May 21, 2013
Looking at this message one might think they had a headlight out. That's not quite the case in this Cadillac.
I was a little surprised when I saw this message in the morning darkness as the headlights appeared to be working just fine. After looking closer, the light pattern on the right side did look a little bit different than the left, but again, this was only if I stared awhile.
May 16, 2013
I'm not sure how I've driven our Cadillac ATS for so many miles and have just encountered its safety alert seats, but I must admit they're a little shocking when you're not expecting them.
May 6, 2013
File this under the Minor Gripes category. But I don't find the steering wheel audio controls on the 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T intuitive.
Two problems: First, having the up/down radio volume buttons on opposite sides of the cumbersome SEL button is just odd. To me it would make more sense to have the up/down buttons on the same side of SEL, with my first choice being below it as that's easier to get to.
April 30, 2013
Look, I know this 2013 Cadillac ATS is supposed to be a sport sedan and all. And without question, it is one terrific-handling machine.
But it's also a Cadillac. Therefore, it should have a more comfortable front seat.
April 23, 2013
There are many ways to do satellite steering wheel controls. Cadillac's latest attempt to deliver maximum functionality at your fingertips is good at some things, and merely average at others.
The volume and seek buttons are simple enough. It would be better if you could tell between them without looking, but they are easy to use with your thumb. The rocker switch is another story.
April 19, 2013
I loved using the 2013 Cadillac ATS as a dog transporter for my dog Mya. Not only because it has those seat belt fasteners that protrude from the seat which makes it super easy to buckle her in but it has rear air vents in the back of the center console so she can just stick her nose on it to get some air.
April 17, 2013
The first time I heard the CUE startup video in our 2013 Cadillac ATS I was irritated. I thought whoever drove the car before me must have left the radio on full blast, and I struggled to quickly turn down the volume but to no avail. It wouldn't respond. Suffice it to say many expletives ensued.
But the next time it happened, I realized it was just the startup video for the CUE system whenever someone got in the driver seat. The action of slipping into the seat is what sets it off, not hitting the car's "Engine Start" button. It sounds like the beginning of an action movie trailer. When you watch the video after the jump, you kinda expect someone to come on the speakers with "IN A WORLD...."
April 10, 2013
As I've stated before, my ancient iPod Touch has stopped communicating with most of our long-term cars. So, I brought some CDs with me this time. How 1990s of me.
But there was no obvious way to play them in our 2013 Cadillac ATS. I went searching for the CD player but found something else.
April 8, 2013
I was playing music from my iPhone in our 2013 Cadillac ATS and was pleased to see the artist's album artwork displayed on the instrument panel. Because I hadn't selected a particular album, the audio system was simply playing songs in alphabetical order, providing a steady view of various album "covers."
Then it hit me: Back in the day, albums, or LPs, were sleeved in 12-inch-square cardboard covers that we actually held in our hands and could examine up close. Some of them were highly detailed with hidden "Easter Eggs" and became the stuff of music lore.
I then realized that many of today's album "covers" are merely digital files that arrive with the downloaded music, or are at best, the size of a CD jacket. There's no doubt that album artwork has changed: Bigger, bolder graphics and colors.
After the jump, I've supplied a few more examples of what I'm talking about.
April 5, 2013
I snapped this picture of our 2013 Cadillac ATS touchscreen to show to our Car Wrangler Extraordinaire, Mike Schmidt (CWE). True to form, he already knew about the expired XM subscription, had in fact paid it, but suspects the car didn't respond in kind because the signal couldn't reach it, deep in the parking bunker under our office building.
March 15, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS is loaded with cool tech features like CUE with a wonderfully hi-res screen, a configurable IP and adaptive cruise control. It's also got some handy, but pretty basic features like parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
And that's where things go wrong.
February 14, 2013
One of the most jarring features of our 2013 Cadillac ATS is the touch-sensitive interface for the stereo, climate controls and the CUE telematics system. A still photo doesn't do it justice, really, and there are some hidden surprises.
It goes way beyond the knobless volume control JKav mentioned previously, although that element is perhaps the most frustrating and prominent aspect of the system. This particular touchpad is oddly calibrated in that you can't reliably reach zero volume when you drag your finger across it to the extreme left edge of the pad.
