The Road to Monterey - 2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

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.

2013 Cadillac ATS

I also have mixed feelings about the Cadillac's 272-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Most of the time, this engine doesn't feel all that powerful to me. To be fair, though, our rear-drive turbo ATS has the same quarter-mile time and trap speed as an all-wheel-drive Audi A4 2.0T, so it's no slouch. It just isn't as quick as a BMW 328i.

On the Tejon Pass (the Grapevine section of Interstate 5), the 2.0-liter's vigor was noteworthy. Passing maneuvers came easily, and the power was delivered in a smooth manner. I love turbocharged engines.

The problem is that this one has a dull soundtrack. Worse, it gets noisy and unpleasant to the ear when you're accelerating hard. I'd put up with this in a $30,000 Chevrolet, but in a Cadillac that cost us nearly $50K, I'd expect a little more attention to detail.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 14,267 miles

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