2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2018 Lincoln MKZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Lincoln MKZ doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C-Class 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.

The C-Class Sedan offers an optional Surround View System 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 C-Class Sedan and the MKZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

C-Class Sedan

MKZ

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

24%

28%

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

246

254

Neck Stress

147 lbs.

197 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

C-Class Sedan

MKZ

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

HIC

248

268

Spine Acceleration

43 G’s

46 G’s

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

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The MKZ’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 8 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Engine

The C-Class Sedan has more powerful engines than the MKZ:

 

Horsepower

Torque

C 300 Sedan 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

255 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

AMG C 43 Sedan 3.0 turbo V6

385 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

MKZ Hybrid 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

188 HP

n/a

MKZ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

350 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ:

 

 

C-Class

MKZ

 

2WD

300/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

21 city/31 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

AWD

300/Auto

22 city/33 hwy

20 city/28 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

Regardless of its engine, the C-Class 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.

The C-Class Sedan has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, 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 C-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MKZ:

 

C 300

AMG C 43

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.9 inches

12.4 inches

The C-Class Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MKZ are solid, not vented.

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the MKZ:

 

C-Class

MKZ

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The C-Class Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear 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.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The MKZ doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The AMG C 43 Sedan handles at .93 G’s, while the MKZ Hybrid pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the MKZ Premiere (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (36.8 feet vs. 39 feet). The AMG C 43 Sedan’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (38.7 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 450 pounds less than the Lincoln MKZ.

The C-Class Sedan is 9.4 inches shorter than the MKZ, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the C-Class Sedan easier. The C-Class Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 28 inches, while the MKZ’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The MKZ’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the C-Class Sedan’s trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, 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

The engine in the C-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MKZ. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 8% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MKZ, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The MKZ doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The C-Class 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.

The C-Class Sedan’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 MKZ’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

When the C-Class Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The MKZ’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Model Availability

The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Lincoln MKZ isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the C-Class Sedan with a number “3” insurance rate while the MKZ is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the MKZ, including $123 less for a muffler, $3 less for front brake pads, $31 less for fuel injection, $775 less for a timing belt/chain and $360 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The MKZ has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Lincoln MKZ by almost three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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