2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan vs. 2018 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The ATS Sedan V6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the Cadillac ATS Sedan’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mercedes AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

Both the ATS Sedan and AMG CLA 45 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The ATS Sedan has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The AMG CLA 45’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The ATS Sedan V6 offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the ATS Sedan’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the ATS Sedan and the AMG CLA 45 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the ATS Sedan 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the AMG CLA 45. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the AMG CLA 45 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The ATS Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Cadillac pays for scheduled maintenance on the ATS Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Cadillac will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the AMG CLA 45.

There are over twice as many Cadillac dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the ATS Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the ATS Sedan third among compact premium cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The AMG CLA 45 isn’t in the top three in its category.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the ATS Sedan V6’s fuel efficiency. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac ATS Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine for maximum performance). The AMG CLA 45 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The ATS Sedan has 1.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the AMG CLA 45 (16 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac ATS Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the AMG CLA 45.

Brakes and Stopping

The ATS Sedan stops shorter than the AMG CLA 45:

 

ATS Sedan

AMG CLA 45

 

60 to 0 MPH

124.3 feet

125.4 feet

AutoWeek

Tires and Wheels

The ATS Sedan’s optional 255/30R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the AMG CLA 45’s optional 35 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the ATS Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ATS Sedan’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the AMG CLA 45 (109.3 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

Chassis

The front grille of the ATS Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The ATS Sedan has .4 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 6.4 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the AMG CLA 45.

Towing

The ATS Sedan V6 offers up to a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The AMG CLA 45 has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The ATS Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The AMG CLA 45 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the ATS Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the AMG CLA 45. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The ATS Sedan V6 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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the ATS Sedan detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the ATS Sedan V6 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

On extremely cold Winter days, the ATS Sedan’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The ATS Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Cadillac ATS comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Mercedes AMG CLA 45 isn’t available as a coupe.

The ATS Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the ATS Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the ATS Sedan will cost $8015 to $9735 less than the AMG CLA 45 over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Cadillac ATS Sedan will be $12832 to $22011 less than for the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Cadillac ATS Sedan, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the ATS as the 2013 North American Car of the Year. The AMG CLA 45 has never been chosen.

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

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