2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Cadillac ATS: From CTS to ATS

February 4 , 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has a pair of new owners: Karren, chief human resources officer for Edmunds and her friend, Kenneth. Kenneth previously owned a 2005 Cadillac CTS, and as it was beginning to show some signs of age, was looking for a replacement with more modern features.

Karren and Kenneth took the ATS for a test-drive and were impressed by its handling and also its safety technology. The Edmunds Editors had listed it as a "Top Recommended Sedan" for 2013, which was a plus in their eyes.

Since our Cadillac ATS was the "Premium" trim level, it came with a ton of features, such as the driver-awareness package, side blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert and more. It was a lot of car for the money. Here's how the numbers broke down.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Would Have Been Better as a Pontiac

January 28, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

That's not a slam, as the 2013 Cadillac ATS is a pretty solid, sporting sedan. It's just not Cadillac material.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Headlight Warning

January 13, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

The other day our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS threw up the "dead headlight" warning you see above.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Slow-Loading Traffic Data

December 06, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our 2013 Cadillac ATS's traffic data takes too long to load. Sometimes the delay between starting the car and the appearance of traffic data on the car's navigation screen is more than five minutes.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Best Shift Paddles Ever?

November 29, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I might not love CUE, but Cadillac did get the 2013 ATS's shift paddles right. They are placed well, sized right and offer both precision and perfect effort in use. Their throw is short and the transmission's response is quick. Though they don't feel mechanical, they do produce a sense of solidity as you toggle through the gears.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Tire Pressure Monitor Issue Redux

October 28, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After Mr. Oldham observed what he suggested was an anomalous TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, I was intrigued. So I gave it a whirl.

First thing on a cool morning I measured the tire pressures with my trusty gauge. Then I fired up the ATS and looked at the pressures reported by the car's TPMS.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Glovebox Is Too Small

October 24, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Never has the term glovebox been so appropriate. One glove is about all you can fit in the 2013 Cadillac ATS's dashboard compartment. That notepad in the picture doesn't fit and it's not exactly big.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Stinky Air

October 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

"What an incredible smell you've discovered." Ah, yes, I never pass up an opportunity to work in a Star Wars quote.

But seriously, when you start up our 2013 Cadillac ATS, the first few seconds of air that comes blasting out of the vents is pretty stinky. Like, "shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level" stinky.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Top IIHS Score for Crash Mitigation Technology

October 9, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Recently the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety started a new testing program for vehicles with collision avoidance systems. Specifically, these are the systems that can detect vehicles ahead of you, determine if you're about to cause a front crash and either warn you or warn you and take steps (including automatically applying your car's brakes) to either minimize or even prevent the potential accident.

Within this testing program, the Cadillac ATS earned a "Superior" score for the performance of its frontal collision mitigation system, which is the best score given out of three possible rankings.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Useful Combo of HUD and Gauge Cluster Display

October 1, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

We've written about our 2013 Cadillac ATS's head-up display and configurable gauge cluster display before. But it's also worth mentioning how well they work together.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Squeaky Door Panel (With Video)

September 30, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It seems as if the driver-side interior door panel of our 2013 Cadillac ATS has loosened just a tiny bit during our 15,000 miles, and it results in some squeaky noises when you pull the door shut or press on the upper panel (for the memory seating buttons).

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Enjoying It More This Time Around

September 25, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

The last time I drove our 2013 Cadillac ATS was a couple months ago. The car hasn't changed other than more miles on its odometer, but I'm enjoying the ATS more this time around.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Choose a Car for Me

September 19, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Did you ever have someone else choose a car for you? A long time ago there was a game online called the Car-o-Scope. I think it was by the Car Talk guys.

You put in some information about the car you currently drive, then answer some personality questions and it chooses a car for you.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: 15,000 Miles

September 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

We've reached 15,000 miles in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS. We bought the ATS in mid-November of 2012 and it has seen its share of action in that time.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: CUE Glitches Continue

September 9, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It has been quite a long time since I've driven our 2013 Cadillac ATS and I had forgotten how recalcitrant the touchscreen infotainment system is. Click through to see a video demonstration of the screen's non-responsiveness after repeated presses.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The V6 Option

September 6, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

On a recent trip to Michigan, I spent a good, long stint in a 2013 Cadillac ATS. Sound familiar? There's a wrinkle here. This Michigan car was equipped with the optional V6 as opposed to the 2.0-liter turbo-four in our long-term ATS.

Here are my observations.

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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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Class Conscious

August 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Pulling into the valet lane at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas I found myself behind a Rolls Royce Phantom with a license plate "Wynn 3." I was suddenly relieved I wasn't driving my 2001 Nissan Sentra with faded paint on the driver's side door as I had planned. Instead, I handed the keys to our 2013 Cadillac ATS to the valet who respectfully addressed me as "Mr. Reed."

