2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Luxury CollectionPosted on July 17th, 2013
Sport sedan raises Cadillac performance to a new level
By Nina Russin
Cadillac’s compact ATS sport sedan combines performance comparable to the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series with a high level of standard comfort, convenience and safety features. With a base price starting under $35,000, the ATS should be on driving enthusiasts’ short lists.
Drivers can choose between a base 2.5-liter engine, turbocharged two-liter block and 3.6-liter V-6, all direct injected, with variable valve timing to enhance gas mileage. Premium fuel is recommended but not required for the turbocharged engine, due to its high compression ratio.
There are two transmissions, a six-speed manual gearbox and six-speed automatic. Available all-wheel drive adds four-season capability.
The test car is the premium version of the turbocharged rear-wheel drive model, priced from $39,395. The CUE system that includes voice-activated navigation and an upgraded Bose surround-sound system adds $1,295. Final MSRP, including the $895 destination charge is $41,585.
Light and nimble
Although the two-liter turbocharged engine lacks some of the V-6 block’s horsepower, it offers the advantage of reduced curb weight. Personally, I’m happy to give up fifty horsepower for 100 pounds of mass. In addition to making the car more nimble, the turbo is also thriftier at the gas pump, with an EPA estimated 31 mpg on the highway.
As much as I love manual gearboxes, I can’t find anything to dislike about the 6L45 Hydra-Matic unit in the test car. It offers some advantages for commuters who frequently find themselves in rush-hour traffic, and does offer the option of manual gear selection.
The base suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup in back. Buyers can opt to upgrade to Magnetic Ride Control that uses rheostatic fluid to make real-time damping adjustments according to road conditions and the driver’s style.
ZF has produced one of the best electric power steering units I’ve seen to date. During the test drive, I had to make an evasive maneuver when another driver on the highway decided to jump into my lane without looking. I felt completely in control doing this at a speed of about 70 miles-per-hour.
Brembo, known for its high-performance brakes, gives the ATS exceptional stopping power.
Road trip to Tucson
After a brief experience driving the ATS around Phoenix, Arizona, I knew that I needed to take the sedan on a road trip. Over the weekend, my husband and I headed south to Tucson: a distance of about 120 miles.
As much fun as it is to push the sedan hard, it’s also nice to know that the ATS functions well as a daily commuter. Peak engine torque, 260 foot-pounds, is available at speeds as low as 1700 rpm. As a result, the ATS has excellent power off the line and in the 20-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging into high-speed traffic.
Visibility around the perimeter is decent. The rearview camera on the test car projects a wide-angle view to the back of the car when the driver shifts into reverse. Lines superimposed over the image show the vehicle’s trajectory according to steering inputs. The camera also monitors cross traffic in crowded parking lots: a feature that comes in especially handy when one is parked in between two high-profile vehicles.
Although visibility to the front and sides is good, I would have liked a blind spot monitoring system. It makes it easier to spot erratic drivers such as the one described earlier in this story.
The ATS interior is what one would expect from a Cadillac, with a full compliment of comfort and convenience features including keyless start, leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory, Bluetooth interface, satellite radio and dual-zone climate control.
Both the driver’s and front passenger seats are easy to adjust, with ample lower lumbar support. Designers did a good job of providing passengers with storage space inside the cabin, including cup and bottle holders.
Because of its short wheelbase, legroom in the second row is extremely limited. I would not want to sit in back on anything but a very short trip.
The CUE system makes it easy to program the audio, navigation and climate controls. It’s nice to see Cadillac doing away with its fussy, button-laden instrument panels. The new design is more attractive and much less distracting.
The trunk has enough room for a weekend’s worth of luggage, groceries, golf bags and small camping equipment. Cyclists will be better served with one of Cadillac’s crossover or sport-utility vehicles.
The Cadillac ATS comes with front, side, head curtain and knee airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, hill start assist and daytime running lamps. Buyers also receive 12 months of complimentary OnStar connections with automatic crash response and turn-by-turn directions.
Cadillac builds the ATS at its Lansing, Michigan assembly plant.
Like: Cadillac’s newest sport sedan combines excellent performance with the practicality to function well as a daily commuter.
Dislike: Lack of legroom in the second-row seats.
Model: ATS 2.0T Luxury Collection
Base price: $38,395
As tested: $41,585
Horsepower: 272 Hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 260 lbs.-ft. @ 1700 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 21/31 mpg city/highway2013, Luxury 2013, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Cadillac, performance, pricing, standard safety
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