2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Cadillac ATS: From CTS to ATS

February 4 , 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has a pair of new owners: Karren, chief human resources officer for Edmunds and her friend, Kenneth. Kenneth previously owned a 2005 Cadillac CTS, and as it was beginning to show some signs of age, was looking for a replacement with more modern features.

Karren and Kenneth took the ATS for a test-drive and were impressed by its handling and also its safety technology. The Edmunds Editors had listed it as a "Top Recommended Sedan" for 2013, which was a plus in their eyes.

Since our Cadillac ATS was the "Premium" trim level, it came with a ton of features, such as the driver-awareness package, side blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert and more. It was a lot of car for the money. Here's how the numbers broke down.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for January 2014

February 3, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

We accumulated 735 miles on our 2013 Cadillac ATS in January. For the most part, the ATS sat parked with a for sale sign in the window. It wasn't too long before the Cadillac sold. More on that in a later post.

Consider these the final fuel economy calculations for our 14-month test.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Would Have Been Better as a Pontiac

January 28, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

That's not a slam, as the 2013 Cadillac ATS is a pretty solid, sporting sedan. It's just not Cadillac material.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Xenon Headlight Output

January 24, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

Last summer, I took a road trip in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS and commented on the clear output from the xenon headlights. We got our ATS in the Premium trim level, so these headlights are standard. This is what the light output looks like in a dark garage.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Last Service Appointment

January 14, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

With the "Change Engine Oil Soon" notification impossible to ignore, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our 2013 Cadillac ATS with service at a nearby dealership, Martin Cadillac.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Headlight Warning

January 13, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

The other day our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS threw up the "dead headlight" warning you see above.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Individual Tire Pressures

January 10, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

I grabbed the keys for our 2013 Cadillac ATS yesterday because it had been months since I last drove it. It's nearing the end of its time with us and I wanted to see if the 20,850 miles it's experienced at our hands had made a difference. Driving from the office yesterday, it felt weird.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for December

January 6, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

In the month of December, our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS spun an additional near-1,100 miles onto its odometer and consumed 49.5 gallons of 91-octane fuel. That equates to 22.1 miles per gallon for the month, which is almost bang-on its lifetime average of 22.2 mpg.

As of December, we've also cleared 20,000 miles in this entry-level luxury sport sedan, so we've got a comprehensive sample set for its fuel economy characteristics. We're trailing its EPA combined mpg by 1.8 mpg.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Drives Smaller Than It Is

December 27, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

To my eye, the 2013 Cadillac ATS doesn't look like it would be particularly light on its feet. But turn hard into the first corner you come to and this entry-level luxury sedan feels considerably smaller than it really is.

The Caddy turns in like...right now. The smallish-diameter wheel only serves to heighten the sensation. There's also fantastic grip from the tires.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: 20,000 Miles

December 17, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After almost exactly a year in our long-term test fleet, the 2013 Cadillac ATS has rolled over 20,000 miles. Since its last service, the ATS has developed a squeaky door panel and one of the door-handle approach lights has gone out, but it has had no major mechanical issues.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Oil Change Needed

December 11, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Over a recent holiday weekend, I took our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS up and down the state of California, to visit family in Temecula and Nevada City. About halfway through the 1,200-mile road trip, the "Change Engine Oil Soon" message lit up, so I investigated.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Slow-Loading Traffic Data

December 06, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our 2013 Cadillac ATS's traffic data takes too long to load. Sometimes the delay between starting the car and the appearance of traffic data on the car's navigation screen is more than five minutes.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for November

December 04, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is about to leave our long-term road test fleet after a year of service. November saw over 2,000 miles added to the odometer, and although no new highs or lows were recorded, the needle did move up a bit thanks to some time on the open highway.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Best Shift Paddles Ever?

