Ten years ago, most wouldn’t have even considered comparing a Lincoln and a Ford. They were never really considered to be in direct competition with one another; looking at the price tag alone will tell you that. However, although the price is still significantly different, vehicles like the 2013 Lincoln MKZ and the 2013 Ford Fusion share so many similarities that it is hard not to consider saving a little extra money with the less expensive model. That being said, although Ford does provide fantastic features and qualities, a vehicle from Lincoln is always going to be more luxurious and refined.
Both of these vehicles offer hybrid models, but Ford takes it one step further by also providing an enhanced plug-in hybrid on top of that. To start, the 2013 Fusion gets a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed transmission to offer 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is impressive at 22 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Then, there is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Accelerating to zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, and yields 28 mpg combined. There is also a third gasoline option, which consists of a 2.0-liter four–cylinder that offers 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, reaching 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
Those opting for Ford Fusion Hybrid will appreciate a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to an electric motor for combined performance of 188 horsepower. It sees 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, and returns 47 mpg combined. Lastly, Ford Fusion Energi gives you the same great hybrid powertrain, but a significantly larger battery pack that allows the vehicle to propel solely on electric power up to 21 miles.
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ gives you three engine choices. Standard is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, and returns 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The optional 3.7-liter V6 can reach 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, thanks to 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is still decent at 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway or 21 mpg combined in all-wheel drive models.
Finishing the lineup is MKZ Hybrid that uses the same set up as Ford Fusion. Only fuel economy drops just a hair to 45 mpg combined, still an outstanding number.
Driving and Handling
As you would expect, MKZ offers a more poised ride, but some favor Fusion for its responsiveness. Ford really has raised the bar in this segment, providing a comfortable and controlled driving experience at such an affordable price. Electric-assist power steering is now standard and is noted as one of the best in the industry. Not to mention, it is surprisingly quiet, even on the highway.
MKZ certainly will not disappoint when you slip behind the wheel. It provides you with the quality of ride buyers have come to expect from Lincoln. This is a vehicle you will find yourself just wanting to cruise around Southern California in. It is not quite as nimble as Fusion, but it definitely provides a rewarding experience.
Fusion and MKZ both give you Ford’s programmable MyKey® system that allows parents to set audio and speed controls for their teenage drivers. Most would expect MKZ to win a battle in this category based on cost alone, but the 2013 Fusion has many of the same features. Plus, when tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fusion received top safety scores in roof, front and side-impact crash tests.
The 2013 MKZ has a few cool features most are unfamiliar with, like airbag embedded rear seatbelts, but both offer a ton of options, including collision warning, lane-keep assist, drive drowsiness detection and blind spot monitoring.
If you line these vehicles up side-by-side and take off the manufacturer and model badges, most people will agree that they are both equally attractive. Chances are good you can picture yourself driving the streets of Orange County in both.
MKZ is fully redesigned for 2013, with a new split-wing grille, full-width LED taillight and an available glass roof. It is sophisticated and flawless.
Fusion’s provocative styling takes a more sporty and modern approach, and is also fully redesigned for the model year. A sleek silhouette and athletic lines create the perfect backdrop to the low-profile laser-cut headlamps and a fantastic assortment of wheels.
The biggest difference between the two is that thanks to the redesign, the 2013 Ford Fusion now boasts a roomier cabin than MKZ. Taller passengers may find the headroom in Ford a little more accommodating. Seats in both rows and both vehicles are supportive and comfortable.
The design on the 2013 Lincoln MKZ flows nicely. The center stack and console are clean and the touchscreen is extremely easy to use thanks to its quadrant layout. In Fusion, you will appreciate Ford’s use of surprisingly high-quality materials.
Technology and Entertainment
You get SYNC® in both vehicles, but when it comes to premium audio systems, you really have to give it to Lincoln. The 2013 MKZ has a THX®II Certified Audio System available with 14 speakers, two subwoofers and 700 watts of power.
Regardless which vehicle you choose, you will have the option of operating nearly everything from audio to navigation to your handheld mobile device all though voice-activation.