With the 2013 MKZ, Lincoln says it has the most fuel-efficient luxury vehicle on sale in America. By the EPA ratings, they have a reason to cheer, though some buyers may find their results vary from the official line.
Like its corporate cousin, the Ford Fusion, the MKZ comes equipped with a four-cylinder engine as standard equipment. In this case, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the MKZ delivers EPA-rated fuel economy just shy of that of the Fusion. It's 22 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, or 26 mpg combined in front-drive MKZ sedans; in all-wheel-drive form, it's pegged at 22/31 mpg, or 25 mpg combined.
The V-6 is Lincoln's own exclusive engine offering in the MKZ, and predictably, its gas mileage numbers are lower--but not by that much. The EPA figures put it at 19/28 mpg, or 22 mpg combined for front-drive models; the all-wheel-drive version is set at 18/26 mpg, or 21 mpg combined.
Finally, there's the MKZ Hybrid, which shares the Fusion Hybrid's 2.0-liter four, teamed to lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor. While Lincoln points out its stellar EPA numbers--they're higher than diesels from the Germans, and well ahead of vehicles like the Lexus ES 300h--it's worth noting the widespread reporting of lower-than-predicted fuel economy in Ford's latest hybrids. Anecdotally, owners have reported mileage more in the high-30-mpg range; we've directly observed 41.6 mpg in the related Fusion Hybrid, with stretches of an observed 45 mpg.
What does it mean to you? You'll likely get gas mileage lower than that on the window sticker, but if you're religious about following the MKZ's SmartGauge to monitor fuel use, and you're very careful to accelerate slowly and smoothly, you'll maximize the benefits of the hybrid powertrain--and the same driving habits will do the same for non-hybrid models.
UPDATE: While the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was originally rated at 45 mpg combined (45 mpg city, 45 mpg highway), in June 2014 the company agree to cut the ratings to 38 mpg combined (38 mpg city, 37 mpg highway) after discovering errors in lab-test measurements and calculations for aerodynamic drag. The EPA let Ford lower the ratings and reimburse 2013 MKZ Hybrid owners for the increased gasoline costs, as it did for owners of five other cars whose ratings were reduced at the same time.