May 10, 2013
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".
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 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 16, 2013
As far as infotainment interfaces go, the Cadillac CUE system is all right. Not great and not awful. The welcome screen (when you first get into the car), however, is both great and awful.
Startup and welcome flourishes are nothing new to cars. Personally, I like the simple sweep of the gauge needles, but I'm a sports car type of guy. When manufacturers include welcome screens with sound effects, well, I'm not impressed.
I used to love the THX intro screens in movie theatres. The sweeping sound and power from those systems were simply rad. But I don't need it in a car. The ATS's screen is particularly egregious, giving me the impression that they hired Michael Bay to create it.
April 15, 2013
Our long-term Cadillac ATS in Premium trim comes with a 10-speaker Bose surround sound system (that's three more speakers than the base system from Bose). On lower-trimmed models, this system is paired with the CUE interface and will set you back $1,350. Is the upgrade worth it?
Short answer: probably.
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 18, 2013
Living within driving distance of Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the benefits of working in Southern California. Many of our long-term cars get to make this run. Most recently our 2013 Cadillac ATS was called to duty.
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.
January 23, 2013
One of my favorite features of our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS (besides the handling) is the car's customizable instrument panel. As some of you have pointed out, the gauges themselves are kind of, well, crummy, especially in broad daylight. But where the real magic happens is in the rectangular box directly below the '80s speedometer that has three configurable display screens.
This type of thing isn't exactly new, cars have been playing this game for a while. Cadillac's, however, is super easy to use and gives the user a ton of options. You can even have the same data, like speed, displayed twice.
Some of the available options are distance to destination, average fuel economy, range, tire pressure, oil life, battery voltage, trip odometer, a blank page and posted speed limit. There's also a speed warning. I set ours to 186. Check out the video to see it all in action.
I have it set to display posted speed on the right, and current speed on the left. What's your preference?
January 22, 2013
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.
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 7, 2012
There was much hand wringing over the dated look of the gauges in the ATS when the car was introduced to our fleet. I was kind of surprised, mostly because I had driven the car and didn't find their look all that objectionable.
Maybe it was the photos, or high expectations for a car trying to unseat the 3 Series as the de facto sport sedan of record. Either way, the reaction was all kinds of not good.
Now don't get me wrong, I prefer a far simpler setup, one with equal parts speedometer and tachometer and not much else. But this setup is readable, not overly cluttered and far from the worst I've seen.
Then again, maybe I'm saying that because the rest of the car is so good. Really, it's impressive. From the engine to the brakes to the suspension, it's dialed in very well in nearly every respect.
Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 1,950 miles