• Lincoln doubling MKZ Hybrid production
  • Fuel-efficient luxury sedan more popular than first thought
  • MKZ Hybrid offers 47 mpg, starts around $37,000

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is proving more popular than expected. Lincoln's parent company, Ford, is doubling production of the all-new MKZ Hybrid sedan for the 2014 model year after demand for the fuel-efficient luxury car was stronger than first thought.

Satisfied MKZ Hybrid owners likely won't be surprised to learn that demand is exceeding expectations. One reason is the MKZ's fuel-economy rating. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the MKZ Hybrid returns an exceptional 47 miles per gallon city/47 mpg hwy. That tops fuel economy figures posted by all rivals, including the all-new Lexus ES 300h, which returns 40 mpg city/39 mpg hwy.

Another reason for the MKZ Hybrid's popularity is its pricing. Rather than charge a premium for the efficient hybrid engine, Lincoln priced the MKZ Hybrid at the same level as the car's gas-powered models. That means the MKZ Hybrid starts around $37,000 with shipping, while the ES 300h is more than $40,000 including destination.

For these reasons, more car buyers are adding the MKZ Hybrid to their shopping lists. And now, with production increased, it will be easier for shoppers to find an MKZ Hybrid at a local dealer. Ford says hybrid production will represent about 40 percent of MKZ units for 2014, compared to the 20 percent it accounted for in 2013.

The MKZ Hybrid's strong sales have even caused Ford's share of the hybrid market to shoot up. The brand now captures 16 percent of hybrid car sales, compared to 12 percent last year. Those numbers show that Ford is increasingly becoming a major player in the hybrid car market -- and that buyers interested in a hybrid should consider adding a Ford or Lincoln to their shopping lists.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is with dealers now. Shoppers interested in the 2014 model will have to wait until it reaches dealers later this year.

What it means to you: The MKZ Hybrid's popularity proves that the sedan offers a strong combination of luxury, fuel efficiency and reasonable pricing.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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