Lexus has long dominated the rather small eco-friendly luxury market. Their lineup, now offering five hybrid models, includes the 2013 Lexus ES300h that was completely redesigned in 2012. On the other hand, Lincoln is trying to change the image that consumers have of the brand, and this year they’re offering a new MKZ with a personality and driving behaviour that is nothing like the previous generations.
If we focus on pricing, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid wins this comparison hands down. Starting at $39,850 before taxes and preparations (the same price as the gas-engine model), the MKZ Hybrid is worth about $4,000 less than the 2013 Lexus ES300h. With an equal level of equipment, the hybrid MKZ is cheaper than the Japanese vehicle.
That being said, and although price is an important factor, it’s still important that the more affordable car (the MKZ) does not require too many compromises compared with the more expensive model (the ES300h). This is what we are trying to determine in this comparison.
Which car has the best performance?
1. 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid 2. 2013 Lexus ES300h
Lexus products are known for their driving comfort. The quiet environment on board the 2013 Lexus ES300h is impressive, while the independent suspension does a remarkable job of camouflaging the impact of road imperfections. That’s why the Lexus ES300h wins this comparison when referring to comfort, but not in terms of performance.
The reason is simple. When you want that dynamic driving behavior, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is right there with you. It’s much sportier than the previous generation, and the new MKZ is able to provide solid and connected road handling, which is not the case for the Lexus ES300h as it feels disconnected from the road.
Under the hood of the MKZ Hybrid is a 2.0L 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine mated to a 35 kWh electric motor. The net power of the engine is 188-horsepower. Lexus also uses the Atkinson cycle for it’s 2.5L engine, paired with a nickel-hydride metal battery-powered electric motor that generates a total output of 200 hp.
On the road, the MKZ has a greater sense of sportiness with a faster reaction time when accelerating, and more agile handling. However, you should note that neither car is successful in offering communicative steering since, in each case, there’s too much electronic assistance. The acceleration also seems more abrupt when driving the MKZ Hybrid.
In the end, each car is equipped with different driving modes that allow the driver to switch between sporty and comfortable rides, depending on your taste. That being said, good luck adjusting the modes on the 2013 MKZ Hybrid.
Which vehicle is more comfortable?
1. 2013 Lexus LS300h 2. 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
As previously mentioned, the vibe of the new MKZ is no longer the same. What was before a cozy model is now a more aggressive and dynamic vehicle. Unfortunately, this new personality has negative repercussions on driving comfort, which is far from comparable to that of the 2013 Lexus ES300h.
In addition, the interior of the MKZ Hybrid is narrow while the ceiling is too low for those over 6 feet tall. The trunk is also smaller with 314 litres of volume. The seats offer plenty of lateral support, but they could be a bit wider.
The Lexus ES300h does not share the same issues. The interior is large and spacious, the seats are comfortable for all sizes, and the trunk has 342 litres of cargo space.
On the road, the ES300h is quieter while the imperfections found on the road will not bother the driver. The rear seats are also more comfortable in the Lexus, and there is no steep roofline to disturb the passengers.
In the end, in terms of comfort, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid never seems quite right. If you’re taller than 6 feet, the seat needs to be lowered so that your head does not rub against the ceiling. As a result, we find ourselves in an uncomfortable and cramped driving position. Drivers of the Lexus ES300h do not have to deal with the same discomfort.
Which vehicle is more fuel-efficient?
1. 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid 2. 2013 Lexus ES300h
Fuel economy is the most important point in this comparison, since the purpose of buying one of these models is to save on gas. On paper, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid dominates over the Lexus ES300h with an average consumption of 4.2 L/100km compared to 4.9 L/100km.
In addition, the electric motor of the 2013 MKZ Hybrid can propel the car alone up to 100 km/h, while the electric motor of the ES300h bows out at 40 km/h.
During our test, the difference in consumption between the two models was closer, with an average of 6.7 L/100km for the Lexus ES300h, and 6.3 L/100km for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. When test driving the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid during the unveiling of the model in Quebec City, our observed fuel economy was 8.7 L/100km, while other journalists obtained an average below 7.0 L/100km.
Basically, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient of the two vehicles in this comparison, though the difference is minimal.
Which vehicle wins the match?
1. 2013 Lexus ES300h 2. 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Some of you may wonder why the most fuel-efficient car of the two is not an instant winner. Especially since price-wise, the MKZ is also the more affordable of the two.
However, the cramped interior really hurts the Lincoln and in the end, if we had to choose between driving one model or the other for the rest of our lives, or at least the next few years, the ES300h from Lexus is the unanimous choice.
Our recommendation is to go and try both models. If the comfort level meets your needs and the space aspect is good, then the 2013 MKZ Hybrid is definitely the car that provides the most bang for the buck.
2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and Lexus ES300h gallery