2019 Dodge Challenger vs. 2019 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Challenger has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The ATS Coupe doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Challenger and the ATS Coupe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Dodge Challenger is safer than the Cadillac ATS Coupe:

 

Challenger

ATS Coupe

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

209

346

Neck Compression

73 lbs.

116 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are almost 3 times as many Dodge dealers as there are Cadillac dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Challenger’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Dodge vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Dodge 23rd in reliability. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 27th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Dodge vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Dodge 3 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

The Challenger has more powerful engines than the ATS Coupe:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Challenger 3.6 DOHC V6

305 HP

268 lbs.-ft.

Challenger R/T automatic 5.7 V8

372 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

Challenger R/T manual 5.7 V8

375 HP

410 lbs.-ft.

Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6.4 V8

485 HP

475 lbs.-ft.

Challenger SRT Hellcat 6.2 supercharged V8

717 HP

656 lbs.-ft.

ATS Coupe 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

272 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

ATS Coupe 3.6 DOHC V6

335 HP

285 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6.4 V8 is faster than the Cadillac ATS Coupe turbo 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

Challenger

ATS Coupe

Zero to 30 MPH

1.6 sec

1.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.2 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

6.6 sec

9.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.9 sec

14.4 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.1 sec

2.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.6 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

112.3 MPH

98.6 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Challenger SRT Hellcat 6.2 supercharged V8 is faster than the Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0 (automatics tested):

 

Challenger

ATS Coupe

Zero to 60 MPH

3.7 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

5.5 sec

9.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

7.7 sec

14.4 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

1.4 sec

2.9 sec

Quarter Mile

11.7 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

125.4 MPH

98.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Challenger has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the ATS Coupe (18.5 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Challenger offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The ATS Coupe doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Challenger’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The ATS Coupe doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Challenger Hellcat’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ATS Coupe:

 

Challenger Hellcat

ATS Coupe

Front Rotors

15.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12.4 inches

The Challenger stops shorter than the ATS Coupe:

 

Challenger

ATS Coupe

 

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

157 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

114 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Challenger has larger standard tires than the ATS Coupe (235/55R18 vs. 225/40R18). The Challenger Widebody’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ATS Coupe (305/35R20 vs. 225/40R18).

The Challenger Widebody’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ATS Coupe’s 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Challenger offers optional 20-inch wheels. The ATS Coupe’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Challenger has a standard space-saver spare (not available on R/T Scat Pack/Hellcat) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ATS Coupe; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Challenger’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the ATS Coupe (116.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Challenger is 4 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ATS Coupe.

The Challenger SRT Hellcat handles at .94 G’s, while the ATS Coupe pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Challenger SRT Hellcat executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the ATS Coupe (24.7 seconds @ .85 average G’s vs. 25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Challenger a Compact car, while the ATS Coupe is rated a Subcompact.

The Challenger offers optional seating for 5 passengers; the ATS Coupe can only carry 4.

The Challenger has 9.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ATS Coupe (93.7 vs. 83.9).

The Challenger has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 4.4 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 3.3 inches more rear hip room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the ATS Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

The Challenger has a much larger trunk than the ATS Coupe (16.2 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

Towing

The Challenger’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the ATS Coupe’s (1000 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Challenger’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The ATS Coupe does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Challenger’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the ATS Coupe can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Challenger’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The ATS Coupe’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Challenger keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The ATS Coupe doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Challenger owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Challenger with a number “1” insurance rate while the ATS Coupe is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

The Challenger will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Challenger will retain 44.24% to 52.37% of its original price after five years, while the ATS Coupe only retains 34.36% to 38.3%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Challenger is less expensive to operate than the ATS Coupe because it costs $549 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Challenger than the ATS Coupe, including $455 less for a water pump, $230 less for a muffler, $398 less for a starter, $437 less for fuel injection and $78 less for front struts.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Challenger first among midsize sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The ATS Coupe isn’t in the top three.

The Dodge Challenger outsold the Cadillac ATS by almost five to one during 2017.

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

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