2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Lincoln MKZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A3 Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The MKZ doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A3 Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Lincoln MKZ has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The A3 Sedan has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MKZ doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the A3 Sedan and the MKZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

A3 Sedan

MKZ

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

34%

52%

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

A3 Sedan

MKZ

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKZ was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MKZ’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the MKZ’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid and 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A3 Sedan’s reliability 26 points higher than the MKZ.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 13 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Lincoln MKZ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

A3 Sedan

MKZ

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

21.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

4 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ:

 

 

 

MPG

A3 Sedan

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

MKZ

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/31 hwy

 

 

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

 

 

3.0 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the A3 Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lincoln only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the MKZ Hybrid.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A3 Sedan higher (7 out of 10) than the Lincoln MKZ (5 to 7). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MKZ every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A3 Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKZ.

The A3 Sedan offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The MKZ doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A3 Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MKZ:

 

A3 40 TFSI

A3 Quattro 45 TFSI

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the MKZ:

 

A3 Sedan

MKZ

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MKZ’s optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the MKZ Hybrid pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the MKZ Premiere (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (36.1 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 850 pounds less than the Lincoln MKZ.

The A3 Sedan is 1 foot, 6.4 inches shorter than the MKZ, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro is quieter than the MKZ AWD:

 

A3 Sedan

MKZ

At idle

41 dB

44 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

71 dB

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A3 Sedan easier. The A3 Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.3 inches, while the MKZ’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.

Ergonomics

The A3 Sedan has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The MKZ doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A3 Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The MKZ doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A3 Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A3 Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The MKZ doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Lincoln MKZ isn’t available as a convertible or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A3 Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A3 Sedan will cost $120 less than the MKZ over a five-year period.

The A3 Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A3 Sedan will retain 47% to 47.42% of its original price after five years, while the MKZ only retains 38.09% to 40.84%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the MKZ, including $452 less for a muffler, $4 less for front brake pads, $10 less for fuel injection, $109 less for a fuel pump, $671 less for a timing belt/chain and $360 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A3 Sedan will be $1633 to $9115 less than for the Lincoln MKZ.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Lincoln MKZ isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A3 Sedan first among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The MKZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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