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Automatic Brakes

August 1, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has this automatic braking system that, um, automatically engages the brakes in certain situations, namely ones that have the ingredients for crashing. No matter the manufacturer, these systems aren't perfect. They can't possibly assess every situation accurately. I say this not to excuse them, rather to recognize that this aspect is not unique to GM's system.

With that said, over the weekend the ATS went to full ABS braking for a split second while the car was in no way in any kind of perilous situation whatsoever. The car dropped the anchors as hard as they would go, if only for an instant. I'd just made a left onto a street with a slight curve in it, and the system misinterpreted the cars in the opposing lane as an impending oncoming disaster, and acted accordingly.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Thoughts After Two Weeks

July 30, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Recently, I got a lot of seat time in our 2013 Cadillac ATS. It was a good opportunity to see how the car's traits (both good and bad) affected me over a longer duration.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Hey, It's Like a 3 Series

June 11, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Every time I walk out to my dark garage to get in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, I feel happy. I could end up taking a really good drive today, I think. The world is my oyster. My mania has everything to do with the approach lighting on the ATS.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Unnecessary Alerts

June 10, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Tell me this: Does anybody really need to know about a High Surf Advisory? It needs to be a world-changing event for this to be necessary information on my commute. Yes, these warnings can be switched off. And they will be.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Hypersensitive Driver Assist

June 7, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Well, you never can be too careful, I guess. While reversing our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS into a parking space on the street, the car abruptly dropped anchor, grinding to an immediate halt. A loud alert sounded, and the car wouldn't move.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Possible Recall

June 6, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

General Motors is recalling some 2014 Chevrolet Impala, 2013 Cadillac ATS, and 2013 Cadillac XTS models. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the vehicles' brake lamps may flash intermittently and the cruise control may disengage.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Keeping It Clean

June 5, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Summer in Los Angeles means blooming Jacaranda trees. Everywhere. And as beautiful as they are, they shed their sticky, purple blossoms as fast as you can sweep them from your driveway.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Celebrity Sighting

June 4, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Down on Reese Witherspoon since her recent mouthy arrest in Georgia? Here's a little something to help you get over her bad behavior:

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Safety Seat Is Obnoxious

May 31, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I thought I would get used to the so-called Safety Seat in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS. I haven't, and at this point I don't expect I will. For those unaware, the Safety Seat adds a pair of thigh bolsters that twitch prominently when the car's proximity sensors decide it is necessary to do so.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Trim Issue

May 22, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term Cadillac ATS has had a string of small issues lately. A couple of them were simple warnings from the on-board computer that something was wrong. In both cases, everything seemed fine to us, so it's hard to tell if the computer was acting up.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Minor Lighting Failure

May 21, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Pink Cadillac

May 17, 2013

Cadillac

While driving our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS yesterday, I came upon one of its special relations.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Safety Alert Seats

May 16, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Weather Advisory

May 14, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

When I was driving our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS home on Friday evening, I got this warning message about impending weather conditions.

An Areal Flood Advisory

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2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Premium: Versus the Competition

May 13, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Premium recently found itself embroiled in a comparison test, pitted against the 2013 BMW 328i and the all-new 2014 Lexus IS250 F Sport.

How'd it do? Head over to the comparison test to find out.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Where's Waldo?

May 10, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It's somewhat important to see where your car is when you glance at the nav screen. For example, you're in an unfamiliar neighborhood and want to see how close you are to a certain street. Well, good luck with the system in the ATS as it's like playing "Where's Waldo".

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Crash Tests

April 24, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

No, I didn't ram our Cadillac ATS into a wall. But seriously, how awesome of a test would that be?

NHTSA awarded the Cadillac ATS five out of five stars in overall, frontal, side and rollover protection. That's pretty impressive. Loyal followers of our long-term fleet might recall that I have a particular affinity for watching destruction, especially in slow motion. So click on through to see a few Cadillacs get crushed in frame-by-frame glory. You're welcome.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Satellite Controls Are Good, Not Great

April 23, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Dog Report

April 19, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Loud CUE Startup

April 17, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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...."

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Proud To Be an American

April 12, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I've been doing some homework about what people have in mind when they buy American cars, and just what makes a car "American."

So it was interesting to notice this sticker on the driver's side door jamb of our 2013 Cadillac ATS. It's a bit of a mess from a design standpoint, what with the competing assembly plant, UAW and GM logos, to say nothing of the particularly ugly map of Michigan. But forget all that. The sticker is a statement of the car's American pedigree. The ATS was born in the U.S.A., dammit.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Searching for the CD Player

April 10, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The Creaky Steering Is Fixed

April 9, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our Cadillac ATS no longer sounds like a socket wrench every time you spin the steering wheel. After dropping it off at Martin Cadillac in West L.A. they got to work on diagnosing the problem. Turns out that the SIR (Steering Wheel Inflatable Restraint) coil was rubbing against the steering angle sensor.

