When car buyers consider hybrid-powered luxury sedans, Lexus must immediately spring to mind. The company offers no fewer than six hybrid models, and among them the ES Hybrid combines a relatively affordable price with the best fuel economy of any Lexus wearing a Hybrid badge.
Lincoln, however, has dropped off consumer radar screens. Though the MKZ Hybrid has been available since 2013, and while Lincoln doesn’t charge a dime more for the thrifty hybrid as compared to other versions of the MKZ, the car is a relative rarity.
Between these two vehicles, which one is best? That’s what we’re going to establish in this Lexus ES Hybrid vs. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid comparison.
While Lexus styling isn’t appealing to everyone, the ES Hybrid wears the company’s design themes like a custom-tailored suit. By comparison, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid appears dowdy. (Photo: Lexus and Lincoln)
The best things about the Lexus ES Hybrid
Obviously, the Lexus ES Hybrid has a greater sense of style. It’s visually dramatic compared to the Lincoln, but that doesn’t mean the Lincoln isn’t appealing in its own right. It looks much better in person than it does in the photo above.
Beyond design, the Lexus ES is a superior hybrid. It offers more power, better fuel economy, and greater driving range than the Lincoln. The Lexus is good for 215 horsepower (vs. 181 hp in the Lincoln), 44 mpg in combined driving (vs. 41 mpg), and travels 580 miles on a single tank of gas in combined driving (vs. 574 miles). Plus, it weighs 145 pounds less, helping it to accelerate faster.
The Lexus has a downright huge back seat, and the trunk measures 16.7 cubic feet (vs. 11.1 cu-ft for the Lincoln). The Lexus is also safer, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Lexus offers longer connected service and Wi-Fi trial periods, and exclusive upgrades include wireless smartphone charging, a head-up display, reverse automatic braking and more.
Lexus uses drama and horizontal themes in the ES, while Lincoln sticks to a more traditional look. The Lexus has a bigger infotainment screen, but using it is frustrating. The Lincoln’s smaller screen is easier. (Photo: Lexus and Lincoln)
The best things about the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
After reading about the Lexus ES Hybrid, you might wonder how the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid can compete. Well, the story here is value.
Across the board, the Lincoln costs thousands of dollars less when equivalently optioned. Plus, you get two extra years of free roadside assistance with the MKZ Hybrid, as well as Lincoln-exclusive ownership benefits, like free vehicle pickup and delivery service for routine maintenance. Lincoln even gives you a loaner car while yours is in service.
Several features that are optional for the Lexus come standard with the Lincoln. They include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, steering responsive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a wiper de-icing function, and an adaptive suspension. Plus, the MKZ Hybrid includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ES Hybrid supports Apple smartphones only.
Lincoln also offers several appealing upgrades that you can’t get on the Lexus. They include massaging front seats, inflatable rear seatbelts, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a panoramic glass roof that retracts to create a huge sunroof.
And if you have trouble parking, the Lincoln’s available semi-autonomous parking assist technology will steer the MKZ Hybrid into parallel and perpendicular spaces while you operate the pedals and transmission.
One of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s primary faults is a small 11.1 cubic-foot trunk. The Lexus ES Hybrid’s cargo area is much larger, and the back seat is huge. (Photo: Lexus and Lincoln)
Lexus ES Hybrid vs. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Which is better?
Deciding between a Lexus ES Hybrid and a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid should be easy, but it’s not. After all, the ES Hybrid just got a complete redesign, while the MKZ Hybrid dates back eight years.
Lincoln makes the MKZ Hybrid appealing through a low price, strong value, and exclusive content and ownership benefits that you can’t get with the Lexus. But, the Lexus is the better car.
It works better as a hybrid. It works better as a daily driver. It works better at carrying people. It works better at hauling cargo. And it will do a better job of protecting you and your loved ones in a collision.
But there is a price to be paid for such things, and in this case, it amounts to thousands of dollars.