As has happened with quite a few Ford
products recently, within several hundred feet of driving away in the 2011 Lincoln Mkz
Hybrid I blanched slightly. Once again, this definitely was not what I was expecting. Back there -- glancing in the mirror to where I slipped the shifter into Drive a few moments ago -- I thought this was going to be a very predictable, write-by-numbers kinda story. Re-wrapped Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln-esque styling, a couple of upgraded features. Slam dunk. Simple.
Not so simple. Unlike Cadillac, which has taken the laudable (and more expensive) approach of creating models that are often noticeably differentiated from their GM brethren, Lincoln
appears to have no reservations about blatantly basing its fleet on the Mother Company's pedestrian Fords. The view I picked up from conversations between my fellow journalists and Lincoln
personnel is that Cadillac
has made a mistake. It bravely gambled on the unique-car approach, and the bet isn't paying off in the marketplace. Of course, back when Lincolns were erected atop extraordinarily mediocre Fords, the tenuous minuet between the two predictably pratfalled. But Ford
is now a very surefooted dance partner.
Which gets me back to the LINCOLN MKZ
Hybrid. The Fusion this Lincoln
is based upon is a variant of our 2010 Car of Year winner. Meaning, it's solid feedstock for composing a little Lincoln. In its hybrid form, more than a few people in our business prefer the Fusion hybrid over the more fuel-frugal, but very sterile-driving, Toyota Prius