November 29, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I might not love CUE, but Cadillac did get the 2013 ATS's shift paddles right. They are placed well, sized right and offer both precision and perfect effort in use. Their throw is short and the transmission's response is quick. Though they don't feel mechanical, they do produce a sense of solidity as you toggle through the gears.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: No Knobs, No Buttons

November 27, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I'm going to belabor the point. The ATS's center stack has no knobs and no real buttons. This makes life in the car slower and more difficult. Now that we've lived with it for a while, I feel like CUE is just cost-cutting masquerading as progress.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Tire Pressure Monitor Issue Redux

October 28, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After Mr. Oldham observed what he suggested was an anomalous TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, I was intrigued. So I gave it a whirl.

First thing on a cool morning I measured the tire pressures with my trusty gauge. Then I fired up the ATS and looked at the pressures reported by the car's TPMS.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Great Seat

October 25, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Mike Monticello is crazy. And his gluteus maximus is obviously oddly shaped.

Back in April Mike wrote with poison pen about the driver's seat in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS. He wrote, "I've spent several days in the ATS now, and I just can't seem to find a position that's truly comfortable for me. The stuffing, in both the seat cushion and the seatback, is just too dang hard for those long-haul days in the saddle."

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Glovebox Is Too Small

October 24, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Never has the term glovebox been so appropriate. One glove is about all you can fit in the 2013 Cadillac ATS's dashboard compartment. That notepad in the picture doesn't fit and it's not exactly big.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Stinky Air

October 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

"What an incredible smell you've discovered." Ah, yes, I never pass up an opportunity to work in a Star Wars quote.

But seriously, when you start up our 2013 Cadillac ATS, the first few seconds of air that comes blasting out of the vents is pretty stinky. Like, "shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level" stinky.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Top IIHS Score for Crash Mitigation Technology

October 9, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Recently the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety started a new testing program for vehicles with collision avoidance systems. Specifically, these are the systems that can detect vehicles ahead of you, determine if you're about to cause a front crash and either warn you or warn you and take steps (including automatically applying your car's brakes) to either minimize or even prevent the potential accident.

Within this testing program, the Cadillac ATS earned a "Superior" score for the performance of its frontal collision mitigation system, which is the best score given out of three possible rankings.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Adaptive Cruise Control Can't Be Defeated

October 7, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

One annoying feature about the ATS: You can't defeat its adaptive cruise control. Once you order the optional adaptive cruise feature, you're stuck with it. When you want to cruise, you're limited to far, middle and close following distances. This isn't a big deal until a Prius pulls into your lane close enough that the radar freaks and orders some not particularly smooth braking.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for September

October 3, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After last month's 3,000 miles, September was relatively quiet for our 2013 Cadillac ATS. We added fewer than half that, about 1,300 miles. For those miles, we averaged 20.7 mpg. That's a few mpg below the EPA's 24 mpg estimate for combined driving.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Useful Combo of HUD and Gauge Cluster Display

October 1, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

We've written about our 2013 Cadillac ATS's head-up display and configurable gauge cluster display before. But it's also worth mentioning how well they work together.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Squeaky Door Panel (With Video)

September 30, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It seems as if the driver-side interior door panel of our 2013 Cadillac ATS has loosened just a tiny bit during our 15,000 miles, and it results in some squeaky noises when you pull the door shut or press on the upper panel (for the memory seating buttons).

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Enjoying It More This Time Around

September 25, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

The last time I drove our 2013 Cadillac ATS was a couple months ago. The car hasn't changed other than more miles on its odometer, but I'm enjoying the ATS more this time around.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Moving Day

September 24, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Small items have a tendency to tip over, slide around, spill, smoosh or break in the back of a U-Haul truck. So when a friend asked if I could help him and his pregnant wife move into a new home last weekend, I happily obliged (not just because he offered beer) and brought along our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The Bat Cave

September 23, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

If you swipe your finger along the bottom of the Cadillac ATS's center stack, a secret will be revealed. Donna DeRosa found it while Searching for the CD Player but I happened upon it by accident. Powered arms lift the display to reveal a third USB port and some cool-blue lighting inside an additional storage compartment.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Flashback Interior

September 20, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After a road trip in the 2013 Cadillac ATS Turbo, I declared it the "best all-rounder we've got" and I stand by that statement. I really do love the ATS and when an ATS-V is introduced, the market for the BMW M3 will get a lot more competitive. But, the overhead console with its On-Star controls, interior lighting and sunroof controls, are seriously outdated.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Choose a Car for Me

September 19, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Did you ever have someone else choose a car for you? A long time ago there was a game online called the Car-o-Scope. I think it was by the Car Talk guys.

