2013 Cadillac ATS: Adapting to the Cruise Control
August 26, 2013
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.
(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