2019 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

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 Jetta doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

Both the MKZ and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 and available daytime running lights.

The Lincoln MKZ weighs 790 to 1329 pounds more than the Volkswagen Jetta. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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 Jetta has not been tested, yet.


The MKZ comes with free roadside assistance for 6 years 70,000 miles. Lincoln will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Jetta.

There are over 30 percent more Lincoln dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the MKZ’s warranty.


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 Jetta doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the MKZ has a 500-amp battery. The Jetta only offers a standard 480-amp battery.

The battery on the MKZ is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the MKZ’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Jetta’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.


The MKZ Hybrid’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 41 more horsepower (188 vs. 147) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The MKZ’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 98 more horsepower (245 vs. 147) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The MKZ’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 produces 203 more horsepower (350 vs. 147) and 216 lbs.-ft. more torque (400 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The MKZ’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 produces 253 more horsepower (400 vs. 147) and 216 lbs.-ft. more torque (400 vs. 184) than the Jetta’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Lincoln MKZ 2.0 Turbo is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):




Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.6 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.2 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta Auto (42 city/39 hwy vs. 30 city/40 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the MKZ Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Jetta doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The MKZ AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (18 vs. 13.2 gallons).

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 Jetta doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


The Lincoln MKZ comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta.

The MKZ Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Jetta doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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


MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T


Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.4 inches

10.8 inches

The MKZ stops much shorter than the Jetta:





70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the Jetta (245/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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 Jetta’s standard 60 series tires. The MKZ’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Jetta. The MKZ’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Lincoln MKZ has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Volkswagen Jetta has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The MKZ has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the MKZ flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Jetta’s 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 Jetta doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the Jetta (112.2 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

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

The MKZ AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Jetta R-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver 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 Jetta doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the MKZ a Mid-size car, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.

The MKZ has 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity

The MKZ has a much larger trunk than the Jetta (15.4 vs. 14.1 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the MKZ’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Jetta’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the MKZ. The Jetta 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 Jetta doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The MKZ uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Jetta 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 Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.


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 Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 Jetta doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

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 Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The MKZ’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

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

The MKZ’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen charges extra for heated mirrors on the Jetta.

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

The MKZ has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium.

Both the MKZ and the Jetta 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 Jetta 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 Jetta doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The MKZ’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Jetta doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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