2019 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Lincoln MKZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The ES Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKZ only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the ES Series and the MKZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKZ was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.


The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MKZ’s (6 vs. 5 years).


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 ES Series’ reliability 51 points higher than the MKZ.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Lincoln is ranked 20th.


As tested in Motor Trend the ES 300h hybrid is faster than the MKZ Hybrid:


ES Series


Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.6 MPH

84.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the ES Series gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ:





ES Series



300h 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/45 hwy



350 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/33 hwy



F Sport 350 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy




2.0 4 cyl. Hybrid

42 city/39 hwy



2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/31 hwy



3.0 turbo V6

18 city/27 hwy



2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/29 hwy



3.0 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MKZ with the 3.0 turbo V6 engine requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.


An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus ES Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKZ.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the ES Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the MKZ:


ES Series


Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the MKZ.

For better maneuverability, the ES Series’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the MKZ’s (38 feet vs. 39 feet). The ES Series w/18-19” wheels’ turning circle is .2 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (38.8 feet vs. 39 feet).

Passenger Space

The ES Series has 3.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKZ (99.9 vs. 96.6).

The ES Series has 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear hip room than the MKZ.

Cargo Capacity

The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the MKZ (16.7 vs. 15.4 cubic feet). The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the MKZ Hybrid (16.7 vs. 11.1 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the ES Series’ available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The MKZ doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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


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 ES Series’ headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

When the ES Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The MKZ’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Lincoln MKZ isn't recommended.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Lincoln MKZ by over two to one during 2018.

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

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