a bit light when opening and closing them as if to suggest that there was no protection to gain from them. The felt very hollow which made me feel uncomfortable assuming that in an accident, I may not have much protection to gain.
The MKZ did feel a bit heavy and I suspect that has to do with the batteries on board. Which promptly brings me to the rather small trunk as a trade off for the advantages the hybrid function affords its owner. I would say that it was not too terrible but very noticeable nonetheless.
The brake and gas peddles also feel a bit toy like as feed back and application was a bit uncertain. Yet the biggest gripe for me was the near death sensitivity when applying the brakes…watch out! They are so sensitive that the slightest touch is equal to a hard application when compared with our 2003 Lincoln LS. I not sure but I suspect that it maybe synonymous with hybrid vehicles as I have experienced the same with others I have driven.
Why in the heck did I write about this car? I was blown away on how well the sound system is in that car and I had to say something about it. Maybe it means that I haven’t been in a new / modern car in some time (and that would be somewhat true). More importantly it made me keenly aware (as did my wife) that our Lincoln needs a sound system upgrade. Alpine, Kenwood, JBL, I’m not sure yet but I know it has to match or beat the Lincoln MKZ!