2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 Lexus ES Series

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 ES Series doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

Both the MKZ and the ES Series 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, 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 and available front parking sensors.

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 Lexus ES Series:

MKZ

ES Series

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Stress

200 lbs.

239 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

30 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/333 lbs.

524/628 lbs.

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

Warranty

© 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 2020/08/10

There are almost 4 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are Lexus 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 ES Series 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 ES Series’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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

Engine

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The MKZ has more powerful engines than the ES Series:

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.

ES 350 3.5 DOHC V6

302 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Lincoln MKZ 2.0 turbo is faster than the ES 300h:

MKZ

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

16 sec

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 2020/08/10

The MKZ FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (16.5 vs. 13.2 gallons). The MKZ AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series’ standard fuel tank (18 vs. 15.9 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 ES Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the MKZ 2.0T/3.0T’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

ES Series

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

11.1 inches

The MKZ stops much shorter than the ES Series:

MKZ

ES Series

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

140 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the ES Series (245/45R18 vs. 215/55R17). The MKZ’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ES Series (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 ES Series’ standard 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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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 ES Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The MKZ Premiere AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The MKZ Premiere AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the ES 300h (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 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 ES Series doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The MKZ has .4 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

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 ES Series’ useful trunk space.

The MKZ’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Towing

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The MKZ has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The ES Series 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 ES Series can’t be towed flat on the ground.

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 ES Series.

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 ES Series 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 ES Series 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 ES Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The MKZ has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the ES Series. 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 ES Series.

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 ES Series.

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 ES Series 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 ES Series 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 $170 less than the ES Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because it costs $182 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the ES Series, including $59 less for a water pump, $268 less for a starter, $52 less for fuel injection, $158 less for front struts and $330 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 2020/08/10

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

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

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