You put in some information about the car you currently drive, then answer some personality questions and it chooses a car for you.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: 15,000 Miles

September 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

We've reached 15,000 miles in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS. We bought the ATS in mid-November of 2012 and it has seen its share of action in that time.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Chosen for Its Air-Conditioner

September 16, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

You've probably been hearing us whine about the hot weather here in L.A. For about three weeks each year, our temps rise into the 90s, and even higher in the inland counties.

Living in a beach community, our weather is usually mid-70s with a cool ocean breeze. But my air-conditionless house has been sweltering.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: CUE Glitches Continue

September 9, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It has been quite a long time since I've driven our 2013 Cadillac ATS and I had forgotten how recalcitrant the touchscreen infotainment system is. Click through to see a video demonstration of the screen's non-responsiveness after repeated presses.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The V6 Option

September 6, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

On a recent trip to Michigan, I spent a good, long stint in a 2013 Cadillac ATS. Sound familiar? There's a wrinkle here. This Michigan car was equipped with the optional V6 as opposed to the 2.0-liter turbo-four in our long-term ATS.

Here are my observations.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for August

September 5, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS saw quite a bit of action in August, adding nearly 3,000 miles to its odometer. After all those miles, lifetime fuel economy on our four-cylinder ATS stands at 22 mpg. This is, of course, 2 mpg short of the ATS 2.0T's combined EPA estimate. And if you've read Dan Edmunds' piece, "MPG Is Stupid," you know we're actually 8.3 percent off the pace.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Which Engine for the ATS-V?

August 28, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It's no secret that a hotter version of the Cadillac ATS is headed our way soon. We've seen prototypes lurking around Detroit for some time now and with the standard sedan firmly established in the marketplace it's getting time to generate a little new interest.

The big question now is which engine it will get. We've been told that the engine bay in the ATS can accommodate one of GM's latest V8s, but now that there's a twin-turbo V6 in GM's parts bin, which form of motivation would you prefer?

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The Road to Monterey

August 27, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I love getting to know our long-term cars on the open road. After driving to Monterey, California, and back in our 2013 Cadillac ATS Premium 2.0T, though, I'm convinced it's not quite up to par in the entry-level luxury sedan class.

One issue for me is the ride quality. If I lived on California's Central Coast, I could totally deal with our ATS's firm ride. (You'll recall that choosing a rear-wheel-drive Premium model locks in summer tires and a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers.) The roads are smooth up here, especially U.S. 101, and the default Tour mode for the adaptive dampers is livable.

But I wouldn't buy an ATS Premium if I continued to live in Southern California. It rides too harshly over worn sections of freeway. I've driven rival sedans with sport package upgrades over these same roads, and most of them offered more compliance.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Adapting to the Cruise Control

August 26, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Last week I drove our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS to Monterey, California. This was the longest trip (750 miles there and back) I've ever taken in our entry-level Cadillac and the first time I've ever had occasion to use the adaptive cruise control.

In general, it works well. On open stretches of highway, it's quite useful for helping you maintain a safe following distance when coming up behind motorists who are traveling at significantly lower speeds. However, like other adaptive systems I've tried and abandoned, it's not so great when traffic picks up.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: One Down

August 22, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I once mentioned here that I think the 3 Series-inspired LED approach lights on our 2013 Cadillac ATS's door handles are cool.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: No Truck Needed

August 21, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Lately, I've been giving serious thought to buying a used pickup, something like a Nissan Frontier. I enjoy driving trucks, and since I've blithely entered into a home renovation project, I'd have the ability to make a hardware store run whenever the mood strikes.

