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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RC have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Cadillac ATS Coupe doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The RC’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 Coupe doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the RC and the ATS Coupe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RC the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 180 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ATS Coupe has not been tested, yet.
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 RC’s reliability 82 points higher than the ATS Coupe.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 60 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Cadillac is ranked 30th.
The RC has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the ATS Coupe (17.4 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the RC’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the ATS Coupe:
RC F Sport
For better traction, the RC has larger standard tires than the ATS Coupe (235/40R19 vs. 225/40R18). The RC’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ATS Coupe (F:235/40R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. F:225/40R18 & R:255/35R18).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RC offers optional 19-inch wheels. The ATS Coupe’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The RC 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 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.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the RC is 1.9 inches wider in the front and .7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ATS Coupe.
For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the ATS Coupe FE3’s (34.2 feet vs. 36 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the ATS Coupe AWD’s (34.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The RC has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room and .4 inches more rear hip room than the ATS Coupe.
With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RC offers cargo security. The ATS Coupe’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Cadillac. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 1% lower rating, Cadillac is ranked third.
The RC’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.
The RC’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower both of them with the lock engaged. Cadillac does not offer a locking feature on the ATS Coupe’s standard power windows.
If the front windows are left open on the RC the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the ATS Coupe can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RC offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The ATS Coupe doesn’t offer headlight washers.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the RC 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.
Insurance will cost less for the RC owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RC with a number “3” insurance rate while the ATS Coupe is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
The RC will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RC will retain 48.24% to 49.88% of its original price after five years, while the ATS Coupe only retains 37.25% to 39.01%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RC is less expensive to operate than the ATS Coupe because it costs $382 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RC than the ATS Coupe, including $91 less for a water pump, $785 less for a muffler, $117 less for front brake pads, $75 less for fuel injection, $70 less for a fuel pump and $44 less for front struts.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RC will be $105 to $2829 less than for the Cadillac ATS Coupe.
The Lexus RC outsold the Cadillac ATS by over four to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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