2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta

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 2020/01/28

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 Jetta doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

Both the MKZ and the Jetta 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Lincoln MKZ weighs 793 to 1421 pounds more than the Volkswagen Jetta. 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 Volkswagen Jetta:

MKZ

Jetta

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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 2020/01/28

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the MKZ 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Jetta. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Jetta ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The MKZ’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Jetta’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 30 percent more Lincoln dealers than there are Volkswagen 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 Jetta doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the MKZ has a 500-amp battery. The Jetta only offers a standard 480-amp battery.

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 Jetta’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 57 points higher than the Jetta.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lincoln 12 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The MKZ has more powerful engines than the Jetta:

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.

Jetta 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder

147 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Lincoln MKZ 2.0 turbo is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):

MKZ

Jetta

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.6 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.2 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Jetta Auto (42 city/39 hwy vs. 30 city/40 hwy).

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

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

Transmission

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The Lincoln MKZ comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta.

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 Jetta doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the MKZ’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Jetta:

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Jetta

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

11.5 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.4 inches

10.8 inches

The MKZ stops much shorter than the Jetta:

MKZ

Jetta

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the Jetta (245/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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 Jetta’s standard 60 series tires. The MKZ’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Jetta. The MKZ’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Lincoln MKZ has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Volkswagen Jetta has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The MKZ has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the MKZ flat and controlled during cornering. The Jetta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Jetta’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 Jetta doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the Jetta (112.2 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MKZ is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Jetta.

The MKZ Premiere AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Jetta SEL pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

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

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 Jetta is rated a Compact.

The MKZ has 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity

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The MKZ has a much larger trunk than the Jetta (15.4 vs. 14.1 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 Jetta’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 Jetta 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 Jetta doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

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

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 34% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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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 Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 Jetta doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net 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 Jetta doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net 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 Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Jetta R-Line/SEL Premium’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The MKZ’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

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

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

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 Jetta offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Jetta.

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 Jetta SE/R-Line/SEL/SEL Premium.

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

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because it costs $236 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the Jetta, including $345 less for a water pump, $419 less for a starter, $56 less for fuel injection, $74 less for a fuel pump and $110 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 Volkswagen Jetta isn't recommended.

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

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