Ford's most significant hybrid niche?
Ford has been producing great hybrid cars for years. Unfortunately, Ford just hasn't been producing enough of them to cause a whole lotta excitement.
While the Lincoln MKZ hybrid won't help challenge Toyota's hybrid sales all that much just yet, it could put Ford on track to dominate Lexus and luxury hybrid sales.
Based on the extremely well received Ford Fusion hybrid, high expectations for the MKZ hybrid shouldn't be surprising, especially since it is cheaper and more fuel efficient than the Lexus HS 250h hybrid. Yet, the MKZ hybrid puts the Fusion hybrid to shame, as well as its Lexus competition.
“Despite sharing, part-for-part, the Fusion's steering and suspension hardware (its shock valving is slightly different, I was told), the MKZ Hybrid drives like a very different car. Off-center steering motions are Lexus-liquidy; the ride's absorbency suggests the sponges in the suspension are from Neiman Marcus; and the brake pedal says this is a luxury car being stopped with virtually no regen-braking sensation. Frankly, I'm floored that such a personality metamorphosis can be accomplished almost solely by rewriting software. Lincoln's future success is going to rest not only on very good Fords as the foundation, but also astute software work like this,” writes MotorTrends's Kim Reynolds.
Ultimately, Lincoln hybrid sales, even if they eventually outperform Lexus hybrid sales, will still be relatively insignificant. Nevertheless, a little domination of Toyota would be another nice step for Ford's incrementally creeping-forward hybrid program. Eventually, hopefully, that will help lead to the kind of scale that will one day soon challenge Toyota's yearly hybrid output.