2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2020 Lincoln MKZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus ES Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Lincoln MKZ doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The ES Series has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MKZ doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The ES Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The MKZ doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The ES Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera 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 ES Series 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 wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available 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 Lexus ES Series is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

ES Series

MKZ

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

125

Neck Injury Risk

24%

28%

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

33%

52%

Neck Stress

159 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 IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKZ last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MKZ’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the ES Series has a standard 603-amp battery. The MKZ’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 41 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Lincoln is ranked 15th.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the ES 300h is faster than the MKZ Hybrid:

ES Series

MKZ

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.6 MPH

84.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

On the EPA test cycle the ES Series gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ:

MPG

ES Series

FWD

2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

F Sport 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

MKZ

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

42 city/39 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/31 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/27 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MKZ with the 3.0 turbo V6 engine requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus ES Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKZ.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the ES Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the MKZ:

ES Series

MKZ

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the MKZ.

For better maneuverability, the ES Series’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the MKZ’s (38 feet vs. 39 feet). The ES Series w/18-19” wheels’ turning circle is .2 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (38.8 feet vs. 39 feet).

Passenger Space

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The ES Series has 3.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKZ (99.9 vs. 96.6).

The ES Series has 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear hip room than the MKZ.

The front step up height for the ES Series is 1.2 inches lower than the MKZ (14.8” vs. 16”). The ES Series’ rear step up height is 1 inches lower than the MKZ’s (15” vs. 16”).

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the MKZ (16.7 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the ES Series easier. The ES Series’ trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the MKZ’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series 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 ES Series’ 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

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 16% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.

Ergonomics

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The ES Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 ES Series’ power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The MKZ’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 ES Series’ headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

A power rear sunshade is optional in the ES Series and manual rear side window sunshades are standard in the ES Series Ultra Luxury to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The MKZ doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

When the ES Series 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Lexus ES Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MKZ doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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

The ES Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the ES Series will retain 48.23% to 49.19% of its original price after five years, while the MKZ only retains 35.08% to 36.76%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the ES Series than the MKZ, including $566 less for a muffler, $7 less for front brake pads, $6 less for a fuel pump and $2 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus ES Series and the Lincoln MKZ, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Lincoln MKZ by almost three to one during 2019.

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

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