Choosing Wisely: The 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid
The 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid.
The math behind hybrids is critical:  How much more will you pay for using less gasoline?  And how long will it take to make up in fuel savings the extra outlay for the hybrid?

The 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve makes it a no-brainer.  Both the gasoline and the hybrid versions cost the same...a base price of $39,670.

Trunk badge of 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid
2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid trunk badge.
Three months ago, the Phoenix bureau reviewed the gasoline-powered MKZ Reserve and liked it a lot (we share the same misgivings about adapting the Continental's front-end styling at the same time as the Connie's launch, but that's the sum total of our criticisms).

Choose the hybrid model (again for the same price) and you surrender some horsepower (245 becomes 188), but the hybrid's acceleration is more than adequate.  And you double the amount of time between trips to the gas station.  The EPA estimate of 21 city/31 highway in the gasoline-powered MKZ nearly doubles in the city to 41, while the highway number increases to 38.

Interior view of 2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid
2017 Lincoln MKZ Reserve Hybrid interior.
Inside, the MKZ Reserve feels several cuts above its Ford Fusion roots, arguably plusher than Acura, on a par with (but feeling to me more substantial than) Infiniti and still pushing toward Lexus.

Standard equipment includes chrome dual exhaust tips, adaptive headlamps, heated power mirrors with memory and security approach lamps, LED taillamps, a power trunklid, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone electronic climate control, heated and cooled 10-way power front seats (with memory for the driver), leather seating surfaces, a 110-volt power converter outlet, a powered tilt/telescope steering column, blind spot warning system with cross-traffic alert, remote unlock, lock and start, a rear-view camera, and the new SYNC 3 system (a major improvement over the previous generation).

Our tested had the extra cost ($695) White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat paint, the MKZ Technology Package ($2,395), the MKZ Climate Package ($695), the MKZ Luxury Package ($4,400), and the Revel Ultima audio system ($3,220). All of that adds up to quite a bit more than the bottom line of $46,530 our tester carried, but there are customer incentives that knock literally thousands off the tab.

We've long argued that the real sweet spot in hybrids is in larger cars, where more dramatic fuel savings can be achieved.  When the manufacturer is willing to offer the hybrid at no price penalty, the fuel savings become instantaneous.  The MKZ is in a very sweet spot indeed.