A second stroke is usually required, and things get screwy when the volume isn't dropping fast enough and your spouse makes a move for the touchpad at the same time. A volume knob really does require so much less time, effort and thought, which adds up to less diverted attention, driver distraction and marital discord.
But I digress. Let's see more of it in action.
February 5, 2013
I badly wanted to like the ATS. I really did. And after a few days of getting to know it, I do. But I wanted to crush hard on this car. Cadillac promised the Merican challenge to the mighty 3 Series, the Wreath versus the Roundel. But the ATS just doesn't measure up.
Others on staff can better articulate any of the ATS' dynamic deficiencies. To me, the 2.0-liter turbo has enough sauce to thread traffic pretty effortlessly, and get up to highway merge speed. It doesn't sound that happy doing it, but it's not a braying donkey. The smoother, quieter BMW 3 Series turbo-four gets the advantage here.
January 24, 2013
Along with the inaccurate headlight malfunction warning that both Walton and I have experienced, our 2013 Cadillac also has another electrical gremlin. During normal use, the backlight for the PRND next to the shifter keeps fading in an out. This is happening whether the car is in motion or not and when the automatic headlights are on or off.
At first I just thought I was having a stroke, but then another editor here confirmed that the lights were indeed failing.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 3,700 miles
January 8, 2012
GM installed a well thought-out cruise control system in the 2013 Cadillac ATS. When you want to set the speed in one mph increments, you bump the thumb rocker to its first detent. Push it further to the second detent and your speed increases in 5 mph chunks.
BMWs in particular have had this functionality for a long, long time, but this is first time I can recall an American car with it. It's a great feature. I wish more/all cars had it. I could do without the constantly-illuminated steering wheel text as shown above, but that's picking nits.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
January 7, 2012
Seriously, what's so bad about knobs? Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS' touch-sensitive center stack is unnecessarily fussy. You touch, it may or may not respond. When it does decide to acknowledge your touch, there's an associated muted 'thunk' that elicits from somewhere deep in the dashboard.
The thunk is supposed to provide some kind of tactile feedback to your touch, except it inevitably does so a split-second after you've released your touch, and sounds (and feels) more like something is wrong with the car. Like with all touch-sensitive center stacks, you still end up having to watch your finger land on the desired spot on the center stack in order to ensure you press the right thing. Totally silly.
In what way is this is better than a knob? Answer: it isn't.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
January 3, 2012
Every once in a while, the traffic in Los Angeles accommodates speeds up to, and sometimes beyond, the posted limit. Here's how our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS fared on a notorious stretch of the dreaded 405 South that's a series of concrete slabs....
January 2, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has a punchy turbocharged four-cylinder, as you no doubt are already aware. It's quite a smooth little mill, save for one situation: idle. At idle it sends vibes through the cabin in a way that I don't recall happening in its primary German competition, the current four-cylinder-equipped BMW 3 Series.
It's certainly no dealbreaker, but it's there, and I wonder what customers whom are already skeptical of a four-cylinder Cadillac will think when they experience the ATS at idle.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
January 1, 2013
Donna liked our 2013 Cadillac ATS's headlamps here, and I do too. They do an amazing job bending around corners with the steering input. However, they caused some sort of erroneous fault code on the instrument panel. I hopped out of the car and checked for myself...
December 31, 2012
It's inevitable. Despite a semi-reliable voice-recognition system in our 2013 Cadillac ATS, sometimes we have to actually touch the touchscreen. The problem is that we filthy humans produce sebum, or oil from our skin and it gets on the screen. Luckily, Cadillac has provided an amazingly effective sebum removal system...
December 18, 2012
This is the steering wheel of our 2013 Cadillac ATS. Kind of nice, right? It's roundish, has a bunch of buttons (more on them later), is covered in leather and via some electronics, turns the front wheels.
It also makes a HORRIBLE creaking noise when you turn it more than a few degrees to either direction. It's done this since it was delivered (I have a crummier video of the same thing when it had 60 miles) and, really, I just thought it was new plastics that needed some breaking in. Clearly I was mistaken and this is something the dealer will have to handle.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 2,250 miles