2019 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln MKZ are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Cadillac ATS Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The rear seatbelts optional on the MKZ inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The MKZ’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the MKZ and the ATS Sedan 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights and front parking sensors.

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

 

MKZ

ATS Sedan

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

125

202

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

26 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/333 lbs.

202/615 lbs.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Cadillac ATS Sedan:

 

MKZ

ATS Sedan

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MKZ the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ATS Sedan has not been fully tested, yet.

Reliability

The MKZ has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 12th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 53 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 27th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lincoln 8 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

The MKZ has more powerful engines than the ATS Sedan:

 

Horsepower

Torque

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6 FWD

350 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6 AWD

400 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

ATS Sedan 3.6 DOHC V6

335 HP

285 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the ATS RWD Sedan 2.0 Turbo Auto (42 city/39 hwy vs. 22 city/31 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the MKZ Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The MKZ AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the ATS Sedan (18 vs. 16 gallons).

The MKZ has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The MKZ Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The MKZ stops shorter than the ATS Sedan:

 

MKZ

ATS

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the ATS Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/45R17). The MKZ’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ATS Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ATS Sedan.

The MKZ has a standard space-saver spare tire 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 Sedan; 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

The MKZ’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MKZ’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the ATS Sedan (112.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MKZ is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the ATS Sedan.

The MKZ AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the ATS Sedan pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

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

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the MKZ AWD is quieter than the ATS Sedan (75 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the MKZ a Mid-size car, while the ATS Sedan is rated a Compact.

The MKZ has 5.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ATS Sedan (96.6 vs. 90.9).

The MKZ has 1.8 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, 3.5 inches more rear legroom, 1.5 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the ATS Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The MKZ has a much larger trunk than the ATS Sedan (15.4 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the MKZ offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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

Ergonomics

The MKZ’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the ATS Sedan.

The MKZ’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The ATS Sedan’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the MKZ the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the ATS Sedan can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the MKZ’s exterior PIN entry system. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The MKZ’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ATS Sedan’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the MKZ to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The MKZ has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the ATS Sedan. The MKZ also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ATS Sedan.

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

The MKZ’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MKZ owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the MKZ with a number “5” insurance rate while the ATS Sedan is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the ATS Sedan because it costs $495 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the ATS Sedan, including $379 less for a water pump, $135 less for a muffler, $73 less for front brake pads, $409 less for a starter, $266 less for fuel injection, $100 less for a fuel pump and $41 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Lincoln MKZ outsold the Cadillac ATS by 66% during the 2018 model year.

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

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