2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Cadillac ATS Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan 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 C-Class Sedan offers an optional Surround View System 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.

The C-Class Sedan’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 C-Class Sedan and the ATS Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Cadillac ATS Sedan:

 

C-Class Sedan

ATS Sedan

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

138

202

Neck Injury Risk

24%

26%

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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Cadillac ATS Sedan:

 

C-Class Sedan

ATS Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

76

116

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

210 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

Spine Acceleration

43 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

769 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 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 C-Class Sedan 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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 27th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 13 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

The AMG C 43 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 50 more horsepower (385 vs. 335) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 285) than the ATS Sedan’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the ATS Sedan:

 

 

C-Class

ATS

 

RWD

 

n/a

20 city/29 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Manual

 

300/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Auto

 

 

n/a

20 city/30 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

AWD

300/Auto

22 city/33 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Auto

 

 

n/a

19 city/27 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

Regardless of its engine, the C-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Cadillac only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ATS Sedan Auto.

The C-Class Sedan has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the ATS Sedan (17.4 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the ATS Sedan.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the ATS Sedan:

 

C 300

AMG C 43

ATS

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the ATS Sedan:

 

C-Class

ATS

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The C-Class Sedan’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 C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the ATS Sedan (111.8 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the C-Class Sedan is 2.5 inches wider in the front than the track on the ATS Sedan.

The AMG C 43 Sedan handles at .93 G’s, while the ATS Sedan pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the ATS Sedan (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.7 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The C-Class Sedan has .1 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the ATS Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The C-Class Sedan has a much larger trunk than the ATS Sedan (12.6 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The ATS Sedan’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the C-Class Sedan’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the ATS Sedan, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

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

The C-Class Sedan’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 C-Class Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the ATS Sedan can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The C-Class Sedan’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 C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the C-Class Sedan 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 C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking 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.

Model Availability

The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Cadillac ATS isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the C-Class Sedan with a number “3” insurance rate while the ATS Sedan is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the ATS Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the ATS Sedan, including $59 less for a water pump, $258 less for a muffler, $76 less for front brake pads, $154 less for a starter, $297 less for fuel injection, $245 less for a timing belt/chain and $8 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its June 2017 issue and they ranked the Mercedes C 300 Sedan two places higher than the Cadillac ATS Sedan.

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The ATS has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Cadillac ATS by almost five to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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