The problem is, of course, that with the house sucking up all available funds, a used truck doesn't really fit into the budget. Last night, I was driving our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, and I decided to buy a new bathroom sink and cabinet that I'd researched online. If it doesn't fit in the Caddy, I told myself, I'll just arrange to pick it up later.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Paradigm Shift

August 20, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Somewhere along the lonely road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas this 2013 Cadillac ATS began to make sense to me. After another few hundred miles driving this mid-sized sports sedan I began wondering what I would have to pay for a used one. What changed?

In my job as consumer advice editor, I often advise people on what car to buy. It's an interesting psychological experiment and the method for reaching an answer is different for all people. As I considered my mind shift on the Cadillac, I felt it was time for me to lie on the psychiatrist's couch. Here are a few quick answers.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Heads Up!

August 19, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Once you train yourself to look for the Heads Up Display (HUD) in the 2013 Cadillac ATS, your eyes will rarely leave the road. The HUD displays a variety of information including upcoming navigation turns. More importantly, it can be set to show your current speed along with the posted speed limit. This is crucial information when passing through small towns. The speed limit is sometimes kept unexpectedly low until you are miles from nowhere. I know because I got a ticket this way last year.

The heads up display was one of two safety features I really liked in the Cadillac.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Class Conscious

August 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Pulling into the valet lane at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas I found myself behind a Rolls Royce Phantom with a license plate "Wynn 3." I was suddenly relieved I wasn't driving my 2001 Nissan Sentra with faded paint on the driver's side door as I had planned. Instead, I handed the keys to our 2013 Cadillac ATS to the valet who respectfully addressed me as "Mr. Reed."

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Mountain Car

August 9, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Sure it looks out of place at the trailhead, next to mud-caked Jeeps and dusty Subarus, but our 2013 Cadillac ATS handled the high country like a mountain goat. Of course, we're not talking about anything off the pavement. However, we did make the climb from Lone Pine to the Whitney Portal, elevation 8,430 feet. The paddle shifters helped hold the lower gears to keep our speed down without heating up the brakes. And then there was another feature we really enjoyed.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for July

August 2, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

In July, our 2013 Cadillac ATS returned to service after a two-week stay in the body shop. We responded with 2,100 miles, an oil change and a tire rotation. Editor Travis put half of those miles on the ATS during a road trip to Nevada City, while Editor Brent contributed his share through two weeks of combing Central California roads.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Automatic Brakes

August 1, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has this automatic braking system that, um, automatically engages the brakes in certain situations, namely ones that have the ingredients for crashing. No matter the manufacturer, these systems aren't perfect. They can't possibly assess every situation accurately. I say this not to excuse them, rather to recognize that this aspect is not unique to GM's system.

With that said, over the weekend the ATS went to full ABS braking for a split second while the car was in no way in any kind of perilous situation whatsoever. The car dropped the anchors as hard as they would go, if only for an instant. I'd just made a left onto a street with a slight curve in it, and the system misinterpreted the cars in the opposing lane as an impending oncoming disaster, and acted accordingly.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Rubbing Me the Wrong Way

July 31, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I noticed that every time I opened the lid on the center console bin of our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, it was a little slow and it seemed to be rubbing on something. It wasn't until I checked from the passenger seat that I noticed what the problem was. It is rubbing on the side of the driver seat, every time it opens or closes.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Thoughts After Two Weeks

July 30, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Recently, I got a lot of seat time in our 2013 Cadillac ATS. It was a good opportunity to see how the car's traits (both good and bad) affected me over a longer duration.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Oil Change and Tire Rotation

July 25, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Recently our 2013 Cadillac ATS generated an on-screen popup notifying us that it was due for an oil change service.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Sharp Handling

July 23, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

One thing that really stood out when we used our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS in a three-way comparison test was the car's handling abilities. As author Mike Magrath wrote: "Whereas the [Lexus] IS 250 turned in decent handling results and then got walked on the road, the Cadillac took everything we dared to throw at it regardless of the venue."

