2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 Kia Optima

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 2020/09/29

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 Optima doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

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 Optima doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the MKZ and the Optima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

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 Kia Optima:

MKZ

Optima

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

125

185

Neck Stress

200 lbs.

218 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

55 lbs.

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

Warranty

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The MKZ’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 9 percent more Lincoln dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it 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 Optima 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 20 points higher than the Optima.

Engine

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The MKZ has more powerful engines than the Optima:

Horsepower

Torque

MKZ Hybrid 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder

188 HP

n/a

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.

Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder

178 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

Optima 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

245 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Lincoln MKZ 2.0 turbo is faster than the Kia Optima 4-cylinder:

MKZ

Optima

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.6 sec

4.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.2 MPH

89 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 2020/09/29

On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Optima EX (42 city/39 hwy vs. 27 city/37 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the MKZ Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Optima 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 Optima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Optima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

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 Optima doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The MKZ stops much shorter than the Optima:

MKZ

Optima

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the Optima (245/45R18 vs. 205/65R16). The MKZ’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18).

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 Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires. The MKZ’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Optima S/SX’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima LX. The MKZ’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Optima S/SX.

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 Optima’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 Optima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Optima (112.2 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

The MKZ Premiere AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Optima pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The MKZ Premiere AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Optima (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

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 Optima 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 Optima doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

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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 Optima’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the MKZ. The Optima doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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 Optima doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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The MKZ has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Optima 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 Optima 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 Kia. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 40% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

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 Optima.

The MKZ’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Optima’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 Optima’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Optima S/EX/SX’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the MKZ the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Optima can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the MKZ Reserve to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Optima 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 Optima offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The MKZ has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Optima EX/SX. 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 Optima.

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 Optima.

The MKZ has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Optima EX/SX.

Both the MKZ and the Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2020/09/29

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

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

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