May 17, 2013
While driving our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS yesterday, I came upon one of its special relations.
May 16, 2013
I'm not sure how I've driven our Cadillac ATS for so many miles and have just encountered its safety alert seats, but I must admit they're a little shocking when you're not expecting them.
May 14, 2013
When I was driving our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS home on Friday evening, I got this warning message about impending weather conditions.
An Areal Flood Advisory
May 13, 2013
Our 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Premium recently found itself embroiled in a comparison test, pitted against the 2013 BMW 328i and the all-new 2014 Lexus IS250 F Sport.
How'd it do? Head over to the comparison test to find out.
May 10, 2013
It's somewhat important to see where your car is when you glance at the nav screen. For example, you're in an unfamiliar neighborhood and want to see how close you are to a certain street. Well, good luck with the system in the ATS as it's like playing "Where's Waldo".
May 6, 2013
File this under the Minor Gripes category. But I don't find the steering wheel audio controls on the 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T intuitive.
Two problems: First, having the up/down radio volume buttons on opposite sides of the cumbersome SEL button is just odd. To me it would make more sense to have the up/down buttons on the same side of SEL, with my first choice being below it as that's easier to get to.
May 2, 2013
We added 1,000 miles to our Cadillac ATS's odometer in April, mostly at the hands of Road Test Editor Mike Monticello.
Monticello complained about the Cadillac's seats, but not about its fuel economy, as most of his fill-ups averaged 20 mpg or better.
May 1, 2013
The 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T's trunk is generously wide at the opening, but things get tight further back in the cargo area.
I found out just how narrow it gets at the wheel wells when I folded down the rear seats and tried to put a mountain bike in through the trunk.
April 30, 2013
Look, I know this 2013 Cadillac ATS is supposed to be a sport sedan and all. And without question, it is one terrific-handling machine.
But it's also a Cadillac. Therefore, it should have a more comfortable front seat.
April 24, 2013
No, I didn't ram our Cadillac ATS into a wall. But seriously, how awesome of a test would that be?
NHTSA awarded the Cadillac ATS five out of five stars in overall, frontal, side and rollover protection. That's pretty impressive. Loyal followers of our long-term fleet might recall that I have a particular affinity for watching destruction, especially in slow motion. So click on through to see a few Cadillacs get crushed in frame-by-frame glory. You're welcome.
April 23, 2013
There are many ways to do satellite steering wheel controls. Cadillac's latest attempt to deliver maximum functionality at your fingertips is good at some things, and merely average at others.
The volume and seek buttons are simple enough. It would be better if you could tell between them without looking, but they are easy to use with your thumb. The rocker switch is another story.
April 19, 2013
I loved using the 2013 Cadillac ATS as a dog transporter for my dog Mya. Not only because it has those seat belt fasteners that protrude from the seat which makes it super easy to buckle her in but it has rear air vents in the back of the center console so she can just stick her nose on it to get some air.
April 17, 2013
The first time I heard the CUE startup video in our 2013 Cadillac ATS I was irritated. I thought whoever drove the car before me must have left the radio on full blast, and I struggled to quickly turn down the volume but to no avail. It wouldn't respond. Suffice it to say many expletives ensued.
But the next time it happened, I realized it was just the startup video for the CUE system whenever someone got in the driver seat. The action of slipping into the seat is what sets it off, not hitting the car's "Engine Start" button. It sounds like the beginning of an action movie trailer. When you watch the video after the jump, you kinda expect someone to come on the speakers with "IN A WORLD...."
April 16, 2013
As far as infotainment interfaces go, the Cadillac CUE system is all right. Not great and not awful. The welcome screen (when you first get into the car), however, is both great and awful.
Startup and welcome flourishes are nothing new to cars. Personally, I like the simple sweep of the gauge needles, but I'm a sports car type of guy. When manufacturers include welcome screens with sound effects, well, I'm not impressed.
I used to love the THX intro screens in movie theatres. The sweeping sound and power from those systems were simply rad. But I don't need it in a car. The ATS's screen is particularly egregious, giving me the impression that they hired Michael Bay to create it.
April 15, 2013
Our long-term Cadillac ATS in Premium trim comes with a 10-speaker Bose surround sound system (that's three more speakers than the base system from Bose). On lower-trimmed models, this system is paired with the CUE interface and will set you back $1,350. Is the upgrade worth it?
Short answer: probably.
April 12, 2013
I've been doing some homework about what people have in mind when they buy American cars, and just what makes a car "American."
So it was interesting to notice this sticker on the driver's side door jamb of our 2013 Cadillac ATS. It's a bit of a mess from a design standpoint, what with the competing assembly plant, UAW and GM logos, to say nothing of the particularly ugly map of Michigan. But forget all that. The sticker is a statement of the car's American pedigree. The ATS was born in the U.S.A., dammit.
April 10, 2013
As I've stated before, my ancient iPod Touch has stopped communicating with most of our long-term cars. So, I brought some CDs with me this time. How 1990s of me.
But there was no obvious way to play them in our 2013 Cadillac ATS. I went searching for the CD player but found something else.
April 9, 2013
Our Cadillac ATS no longer sounds like a socket wrench every time you spin the steering wheel. After dropping it off at Martin Cadillac in West L.A. they got to work on diagnosing the problem. Turns out that the SIR (Steering Wheel Inflatable Restraint) coil was rubbing against the steering angle sensor.
First, the tech tried using a new SIR coil to see if that would cure the problem. It didn't. Then he tried a new steering sensor, that didn't work either. Then put in both replacement parts together and all was good. All five and a half hours of labor were covered under warranty. Whew.
