2019 Cadillac ATS Coupe vs. 2019 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Cadillac ATS Coupe’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 Lexus RC doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

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

Both the ATS Coupe and the RC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are almost 4 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the ATS Coupe’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the ATS Coupe’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC 300 RWD’s camshafts. If the RC’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The battery on the ATS Coupe is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the ATS Coupe’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The RC’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

The ATS Coupe has more powerful engines than the RC:

 

Horsepower

Torque

ATS Coupe 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

272 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

ATS Coupe 3.6 DOHC V6

335 HP

285 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

RC 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the ATS Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the RC:

 

 

 

MPG

ATS Coupe

 

RWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

RC

 

RWD

300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

 

 

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

 

 

350 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the ATS Coupe’s 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 RC doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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

Brakes and Stopping

The ATS Coupe stops much shorter than the RC:

 

ATS Coupe

RC

 

70 to 0 MPH

157 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction and acceleration, the ATS Coupe has larger rear tires than the RC (255/35R18 vs. 235/40R19).

The ATS Coupe’s 225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RC’s standard 45 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ATS Coupe’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the RC (109.3 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

The ATS Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51% to 49%) than the RC’s (54% to 46%). This gives the ATS Coupe more stable handling and braking.

The ATS Coupe handles at .94 G’s, while the RC 350 pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Cadillac ATS Coupe may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Lexus RC.

The ATS Coupe uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The RC doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The ATS Coupe has .2 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 6.2 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC.

Towing

The ATS Coupe V6 offers up to a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The RC has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The ATS Coupe has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RC doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The ATS Coupe 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 RC doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the ATS Coupe offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The RC doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The ATS Coupe has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The RC doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The ATS Coupe 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 RC doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the ATS Coupe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the ATS Coupe with a number “8” insurance rate while the RC is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ATS Coupe is less expensive to operate than the RC because typical repairs cost much less on the ATS Coupe than the RC, including $102 less for a starter, $700 less for a timing belt/chain and $619 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its May 2015 issue and they ranked the Cadillac ATS Coupe higher than the Lexus RC 350.

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

The Cadillac ATS outsold the Lexus RC by over three to one during 2018.

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

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