Adapting to the Cruise Control - 2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

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.

2013 Cadillac ATS

2013 Cadillac ATS

(Of course, these photos represent closed-course driving.) The ATS's adaptive cruise gives you three following-distance options. I chose the smallest gap setting ("Near"), but even that was too large in the very competitive driving environment that is Interstate 5 through California's Central Valley.

If you've driven this route, you know what I mean. This is a major trucking route, and the 18-wheelers stack up in the right lane, while passenger cars stack up in the left lane. Passing the trucks takes something like an eternity, so short-sighted and/or opportunistic drivers frequently come up on your right and dart into the left lane.

In Near mode, the ATS left too tempting a gap for these motorists, practically inviting them to cut in front of us any old time. After 15 minutes of this, I shut off the cruise control. This scenario gets at my main worry about the coming era of self-driving cars: I worry that my partially autonomous car will force me to be too nice.

On a more positive note, I really like the ATS's trip computer display between the main dials. It's colorful and sharp, and when we streamed the Angels-Yankees game from my phone, there was a three-dimensional rendering of the MLB At Bat baseball.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 14,267 miles


  • rmhpmi rmhpmi Posts:

    While I have never driven a vehicle equipped with ACC, I have wondered how this "gap control" worked. Do other manufacturers offer better calibrated versions that allow tailgating and prevention of the pass-on-the-right-then-cut-you-off fidiots?

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    As soon as I saw this picture showing MLB At Bat streaming the Angels vs Yankees I knew this was an Erin post :-). I love MLB At Bat too.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    rmhpmi. Clarkson described the close following distance on the Jag XJ as "the full Audi". If you ever travel on a British motorway when the sales reps are loose you will see what he means.;) " short-sighted and/or opportunistic drivers frequently come up on your right and dart into the left lane." Oh yes, it is such sport to gang up with other SUV and van owners trap them behind the trucks. My late wife was from SoCal and trained me well.

  • hotpass105 hotpass105 Posts:

    You choose to tailgate other motorists, because the car doesn't do a sufficient job of it? I hope you realize that legally you have to leave enough space for a car to pass you otherwise you are following to closely.

  • camsen camsen Posts:

    If people are passing you on the right, you should move over to the right and let them pass. You're in the wrong lane. Meanwhile, turn off the idiot driver aids and pay attention to what you're doing. Agentorange, you and your wife sound like horribly rude people. On the northern southern California trip, I save about an hour of travel by driving around two kinds of people: 1. Morons who think that passing should be done in slow motion. 2. Morons who relax and block traffic while driving behind morons who think that passing should be done in slow motion. As a result, trucks almost never pull in front of me like they do in front of the slow people.

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