April 8, 2013
I was playing music from my iPhone in our 2013 Cadillac ATS and was pleased to see the artist's album artwork displayed on the instrument panel. Because I hadn't selected a particular album, the audio system was simply playing songs in alphabetical order, providing a steady view of various album "covers."
Then it hit me: Back in the day, albums, or LPs, were sleeved in 12-inch-square cardboard covers that we actually held in our hands and could examine up close. Some of them were highly detailed with hidden "Easter Eggs" and became the stuff of music lore.
I then realized that many of today's album "covers" are merely digital files that arrive with the downloaded music, or are at best, the size of a CD jacket. There's no doubt that album artwork has changed: Bigger, bolder graphics and colors.
After the jump, I've supplied a few more examples of what I'm talking about.
April 5, 2013
I snapped this picture of our 2013 Cadillac ATS touchscreen to show to our Car Wrangler Extraordinaire, Mike Schmidt (CWE). True to form, he already knew about the expired XM subscription, had in fact paid it, but suspects the car didn't respond in kind because the signal couldn't reach it, deep in the parking bunker under our office building.
April 4, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has a 272-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. This 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham de Elegance that I found last weekend, has a 7.0-liter V8 that produced 195 horsepower when it was new. There aren't too many people that are comparing these two Caddys, but I enjoy looking at the stark contrast between two automobiles that share the same badge.
In 1977 the Cadillac Fleetwood was 'downsized' and lost more than 12 inches of overall length, making it a scant 221 inches from bumper to bumper. Even at this decreased size, it's 40 inches longer than our ATS and larger than every Cadillac sedan on the road today. The only Cadillac that even comes close in the current lineup is the Escalade ESV at 222.9 inches (an inch longer).
April 2, 2013
For the month of March our long-term Cadillac ATS put on about 1,225 miles. We averaged 23.8 mpg for the month almost matching the EPA combined rating for this car.
March 29, 2013
Dirty shoes, sweaty shirts and leaky water bottles don't belong on the nice leather interior of a Cadillac. So after a hike to Skull Rock in the Pacific Palisades this weekend I put our stuff in the trunk. My camera bag (on the right) fit nicely in to the plastic bin on the floor of the trunk and there was more than enough room for everything else, but I didn't feel comfortable leaving it back there without some way to secure it.
March 21, 2013
This little issue has been driving me nuts for a while. The steering wheel in our ATS makes a clicking sound as it rotates. It's like turning a socket wrench every time you park. If you don't believe me you can hear it for yourself.
Some people have driven it and barely even noticed. I'm not sure how given how prominent it is every time you turn the wheel. It grated on my ears every time I got behind the wheel, so I finally took it to the dealer today to see if they could smooth things out.
March 20, 2013
The Cadillac ATS abounds with little stylistic flourishes and clever details. It's one of the things that truly set it apart from the staid Germans that might include some LED lights up front and perhaps a smidgen of alloy trim inside if you tick the right options box.
March 18, 2013
Living within driving distance of Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the benefits of working in Southern California. Many of our long-term cars get to make this run. Most recently our 2013 Cadillac ATS was called to duty.
March 15, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS is loaded with cool tech features like CUE with a wonderfully hi-res screen, a configurable IP and adaptive cruise control. It's also got some handy, but pretty basic features like parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
And that's where things go wrong.
March 11, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has passed the 5,000-mile mark. Actually, it did this a little while ago but we missed the clickover photo.
March 5, 2013
We've put a 1,000 miles on our 2013 Cadillac ATS since its last fuel economy report.
You'd think that might change our overall averages, but in fact, they didn't budge a bit.
February 21, 2013
I noticed an odd little sound in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS the last time I drove it. It's a muted chirpchirpchirp that happens briefly during moderate acceleration from a standstill. The sound only occurs immediately following the 1-2 upshift and can be reproduced fairly easily.
February 20, 2013
To put on the parking brake, you have to pull this little lever. To release, you push.
February 14, 2013
One of the most jarring features of our 2013 Cadillac ATS is the touch-sensitive interface for the stereo, climate controls and the CUE telematics system. A still photo doesn't do it justice, really, and there are some hidden surprises.
It goes way beyond the knobless volume control JKav mentioned previously, although that element is perhaps the most frustrating and prominent aspect of the system. This particular touchpad is oddly calibrated in that you can't reliably reach zero volume when you drag your finger across it to the extreme left edge of the pad.
A second stroke is usually required, and things get screwy when the volume isn't dropping fast enough and your spouse makes a move for the touchpad at the same time. A volume knob really does require so much less time, effort and thought, which adds up to less diverted attention, driver distraction and marital discord.
But I digress. Let's see more of it in action.
February 12, 2013
I took my first drive ever in the 2013 Cadillac ATS this week, and this car put a smile on my face. I really like the way it rides. It's firm, controlled, even sporty, yet there's an underlying compliance to it. It reminds me a lot of the last two generations of the BMW 3 Series (E90 and F10). That's a good thing, of course, especially since our long-term ATS is priced in 328i territory.
The steering is very good, too. It's precise with good feel. Again, like a 3 Series. I can totally see taking this sedan on a back road someday. But in that case, I'll definitely have to shift the six-speed automatic manually to make sure I stay in the power. Often during my commute, the engine rpm would fall enough that there wasn't much turbo boost to work with and the ATS felt slow. Usually, I'm all for getting the turbocharged engine, but in this instance, I'd probably get the 3.6-liter V6 if I was buying an ATS of my own.