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Rear Facing Child Safety Seat Install

July 22, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I think it's pretty safe to assume that if you've got small children to drive around frequently, you're probably not going to lust over a 2013 Cadillac ATS as your daily driver. But I recently had a father of one of my friends ask me what I thought of the ATS, as his wife is interested in replacing her older CTS with one. They're grandparents to five young kids. So it's not entirely out of the question that potential owners could be putting an ATS to use as at least an occasional kid taxi.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: 10,000 Miles

July 19, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After nearly eight months in our fleet, the 2013 Cadillac ATS is running a little behind on miles. Thankfully, we ticked over to 10,000 miles this month soon after we got the Cadillac back from the body shop.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 3

July 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

California Gold Rush miners were settling in Nevada City as early as 1849, fifteen years before Nevada became a state. As a result of this relatively lengthy history, there are some great landmarks in the area. I've already been to the Empire Mine National Park (where nearly 6 million ounces of gold was unearthed), but as I was on my way out of town in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, the local cemetery caught my eye.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 2

July 16, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

On day two of my holiday weekend road trip to Nevada City, California in our 2013 Cadillac ATS, it sat parked while we climbed into a Toyota Highlander Hybrid instead. The Caddy likely would've faced a few issues towing my father's boat.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 1

July 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

When our 2013 Cadillac ATS finally came out of the body shop, it went straight to work. My brother and I had a 1,000-mile road trip planned for the holiday weekend.

Out of Los Angeles before noon, my brother Tyler and I were keen on arriving at our father's house for dinner. It's 450 miles away. Apparently, the ATS's seats are super comfortable for passengers because my brother was sleeping before 30 minutes passed. After a few hours on the road, I couldn't drown out the snoring with podcasts any longer. I stopped for burgers.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Un-Damaged

July 12, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our 2013 Cadillac ATS is back in service following a 16-day stint at our local Golden Hammer body shop. If you recall, this happened to it.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 3, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Calling the month of June uneventful for our 2013 Cadillac ATS would be kind. After it was damaged, it took a few weeks to repair so we didn't hit any new milestones. More on the repair process soon, but if you want to see the mpg we logged before the ATS went to the body shop, click through the jump.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Damaged

June 26, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I returned to our parked 2013 Cadillac ATS to find this addition. Fortunately, the at-fault party left a note with an apology and all pertinent contact information. It's good to know there are a few honest people out there. The cameras in the parking structure could have influenced her honesty, but still, we'll give the benefit of the doubt.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Manual Shift Effort

June 19, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Here's something I've never experienced before: When manually toggling gears in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS there's distinctly different effort required for up- and downshifts. Downshifts, executed by pulling the lever back, require far more effort than upshifts.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Hey, It's Like a 3 Series

June 11, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Every time I walk out to my dark garage to get in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, I feel happy. I could end up taking a really good drive today, I think. The world is my oyster. My mania has everything to do with the approach lighting on the ATS.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Unnecessary Alerts

June 10, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Tell me this: Does anybody really need to know about a High Surf Advisory? It needs to be a world-changing event for this to be necessary information on my commute. Yes, these warnings can be switched off. And they will be.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Hypersensitive Driver Assist

June 7, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Well, you never can be too careful, I guess. While reversing our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS into a parking space on the street, the car abruptly dropped anchor, grinding to an immediate halt. A loud alert sounded, and the car wouldn't move.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Possible Recall

June 6, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

General Motors is recalling some 2014 Chevrolet Impala, 2013 Cadillac ATS, and 2013 Cadillac XTS models. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the vehicles' brake lamps may flash intermittently and the cruise control may disengage.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Keeping It Clean

June 5, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Summer in Los Angeles means blooming Jacaranda trees. Everywhere. And as beautiful as they are, they shed their sticky, purple blossoms as fast as you can sweep them from your driveway.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Cadillac ATS in VA is:

$180 per month*
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