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The Atlas has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The MKT offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
The Atlas has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MKT doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The MKT doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Atlas 4Motion’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The MKT doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.
The Volkswagen Atlas has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The MKT doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The Atlas SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKT 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 Atlas and the MKT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.
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 Atlas the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 198 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKT has not been fully tested, yet, but doesn’t qualify for 2017 “Top Pick.”
The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the MKT’s (7 vs. 5 years).
Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Lincoln only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the MKT.
The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the MKT’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Atlas has a standard 680-amp battery. The MKT’s 650-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 Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.
On the EPA test cycle the Atlas 4Motion V6 gets better fuel mileage than the MKT (16 city/22 hwy vs. 15 city/21 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Atlas’ 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 MKT doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volkswagen Atlas, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKT.
For better traction, the Atlas has larger standard tires than the MKT (245/60R18 vs. 235/55R19). The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MKT (265/45R21 vs. 255/45R20).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas SEL Premium offers optional 21-inch wheels. The MKT’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the MKT.
The Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the MKT pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Atlas SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the MKT (27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .57 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the MKT AWD’s (38.1 feet vs. 41.5 feet).
The Volkswagen Atlas may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 700 pounds less than the Lincoln MKT.
The Atlas is 6.6 inches shorter than the MKT, making the Atlas easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Atlas has 11.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKT (153.7 vs. 142.3).
The Atlas has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more front hip room, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room, 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 4.8 inches more third row headroom, .7 inches more third row legroom, 4.5 inches more third row hip room and 5.8 inches more third row shoulder room than the MKT.
The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the MKT.
Behind Third Seat
20.6 cubic feet
17.9 cubic feet
Third Seat Folded
55.5 cubic feet
39.6 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
96.8 cubic feet
75.9 cubic feet
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Atlas’ available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MKT doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
Maximum trailer towing in the Lincoln MKT is limited to 4500 pounds. The Atlas offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.
The Atlas’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The MKT’s parking brake has to released manually.
The Atlas’ 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 MKT’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
The Atlas 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 MKT doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The MKT doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
When the Atlas SEL/SEL Premium 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 MKT’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Atlas is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The MKT doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Atlas will be $5444 to $18541 less than for the Lincoln MKT.
The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the Lincoln MKT by over 24 to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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