2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda 6 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 Mazda 6 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Mazda 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ATS Sedan only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Mazda 6 and the ATS Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Cadillac ATS Sedan:

 

Mazda 6

ATS Sedan

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

130

202

Neck Injury Risk

23%

26%

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

26 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

43/70 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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Cadillac ATS Sedan:

 

Mazda 6

ATS Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

380 lbs.

888 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

671 lbs.

776 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ATS Sedan was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Mazda 6’s reliability 62 points higher than the ATS Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 27th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Cadillac is ranked 28th.

Engine

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 285) than the ATS Sedan’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Mazda6 gets better fuel mileage than the ATS Sedan:

 

 

 

MPG

Mazda6

FWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

 

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

ATS Sedan

RWD

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

 

Auto

2.0 Turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/27 hwy

Transmission

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Mazda 6 has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

The Mazda 6 stops shorter than the ATS Sedan:

 

Mazda 6

ATS Sedan

 

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Mazda 6 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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 6’s wheelbase is 2.1 inches longer than on the ATS Sedan (111.4 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 6 is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ATS Sedan.

The Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the ATS Sedan pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available 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, the interior of the Mazda 6 Touring is quieter than the ATS Sedan:

 

6

ATS Sedan

At idle

42 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

76 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Mazda 6 a Mid-size car, while the ATS Sedan is rated a Compact.

The Mazda 6 has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ATS Sedan (99.7 vs. 90.9).

The Mazda 6 has .5 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 5.2 inches more rear legroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the ATS Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Mazda 6 has a much larger trunk than the ATS Sedan (14.7 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Mazda 6’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.

Consumer Reports rated the Mazda 6’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the ATS Sedan’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Mazda 6’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ATS Sedan’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

Both the Mazda 6 and the ATS Sedan offer available heated front seats. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ATS Sedan.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Mazda 6 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Mazda 6 with a number “1” insurance rate while the ATS Sedan is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 6 is less expensive to operate than the ATS Sedan because it costs $380 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 6 than the ATS Sedan, including $499 less for a water pump, $829 less for a muffler, $84 less for front brake pads, $446 less for a starter, $95 less for fuel injection, $45 less for a fuel pump, $102 less for front struts, $100 less for a timing belt/chain and $372 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda 6, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Cadillac ATS Sedan isn't recommended.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The ATS has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mazda 6 outsold the Cadillac ATS by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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