2019 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2018 Toyota Prius

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Prius doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

Compared to metal, the MKZ’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Prius has a metal gas tank.

Both the MKZ and the Prius have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head 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, driver alert monitors, available daytime running lights and front parking sensors.

The Lincoln MKZ weighs 669 to 1207 pounds more than the Toyota Prius. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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 Toyota Prius:







5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

200 lbs.

344 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

42 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/333 lbs.

290/353 lbs.

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 Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Toyota Prius:





Into Pole


5 Stars

2 Stars




Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

48 G’s

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


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 Prius’ 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 Toyota covers the Prius. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Prius 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 Prius 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 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.


The MKZ Hybrid’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 67 more horsepower (188 vs. 121) than the Prius’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is faster than the Toyota Prius:




Zero to 60 MPH

9.4 sec

10.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

25.3 sec

31.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

9.1 sec

10.9 sec

Quarter Mile

17.2 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

79 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius (14 vs. 11.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The MKZ has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Prius doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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




Front Rotors

11.8 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.2 inches

The MKZ stops much shorter than the Prius:





70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the Prius (245/45R18 vs. 195/65R15). The MKZ’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Prius (245/45R18 vs. 215/45R17).

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 Prius’ standard 65 series tires. The MKZ’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Prius Touring’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Prius. The MKZ’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Prius Touring.

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 Prius’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The MKZ’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Prius doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Prius (112.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MKZ is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Prius.

The MKZ Premiere AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Prius Two Eco pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The MKZ Premiere AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Prius Two Eco (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .55 average G’s).


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

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the MKZ AWD is quieter than the Prius Four Touring (71 vs. 72 dB).

Passenger Space

The MKZ has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Prius (96.6 vs. 93.1).

The MKZ has 2 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, 3.6 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius.

Cargo Capacity

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

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the MKZ offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The Prius doesn’t offer a power liftgate.


The MKZ has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Prius has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The MKZ uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Prius 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 33% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.


The MKZ has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Prius doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Prius 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 Prius doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the MKZ and the Prius have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the MKZ is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Prius prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the MKZ the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Prius can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the MKZ’s exterior PIN entry system. The Prius doesn’t offer an exterior PIN 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 Prius’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The MKZ has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Prius has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Two Eco/Three/Four.

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 Prius 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 Prius 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 Prius doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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 Prius offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The MKZ has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Prius Four. 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 Prius.

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 Prius 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 Prius doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The MKZ’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Prius doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the MKZ and the Prius 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 Prius doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The MKZ offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Prius doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the Prius because typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the Prius, including $12 less for a water pump, $271 less for fuel injection, $19 less for a fuel pump and $20 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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