2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Xenon Headlight Output

January 24, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

Last summer, I took a road trip in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS and commented on the clear output from the xenon headlights. We got our ATS in the Premium trim level, so these headlights are standard. This is what the light output looks like in a dark garage.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Individual Tire Pressures

January 10, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

I grabbed the keys for our 2013 Cadillac ATS yesterday because it had been months since I last drove it. It's nearing the end of its time with us and I wanted to see if the 20,850 miles it's experienced at our hands had made a difference. Driving from the office yesterday, it felt weird.

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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: No Knobs, No Buttons

November 27, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

I'm going to belabor the point. The ATS's center stack has no knobs and no real buttons. This makes life in the car slower and more difficult. Now that we've lived with it for a while, I feel like CUE is just cost-cutting masquerading as progress.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Adaptive Cruise Control Can't Be Defeated

October 7, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The Bat Cave

September 23, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

If you swipe your finger along the bottom of the Cadillac ATS's center stack, a secret will be revealed. Donna DeRosa found it while Searching for the CD Player but I happened upon it by accident. Powered arms lift the display to reveal a third USB port and some cool-blue lighting inside an additional storage compartment.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Flashback Interior

September 20, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

After a road trip in the 2013 Cadillac ATS Turbo, I declared it the "best all-rounder we've got" and I stand by that statement. I really do love the ATS and when an ATS-V is introduced, the market for the BMW M3 will get a lot more competitive. But, the overhead console with its On-Star controls, interior lighting and sunroof controls, are seriously outdated.

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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: 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: 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: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 3

July 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

California Gold Rush miners were settling in Nevada City as early as 1849, fifteen years before Nevada became a state. As a result of this relatively lengthy history, there are some great landmarks in the area. I've already been to the Empire Mine National Park (where nearly 6 million ounces of gold was unearthed), but as I was on my way out of town in our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS, the local cemetery caught my eye.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 2

July 16, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

On day two of my holiday weekend road trip to Nevada City, California in our 2013 Cadillac ATS, it sat parked while we climbed into a Toyota Highlander Hybrid instead. The Caddy likely would've faced a few issues towing my father's boat.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 1

July 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

When our 2013 Cadillac ATS finally came out of the body shop, it went straight to work. My brother and I had a 1,000-mile road trip planned for the holiday weekend.

Out of Los Angeles before noon, my brother Tyler and I were keen on arriving at our father's house for dinner. It's 450 miles away. Apparently, the ATS's seats are super comfortable for passengers because my brother was sleeping before 30 minutes passed. After a few hours on the road, I couldn't drown out the snoring with podcasts any longer. I stopped for burgers.

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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: 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: Steering Wheel Audio Controls

May 6, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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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: CUE Welcome Screen Video

April 16, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Audio Review

April 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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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: 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: XM Subscriptions

April 5, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Road Trip to Vegas

March 18, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Lousy Rear-View Camera

March 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Magical Touch Sensitive Interface

February 14, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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.

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Customizable Instrument Panel

January 23, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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?

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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: Erroneous Headlamp Fault Code

January 1, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

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...

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2013 Cadillac ATS: Microfiber Included

December 31, 2012

2013 Cadillac ATS

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...

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2013 Cadillac ATS: The Gauges are Fine

December 7, 2012

2013_cadillac_ats

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

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$161 per month*
* Explanation
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