2013 Cadillac ATS: Adaptive Cruise Control Can't Be Defeated
October 7, 2013
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.
In normal cruise conditions, you wouldn't feel a need to brake, but instead maybe cancel cruise, coast to extend the gap, then re-set your speed. Maybe you'd simply back down your speed on the control stalk or button. But this was making me a little nuts on a recent long interstate drive, and had me searching all over the steering wheel, instrument panel and menu settings for a way to defeat the radar. I read the owner's manual once stopped, but it was typically vague about if and how adaptive cruise could be defeated.
A few days later, a Cadillac engineer confirmed that I wasn't nuts and that three-stage adaptive was the only cruise mode. But enough customers have already complained about it, he said, that they were already considering adding a defeat function or normal cruise mode.
Adding to my aggravation, the next morning the system wouldn't engage when I was back on the highway, giving me a temporarily unavailable error. It wasn't raining, snowing, muddy, windy or particularly dusty outside. About 10 minutes later, still at interstate speeds, cruise control came back to life. I relayed the story to the Caddy engineer, who explained that something had obscured one of the sensors, perhaps a chunk of dirt, the splatter of a large enough bug, and had probably fallen off once at speed.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor