2019 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2018 Ford C-MAX Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash


The rear seatbelts optional on the MKZ inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The MKZ has standard Pre-Collision Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The C-MAX Hybrid offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The MKZ offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The MKZ’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The MKZ’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the MKZ and the C-MAX Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights and front parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Ford C-MAX Hybrid:



C-MAX Hybrid




5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

200 lbs.

388 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/333 lbs.

328/316 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Lincoln MKZ is safer than the C-MAX Hybrid:



C-MAX Hybrid

Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

2 cm

7 cm

Chest Evaluation



Max Chest Compression

18 cm

25 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

.4/.3 kN

3.4/1.9 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia forces R/L

1/1.2 kN

1.5/2.7 kN

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 Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Ford C-MAX Hybrid:



C-MAX Hybrid


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MKZ the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The C-MAX Hybrid was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.


The MKZ comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The C-MAX Hybrid’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the MKZ 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the C-MAX Hybrid. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the C-MAX Hybrid ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.


The MKZ has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the C-MAX Hybrid (42 city/39 hwy vs. 42 city/38 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the MKZ Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the C-MAX Hybrid:




Front Rotors

11.8 inches

10.94 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11 inches

The MKZ stops much shorter than the C-MAX Hybrid:





70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

150 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the C-MAX Hybrid (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The MKZ’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the C-MAX Hybrid’s standard 50 series tires. The MKZ’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the C-MAX Hybrid’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the C-MAX Hybrid. The MKZ offers optional 19-inch wheels.

The MKZ has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the C-MAX Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The MKZ has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The C-MAX Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 7.9 inches longer than on the C-MAX Hybrid (112.2 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MKZ is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the C-MAX Hybrid.

The MKZ Premiere AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the C-MAX Hybrid Titanium pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.


The MKZ uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The MKZ has 1.2 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the C-MAX Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the MKZ. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.


The MKZ has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The C-MAX Hybrid has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The MKZ uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The C-MAX Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the MKZ to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ford doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the C-MAX Hybrid.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 49% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.


When two different drivers share the MKZ, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory system.

The MKZ’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The MKZ’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The C-MAX Hybrid SE’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the MKZ detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the MKZ has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the MKZ has standard extendable sun visors. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the MKZ to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The MKZ’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford charges extra for heated mirrors on the C-MAX Hybrid.

The MKZ offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The C-MAX Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The MKZ has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the C-MAX Hybrid. The MKZ also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the C-MAX Hybrid.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the MKZ keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the MKZ’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the MKZ and the C-MAX Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the MKZ has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the MKZ offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MKZ owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the MKZ with a number “5” insurance rate while the C-MAX Hybrid is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the C-MAX Hybrid because typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the C-MAX Hybrid, including $215 less for a water pump.


The Lincoln MKZ outsold the Ford C-MAX by almost two to one during the 2018 model year.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos