• MKZ Hybrid rated at 45 mpg city and highway.
  • Prices for both base MKZ and MKZ Hybrid start at $35,925.
  • Buyers can choose from hybrid, 4- or 6-cylinder drivetrains.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced fuel economy ratings for the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The completely redesigned mid-size sedan is rated at 45 mpg in both city and highway driving. That's a significant advantage over the 22/33 mpg city/hwy rating for the thriftiest non-hybrid MKZ.

Lower fuel costs could quickly make up for the price premium of the hybrid, but Lincoln isn't asking for extra money for the hybrid setup. The MKZ Hybrid has a starting price of $35,925, just like the conventional MKZ.

Lincoln offers three drivetrains for its new luxury sedan. The MKZ Hybrid uses a gasoline-electric system with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It's exclusively front-wheel drive. Conventional drivetrains include a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 3.7-liter V6. Each of these is available with either front- or all-wheel drive and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is rated at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid's 45-mpg across-the-board rating is short of some purpose-built fuel sippers, but it's tops among luxury vehicles, even hybrid and diesel versions. The new Lexus ES 300h--also a hybrid--might be its closest competitor in style and substance. It's rated at 40 mpg city/39 mpg hwy and costs at least $2,750 more than either the MKZ Hybrid or its conventionally powered sister model, the Lexus ES 350.

The base MKZ Hybrid comes with leather-trimmed seating, heated front seats, an 8-inch display, 11-speaker premium audio, real wood trim and the SYNC infotainment system with MyLincoln Touch. From there, three additional equipment packages are available, from the $1,100 Select group with a backup camera and parking sensors to the loaded, $5,330 Preferred package.

The 2013 MKZ and MKZ Hybrid arrive later this year, but shoppers interested in the luxury sedan now can configure and price one online.

Better fuel efficiency definitely saves money over time, but it's not just economy cars that are taking advantage of new technology. Luxury automakers are keen to deliver more miles per gallon, too, both to meet increasingly stringent government regulations and to satisfy drivers at the pump. Several luxury automakers offer hybrids that are more economical than their conventional counterparts. But unlike the MKZ Hybrid, the gasoline-electric versions typically include a price premium. And rarely are the efficiency advantages of hybrid models as great as they are in the 2013 MKZ Hybrid.

What it means to you: Luxury hybrids are becoming increasingly common, allowing drivers to enjoy better fuel economy without losing upscale amenities and style. The 45-mpg Lincoln MKZ Hybrid offers excellent economy, nice standard features and a price that's identical to the non-hybrid MKZ.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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