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Review: 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Review: 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

I am not really a Lincoln kind of guy.  I work in a homeless shelter so it felt odd taking it as a tester and I don’t fall asleep thinking of luxury sedans which makes it hard to review but here is my experience with it.

When I got in the first time, I was confronted with my third different Sync setup in three different cars, a decision that confuses me.  It did look good with leather, genuine wood and chrome touches.  While young families aren’t Lincoln’s target market, there was plenty of room and despite coming from the 2012 Ford Edge, no one in the backseat complained. 

What suprised me was the quality of the ride; it wasn’t as good as the Ford Edge or as much fun to drive as the Ford Focus.  It does have some strong points.  It has both the Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert. Using two multiple-beam radar modules, the car  can detect when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the mirror. Cross-traffic alert uses the same technology to help detect if a car is approaching from either side within 14 metres of the vehicle when backing out of a parking space.  It’s a feature that works well in Saskatoon’s urban jungle, especially when looking for a parking spot.

The car didn’t win me over the first time I sat behind the wheel but it did grow on me as I got used to it.  While I wasn’t happy to see a new MyTouch interface, the combination of buttons and touch screen is a good one and the stereo is of excellent quality.  Despite the cold, the leather seats heat up quickly and the traction was excellent on some of Saskatoon’s icy streets.  The handling was fantastic but it did win me over as being comfortable and relaxing.  I never did take the car on a long road trip but after a trip to Pike Lake and back down Valley Road, I realized this would be a fantastic car for a weekend getaway or an extended road trip either with Wendy or the entire family

As for styling; it was non-descript.  I kept losing it in mall parking lots because it looks a lot like a lot of other mid sized sedans.  While Ford got the design right on the Focus and the Ford Edge, the styling of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was very conservative, again perhaps of it’s market.

It was an hybrid and I did get excellent fuel mileage out of it.  Ford says that the electric motor can take you up to 75 mph and while I didn’t get it up that fast, it did take a lot less fuel to commute to work than the Ford Edge or my Mazda 5 ever does.

Summary:

If you are looking for a fuel efficient way to get around in comfort, this is your car.  It will get you around the city with class and to your destination with comfort.

2012 Ford Edge Review

2012 Ford Edge

The good: Fantastic styling, comfortable ride, usable Ford Sync, vehicle adapts to you.  

The bad: Fuel economy isn’t great.

So I got a Ford Edge last week and have put it through the paces.  Here is how it did.

How the Edge felt:  Absolutely loved it.  Everything on the Edge feels refined and well thought out.  From the exterior to the interior and how the MyFord Touch is laid out.   Let me describe to you how I used it.  The car does not have a key but features a dongle that as you get within distance of the car, unlocks the doors as you touch the driver side door handle.  As you start the car, I had to use Ford Sync to switch to Sirius ESPN Radio.  After a couple of days of that, the radio stayed on ESPN.  Without fooling with any settings, the car used to reset to the past driver but again after a couple of days, the seats stayed the way I liked them.  I could have figured out how to do that myself but was impressed the car did it for me.

As I got in, the Sync connected with my iPhone which allowed for easy hands free calling while driving.  While I loved the paddle control on the Ford Focus, the Sync in the Edge was started by a button on the steering column, an inconsistency that I wasn’t that crazy with, especially if I owned both a Focus and a Edge.  Hands free calling quality was excellent and was superior to the speaker phone on my iPhone.  One thing that you need to be aware of is that MyFord Touch downloads your address book to the car which means that you need to delete your phone book when you are done with the car.  Something to remember if you are sharing a vehicle or lending it out. Several reviewers before me had left their phone information in the car which I dutifully deleted for them. 

As a crossover, the Edge includes seating for five plus an ample cargo area. The Edge retains its bulky, squat shape, but gets a more curvy front-end and smoother metal for the sides and rear pillars than previous versions. White LED parking light strips set into the front fascia make a nice addition to the car.

The Sony audio system is worth the price for its excellent audio quality. It produces very well-balanced sound through its 12 speakers. The highs come out clearly and the bass has some power to it, thanks to the system’s 390 watts of amplification.  That being said, I generally just listened to ESPN.  The one thing I didn’t like about the Ford Edge was the stereo controls.  Turning the stereo off an on would often change the radio station.  It’s not a big thing and definitely wouldn’t hold me back in buying it but it was the one flaw an other wise flawless car.

As for the Edge’s fuel economy, it was not great. EPA testing gives the Edge Sport 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway (check out fuel efficiency on Fuelly). In our driving, much of it along two-lane highways, we came in at 17.3 mpg, on the low side of the car’s range. Driving around Saskatoon, the transmission remained subtle, getting its job done without fuss. On the freeway it let the engine run at low rpms, around 2,000 while cruising at highway speeds. When I put the pedal down to pass or just get some good acceleration, it kicked into action and never had the disturbing habit that the Ford Focus did of shifting down killing both the acceleration and speed.  When I wanted to go somewhere quickly, it got me there.

I am almost 40 which means that I drive increasingly like an old man so I didn’t push it to the limits, but the car also showed nice stability and grip when turned.  It did have to pass the ultimate off road adventure, the side streets of Mayfair and it did quite well hitting the ruts, potholes, and water main breaks that define my street.

This Edge came  with Ford’s blind-spot detection system, which turns on lights in the mirrors when a car is in the Edge’s blind spot. This system worked well in our testing, giving few false positives.   It does have park assist but I refused to test a feature that helps me park.  That’s just me. 

The handling was fine.  Some reviews thought the car was top heavy but I never noticed it.  I wasn’t tearing into corners but I loved the handling at all speeds.

To summarize, this may be the best car I have ever driven.  I really look forward to owning on in the future.

Protect & Invest

The other day I sat down and re-read my friend Rudy Carassco‘s book, Protect & Invest.  It is a book about urban and multi-ethnic outreach and he gave me a copy while I was in Pasadena a couple years ago.  I am getting ready to give away about 1000 volumes from my library and this was one that I put in a pile to be kept.  The other night I was looking for something to read and I grabbed it and it was worth the couple hours that it took to read and digest it.

protest_invest135Rudy is writing from his own experiences in Los Angeles, Stanford, and now at Harambee and from his own Hispanic ethnic background.  While the racial make up of Saskatoon is a lot different than Pasadena and Los Angeles, Rudy’s observations transcend geography and make sense wherever there is racial diversity.

He talks a lot about the tension that existed in his own life in reconciling coming from a Mexican family, being born in the United States, and being a Christian which all have at least some sort of competing world views.  In some ways he reminded me of the first chapter of Hans Kung’s autobiography in which he starts with a history of Switzerland because to understand Kung, you had to understand Switzerland.  While Rudy does a good job of touching on it, our culture, background, and location has a tremendous influence on our faith and it needs to be thought through and wrestled with.

At the same time he reminded me that this is no small struggle and I see that daily with clients who wrestle with how to honor traditional native culture, life learned on the reserve, and now life in urban Saskatchewan which all have different values.  For Christians on top of that there is another dynamic and tension between culture, history, location, and the Kingdom.

It’s a good book and one that if you are involved in the melting pot experiment that is the United States or Canada’s idea of multi-culturalism, it is one that you will want to read.  You can purchase it from from Lulu.com.