First, the tech tried using a new SIR coil to see if that would cure the problem. It didn't. Then he tried a new steering sensor, that didn't work either. Then put in both replacement parts together and all was good. All five and a half hours of labor were covered under warranty. Whew.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Album Artwork on the Instrument Panel

April 8, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: It's No Brougham

April 4, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has a 272-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. This 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham de Elegance that I found last weekend, has a 7.0-liter V8 that produced 195 horsepower when it was new. There aren't too many people that are comparing these two Caddys, but I enjoy looking at the stark contrast between two automobiles that share the same badge.

In 1977 the Cadillac Fleetwood was 'downsized' and lost more than 12 inches of overall length, making it a scant 221 inches from bumper to bumper. Even at this decreased size, it's 40 inches longer than our ATS and larger than every Cadillac sedan on the road today. The only Cadillac that even comes close in the current lineup is the Escalade ESV at 222.9 inches (an inch longer).

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Creaky Cadillac

March 21, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

This little issue has been driving me nuts for a while. The steering wheel in our ATS makes a clicking sound as it rotates. It's like turning a socket wrench every time you park. If you don't believe me you can hear it for yourself.

Some people have driven it and barely even noticed. I'm not sure how given how prominent it is every time you turn the wheel. It grated on my ears every time I got behind the wheel, so I finally took it to the dealer today to see if they could smooth things out.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: My Favorite Design Flourish

March 20, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

The Cadillac ATS abounds with little stylistic flourishes and clever details. It's one of the things that truly set it apart from the staid Germans that might include some LED lights up front and perhaps a smidgen of alloy trim inside if you tick the right options box.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: 5,000+ Miles

March 11, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS has passed the 5,000-mile mark. Actually, it did this a little while ago but we missed the clickover photo.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Chirping Sound

February 21, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I noticed an odd little sound in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS the last time I drove it. It's a muted chirpchirpchirp that happens briefly during moderate acceleration from a standstill. The sound only occurs immediately following the 1-2 upshift and can be reproduced fairly easily.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: This Is Backwards

February 20, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

To put on the parking brake, you have to pull this little lever. To release, you push.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Which Car Would You Choose?

February 7, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

Three new black cars were parked in a row: BMW 335i, Fiat 500, and our own 2013 Cadillac ATS.

Which one would you choose?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 4,068 miles

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Euroness

February 6, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

It's easy pick on the ATS for a couple of its concessions to Europe, such as passenger-side fuel filler. It'd be easier if this weren't prevalent on so many GM cars. I get it, global company and all. Tuned the ATS on the Norburger and hope to sell a few there as well. Fine.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: A Good Start

February 5, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Adaptive Cruise Control

January 22, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I've been reading a lot about self-driving cars lately and I learned that Cadillac is eager to get into the game with "super cruise control", which they say will come out soon. One component of that will be adaptive cruise control, which is part of the driver assistance package on our 2013 Cadillac ATS. So, until super cruise gets here, I thought I'd give the current adaptive cruise a test drive on the busy 405 freeway in West Los Angeles.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: 2013 North American Car of the Year

January 14, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

The 2013 Cadillac ATS sport sedan was voted North American Car of the Year by a jury of automotive journalists.

It beat out the BMW 3 Series, Chevy Malibu, Dodge Dart, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Lincoln MKZ, Nissan Altima, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota Avalon.

The 2103 Ram 1500 took top honors in the truck category, making 2013 a Detroit sweep. The winners were announced at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

What would you have voted for?

2013 Cadillac ATS, Ram 1500 Win Car and Truck of the Year Prizes

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Dual Detent Cruise

January 8, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Bring Knobs Back

January 7, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Rev-Matched Downshifts

January 5, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

One nice feature of our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS' automatic transmission is its ability to match revs when your command downshifts manually. Not a big deal to the average user who probably won't use manual mode after his or her first week of ownership, but for those like me that use it for engine braking or during brisk drives, it's a welcome trait.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Post Shutdown Drip

January 4, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After driving our 2013 Cadillac ATS a few miles on a cool afternoon, we shut 'er down, and my buddy noticed "smoke" emanating from the right exhaust tip...

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Thrummy Idle

January 2, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Who's the Big Brother Here?

December 28, 2012

2013 Cadillac ATS

As if we had staged it, our 2013 Cadillac ATS drips dry in front of a Cadillac CTS. Funny thing is, the supposedly smaller ATS looks at least as large as the CTS parked behind it. In fact, overall length differs by 8.5 inches, but it's hard to see out in the real world. Do you think the new ATS is going to cannibalize the aging CTS sales?

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 2,534 miles

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Fancy Headlights

December 25, 2012

2013 Cadillac ATS

I like the way the Cadillac headlights extend up over the hood. They go almost as far as the entire wheel.

When you click the unlock button on the key fob, the lights do a little dance until they level off. And, boy, are they bright. I was parked facing the window of a restaurant and when I clicked the unlock button I think I temporarily blinded everyone in the restaurant. Oops. Sorry.

There's a more detailed picture after the jump. And I'll make you a video next time I have the keys.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Cadillac ATS in VA is:

$180 per month*
* Explanation
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