2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 Dodge Charger

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 2020/08/05

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 Charger doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The MKZ has standard Park Sensing System to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, for the MKZ Reserve in front of the vehicle. The Charger doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

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 Charger doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the MKZ and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

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 Dodge Charger:

MKZ

Charger

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Stress

200 lbs.

230 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

41 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/333 lbs.

582/440 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Charger:

MKZ

Charger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

86

222

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

2 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

18 cm

28 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.4/.3 kN

3.7/3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.63/.41

1.21/.58

Tibia forces R/L

1/1.2 kN

3/4.7 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Dodge Charger:

MKZ

Charger

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

268

270

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

48 G’s

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, 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 169 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Charger was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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The MKZ comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Charger’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the MKZ 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Dodge covers the Charger. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Charger ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the MKZ have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Charger.

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

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 49 points higher than the Charger.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 8th.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 19th in reliability. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

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 2020/08/05

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

MPG

MKZ

FWD

2.0 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

Charger

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

15 city/24 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the MKZ Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop 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 Dodge Charger (3). This means the MKZ produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the Charger (245/45R18 vs. 215/65R17).

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 Charger SXT’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Charger SXT.

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/08/05

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 Charger doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

Chassis

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The Lincoln MKZ may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 200 pounds less than the Dodge Charger.

The MKZ is 4.5 inches shorter than the Charger SXT, making the MKZ easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Charger doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The MKZ uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Charger doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the MKZ AWD is quieter than the Charger Scat Pack:

MKZ

Charger

At idle

44 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

87 dB

70 MPH Cruising

71 dB

71 dB

Cargo Capacity

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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 Charger doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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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 Charger can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 61% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

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. An easy entry system costs extra on the Charger.

The MKZ’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Charger’s parking brake has to released manually.

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 Charger’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 Charger doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

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 Charger doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

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 Charger’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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

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 Charger.

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 Charger 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 Charger doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the MKZ owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MKZ will cost $1150 less than the Charger over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the Charger because typical repairs cost less on the MKZ than the Charger, including $31 less for a muffler, $75 less for front brake pads and $119 less for a fuel 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 2020/08/05

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

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

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