Used 2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review |

Used 2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review

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Edmunds Expert Review of the 2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2013 Cadillac ATS finally gives the U.S. a medal-worthy entry in the segment of compact sport sedans.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Spirited performance from 2.0 Turbo and 3.6 models; excellent handling/ride balance; engaging driving dynamics from both rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive platforms; user-friendly infotainment interface.

  • Cons

    Lackluster base engine performance; smallish backseat and trunk.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Cadillac ATS is an all-new model.

Full 2013 Cadillac ATS Review

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is an all-new model.


If you can't remember any small Cadillac sedans of the past, consider yourself lucky, as neither the Opel Omega-based Catera or Chevy Cavalier-based Cimarron offer particularly fond memories. Fortunately, all that matters now is the fact that the 2013 Cadillac ATS stands as an impressive entry in a class full of overachieving sport sedans.

It's no secret that the Cadillac folks have aimed the rear-wheel-drive ATS squarely at the well-rounded BMW 3 Series, which has defined the segment for years. The ATS's exterior dimensions essentially mirror those of the 3 Series, and the ATS offers fine build quality, feisty performance and an involving drive along with a supple ride, just like the benchmark Bimmer. Cadillac's newest model also offers a logical electronic interface with which to work all the handy interior convenience gizmos, which is a crucial component in this segment of luxury cars.

The Cadillac ATS stacks up well against its rival. On the road, it delivers excellent steering feel and an agile, well-balanced ride. Contributing to the sharp dynamics is the fact that this Caddy is the lightest car in its class (by 70-150 pounds, depending on trim). Further adding to the ATS's athleticism is its ideal 50/50 weight distribution between the front and rear wheels.

With a trio of engine choices available, the ATS's performance ranges from tepid to thrilling. The base 2.5-liter four serves as the price and fuel economy leader, although its 202-horsepower output lags behind the base engines found in the competition. Meanwhile, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 packs a solid midrange punch and is the only choice in the ATS range that can be had with a manual gearbox. With 321 hp, the energetic V6 offers a sweet soundtrack and is well-matched to a very responsive automatic transmission.

There are a few minor issues with the ATS. Enthusiasts may wish for a manual gearbox with the top engine, while the rear seats and trunk are less roomy than what some rivals offer. Of course, this segment isn't exactly bereft of talent, either. The 2013 BMW 3 Series still takes top honors by virtue of its superior base powertrain and slightly even more engaging driving dynamics, but it's also typically more expensive. We're also quite fond of the similarly well-rounded Audi A4, the refined Mercedes-Benz C-Class and value-packed -- if not as polished -- Infiniti G sedan. But overall, the 2013 Cadillac ATS is a very strong contender in the very, very competitive segment of compact sport sedans.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is a five-passenger, luxury-oriented sport sedan that is offered in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium.

Standard features on the base trim include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way power front seats with power lumbar, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Luxury trim adds run-flat tires, keyless entry/ignition, remote engine start, eight-way power front seats, front and rear park assist, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather seating, driver memory functions, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat (with pass-through), HD radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and the CUE infotainment interface.

The Performance trim (not available with 2.5-liter engine) further adds dual exhaust outlets, a Driver Awareness package (forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic wipers and rear seat side airbags), an active aero grille, xenon headlights, an upgraded 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system (with a CD player), front sport seats (with driver-side bolster adjustment) and a fixed rear seat with pass-through.

Stepping up to the Premium trim (not available with 2.5-liter engine) adds 18-inch wheels, a navigation system, a color head-up display and the 60/40 split-folding rear seat. An ATS Premium with rear-wheel drive also comes with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive suspension dampers and a limited-slip rear differential.

Many of the features that are standard for the upper trim levels are available as options on the lower trims. A few other optional packages are also available. The Driver Assistance package includes the features from the Awareness package and adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, collision preparation with brake assist, and the color head-up display. The Cold Weather package includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Track Performance package adds an engine oil cooler and upgraded brake pads. Other options include different wheels, a sunroof and a trunk cargo organizer.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2.5 models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 202 hp and 190 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0 Turbo models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 272 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6 models come with a 3.6-liter V6 that cranks out 321 hp and 274 lb-ft of torque.

All ATS engines come matched to a six-speed automatic transmission except the 2.0 Turbo, which can also be had with a six-speed manual. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with all-wheel drive optional for the 2.0- and 3.6-liter engines.

In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive ATS 2.0T with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. A rear-drive ATS 3.6 Premium with an automatic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Both times are average among similarly powered entry-level sport sedans.

EPA-estimated fuel economy for the ATS 2.5 stands at 22 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The V6 is estimated to achieve 19/28/26 with rear-wheel drive and Cadillac claims the 2.0-liter Turbo will get the same with an automatic transmission. With all-wheel drive, the ATS V6 drops to 18/26/21.


