2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 Acura ILX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 ILX doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

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 ILX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the MKZ and the ILX 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

The Lincoln MKZ weighs 604 to 1214 pounds more than the Acura ILX. 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 Acura ILX:

MKZ

ILX

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

125

227

Neck Stress

200 lbs.

257 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

56 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 Acura ILX:

MKZ

ILX

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

268

299

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

56 G’s

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

Warranty

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There are over 3 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MKZ’s warranty.

Reliability

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

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 ILX’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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 MKZ’s reliability 12 points higher than the ILX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 19th in reliability. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lincoln 13 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The MKZ has more powerful engines than the ILX:

Horsepower

Torque

MKZ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

350 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

MKZ AWD 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

ILX 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

201 HP

180 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the ILX (42 city/39 hwy vs. 24 city/34 hwy).

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the MKZ Hybrid’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The MKZ AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the ILX (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 ILX doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lincoln MKZ higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Acura ILX (3). This means the MKZ produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ILX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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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 ILX doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The MKZ stops much shorter than the ILX:

MKZ

ILX

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the ILX (245/45R18 vs. 215/45R17). The MKZ’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ILX (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

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

The MKZ (except Hybrid) has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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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 ILX’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 ILX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the ILX (112.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MKZ is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the ILX.

The MKZ AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

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The front grille of the MKZ Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The ILX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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

The MKZ has 7.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (96.6 vs. 89.3).

The MKZ has 2 inches more front legroom, 4.8 inches more front hip room, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

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The MKZ has a much larger trunk than the ILX (15.4 vs. 12.4 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 ILX’s useful trunk space.

The MKZ’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

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 ILX doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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

The MKZ 3.0 Turbo/Hybrid (except 2.0 Turbo) can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the MKZ can be unhitched and driven around locally. The ILX can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

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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 ILX doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The MKZ’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The ILX has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The power windows standard on both the MKZ and the ILX 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 ILX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The MKZ’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The ILX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 ILX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

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 ILX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink 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 ILX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the MKZ detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ILX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 ILX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

The MKZ has standard 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 ILX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the MKZ and the ILX have standard heated front seats. The MKZ Reserve also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ILX.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the MKZ Reserve keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The ILX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the MKZ Reserve’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The ILX doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The MKZ Reserve offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the ILX.

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

The MKZ Reserve’s 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 ILX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the MKZ owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the MKZ with a number “5” insurance rate while the ILX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the ILX because typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the ILX, including $11 less for a water pump, $338 less for a starter, $117 less for fuel injection, $63 less for a fuel pump and $49 less for front struts.

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 2020/01/28

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lincoln MKZ, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lincoln MKZ outsold the Acura ILX by 35% during the 2019 model year.

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

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