2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Lincoln MKZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Maxima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The MKZ doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Maxima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The MKZ doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The MKZ doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers an optional Around View® Monitor 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 Maxima and the MKZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available 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 Nissan Maxima is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

Maxima

MKZ

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

106

125

Neck Compression

20 lbs.

24 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

67/94 lbs.

167/333 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

103

254

Neck Injury Risk

29%

52%

Neck Stress

114 lbs.

197 lbs.

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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKZ was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

There are over 27 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Lincoln dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Maxima’s reliability 55 points higher than the MKZ.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The MKZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 6 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Engine

The Maxima has more powerful engines than the MKZ:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Maxima 3.5 DOHC V6

300 HP

261 lbs.-ft.

MKZ Hybrid 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

188 HP

 

MKZ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

Maxima

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ turbo 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

9.4 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

25.3 sec

21.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

9.1 sec

8.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

17.2 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

83 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

135 MPH

109 MPH

135 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Maxima has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Maxima

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.13 inches

11.9 inches

12.4 inches

The Maxima’s brakes have 62% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the MKZ (444 vs. 274.5 square inches), so the Maxima has more braking power available.

The Maxima’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 Maxima stops shorter than the MKZ:

 

Maxima

MKZ

 

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The MKZ doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the MKZ, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling

The Maxima SR handles at .87 G’s, while the MKZ Hybrid pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Maxima SR executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the MKZ Premiere (26.6 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Maxima’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (38.1 feet vs. 39 feet).

Passenger Space

The Maxima has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the MKZ.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Maxima easier. The Maxima’s trunk lift-over height is 28.8 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 Maxima offers cargo security. The MKZ’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Ergonomics

The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The MKZ does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Maxima 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 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 Maxima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

When the Maxima 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Maxima with a number “1” insurance rate while the MKZ is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the MKZ, including $394 less for a muffler, $22 less for front brake pads, $16 less for a fuel pump, $66 less for front struts, $294 less for a timing belt/chain and $512 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima second among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The MKZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Lincoln MKZ by over two to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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