Standard safety features for the 2013 Cadillac ATS include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side and knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation. Optional are the aforementioned Driver Awareness and Driver Assistance packages.

In Edmunds brake testing, an ATS 3.6 Premium came to a stop from 60 mph in an impressively short 108 feet. A 2.0T stopped in an average distance of 113 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside its cabin, the 2013 Cadillac ATS boasts a variety of high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents. The available CUE infotainment interface features large icons and operates like an iPhone or iPad, which is to say you operate it by tapping, flicking, swiping or spreading your fingers -- making it familiar for many users. Furthermore, "Haptic" feedback lets you know when you've pressed a virtual button by pulsing when you touch it.

Up front, the seats do a nice job of holding one in place during spirited drives, and it's fairly easy to find a comfortable driving position. Oddly, the optional sport seats don't provide much more in the way of lateral support for the driver, despite their power-adjustable bolsters.

Rear-seat headroom is good, but knee room is tight for taller folks. Despite a wide opening, the ATS's trunk offers just 10.2 cubic feet of capacity — downright stingy for this segment. Fortunately, some trims feature a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, which helps in this regard.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is an impressive all-around performer, thanks to a poised ride, sure-footed cornering capability and excellent response from the steering and brakes. The 2.5-liter engine is smooth, but it delivers tepid acceleration compared to other entry-level powertrains, notably that of the BMW 328i. Opt for one of the other ATS engines, however, and you'll have no complaint, as they provide thrust more in keeping with this Cadillac's athletic personality. Although enthusiasts may lament the lack of a manual transmission for the V6, the six-speed automatic is hard to fault. Switched to Sport mode, this automatic knows just when to hold a gear and provides smooth, rev-matched downshifts right on time, every time.

Even with its sporting calibration, the Cadillac ATS takes neglected city streets in stride, absorbing the shock of potholes and broken pavement without upsetting the car or its occupants. As a result, the compact Cadillac makes for a fine daily driver that can also provide plenty of entertainment on a Sunday morning drive.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 24 reviews) | Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Bad steering and bad tires

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Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac ATS Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I bought my cadillac in March of 2013, 25,000 miles later I am now putting my third set of tires on. I have had nothing but problems with this care from the steering locking up, stalling up an hill I also on acceleration get a banging noise from under the hood. the glove compartment and trunk not closing to an annoying rattling sound coming from the steering wheel and speaker in back seat. This car is not worth buying and would not recommend it to anyone. Everytime it was brought back to the dealer nothing is wrong with it

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

First birthday

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Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac ATS Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Have had this car for a year now. This car is just plain fun to drive. My wife and I are very happy with or ATS

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Fantastic sport sedan

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Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac ATS Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

What a fantastic car Cadillac has made. I traded in my 2012 Audi A4 Prestige S-Line for my ATS and could not be happier. The A4 was a great car (with a few problems), but the ATS is just so much more willing to get thrown around and feels so much livelier and nimble. The 3.6L has plenty of grunt and thus far with about 3k miles, I am averaging almost 24mpg in mixed 50/50 driving, which is just under the what my Audi got but the ATS does not need premium fuel. The interior is top notch and CUE has been easy to figure out. So far I have had 0 issues. I was a little concerned giving Cadillac a try, but I am so glad I did!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Flat out best value in this segment

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Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac ATS Luxury 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I was hesitant to check out the American manufacturers and disappointed in Lincoln for sure (Chrystler doesn't even compete here). However, this car stood out as a giant slayer. I did exhaustive research and the ATS gives much more value per dollar than anything else out there. The equivalent German or Japanese cars cost significantly more. We're talking 20-30% more! At first I wanted to use my new gem sparingly but the more I drive it the more I find myself making excuses to go for a spin. Don't buy this car without the full CUE. Pony up and you won't regret it. Don't believe anyone who says CUE is unusable. I have had zero trouble.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Two ats's since memorial day 2013

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Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac ATS Standard 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

I purchased a new 2013 ats on memorial day 2013 , i am on my second one now. the first one i had put 5509 miles on it the first 10 days i owned it. i took it back to the dealership in N.C and had a complaint that the steering wheel would get stuck while driving on the highway, they had the car for two weeks . could not find problem, did some computer updates as recommended from cadillac tech support. it continued to happen after they gave it back to me .finally had it towed back for the same problem. they gave me a new one, put 8700 miles on that one and i have an electrical problem center dash goes black. turns out there is a short in the radio and the ecm unit .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2013 ats base

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Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac ATS Standard 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

I leased the 2013 ATS back in August 2013. After looking at the BMW 320i, Mercedes CLA, and Lexus IS250, I had fallen in love with the ATS when I test drove it. No, it's not the 2.0T or 3.6, but this little engine really is peppy once you step on the accelerator. The only complaint is that I never achieve the marketed MPG, I only get around 18 driving to and from work and school. Other than that, I LOVE this car!

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Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
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