2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Lincoln MKZ

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 2020/02/23

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Lincoln MKZ doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C-Class Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The MKZ doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The C-Class Sedan offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKZ only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the MKZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

C-Class Sedan

MKZ

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

24%

28%

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

246

254

Neck Stress

147 lbs.

197 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

C-Class

MKZ

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

HIC

248

268

Spine Acceleration

43 G’s

46 G’s

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKZ was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The MKZ’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ:

MPG

C-Class Sedan

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

MKZ

FWD

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

The C-Class Sedan has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKZ.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MKZ:

C-Class

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Front Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

The C-Class Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MKZ are solid, not vented.

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the MKZ:

C-Class Sedan

MKZ

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The C-Class Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MKZ’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The MKZ doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the MKZ Premiere AWD pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the MKZ Premiere (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (36.8 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 700 pounds less than the Lincoln MKZ.

The C-Class Sedan is 9.4 inches shorter than the MKZ, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the C-Class Sedan easier. The C-Class Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 28 inches, while the MKZ’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The MKZ’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the C-Class Sedan’s trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MKZ doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the C-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MKZ. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 5% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MKZ, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The MKZ doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The C-Class Sedan’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The MKZ’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The C-Class Sedan has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The MKZ doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The C-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

When the C-Class Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The MKZ’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes C-Class offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MKZ doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The MKZ Reserve’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Lincoln MKZ isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the C-Class Sedan with a number “3” insurance rate while the MKZ is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the MKZ, including $129 less for a muffler, $3 less for front brake pads, $32 less for fuel injection, $789 less for a timing belt/chain and $364 less for a power steering 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 2020/02/23

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes C-Class Sedan and the Lincoln MKZ, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Sedan first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The MKZ isn’t in the top three.

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The MKZ has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Lincoln MKZ by over three to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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