2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 9/18/2012
Success in this crowded, competitive segment is a tall order and Cadillac's first effort is admirable. Though the ATS isn't faster or more efficient than others in the class, it is among the best handling. Not a class leader yet, but certainly worth a look.
PerformanceThe ATS's personality is dominated by its cornering ability, which is as good as the segment leaders, or even better in some situations. Power from the 2.0-liter turbo engine is adequate.
Though it's not quite as quick as BMW's 328i, acceleration from the 2.0-liter is above average. Not as stellar as it should be with 272 hp.
Brake feel and performance is firm and trustworthy from the ATS's fixed four-piston front calipers.
Steering feel and feedback from behind the ATS's wheel belies how good this car handles. Quick turn-in response and tons of grip. Just what you want in an agile sport sedan.
This is the ATS's strength. It can carve corners with the likes of BMW's 3 Series, long the class benchmark.
With a manual transmission, the ATS rejects hard shifts while the automatic shifts slowly with awkward rev-matching. Engine sound is disappointing. Doesn't beg to be driven hard.
ComfortCompetent handling was a priority in the ATS so a marginal sacrifice was made to ride comfort, even with magnetic dampers. Overall, it's still a very worthy daily driver for most.
The ATS's seats err more on the side of sport than comfort, though fail to do either with any great aplomb. Average.
The ATS's ride is relatively taut even in the softer (default) Tour setting. Many buyers will find Sport too stiff for road use.
This is, after all, a Cadillac. And it's quiet enough. Equipped with big sport tires, road noise creeps in at speed and the engine is, at best, agricultural sounding.
InteriorWell styled and built with high-end materials, the ATS's interior is among the best in the segment.
CUE would benefit from knobs, but its voice-command functionality exceeds that of many competitors systems. We found its use awkward on occasion.
Nothing exceptional here. As easy to enter or exit as other cars in the segment.
The ATS has a smaller rear seat than both Audi's A4 and BMW's 3 Series. Tall passengers will wish for more room on longer journeys.
There is acceptable rear-quarter visibility from inside the ATS. We'd rate it about average for the segment. Forward visibility is good.
The ATS offers a marginally smaller trunk than most competitors. Small-item interior storage is adequate, not great, and the glovebox could certainly benefit from more volume.
ValueFully optioned, the ATS is only marginally less costly than the segment leader, which is a tough spot for a new entry. Even a good one like this.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Build quality appears to be on par for the segment. High-end materials and design.
The CUE infotainment system offers nearly every feature buyers could want, plus more.
The ATS 2.0 is competitively priced for the segment. It doesn't offer a lower price than its competitors, but hopes to draw customers in with plenty of features.
In 2.0T trim our tester returned a best of 28 mpg, and returned 25 mpg on our 116-mile test loop. Overall, we averaged 20.9. The EPA rating is 21 city, 31 highway and 24 combined.
The ATS comes with a 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty along with a 6 year/70,000 mile drivetrain warranty.
OnStar is standard for one year. You also get free maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles and roadside assistance for 6 years/70,000 miles.
Fun To DriveBecause of its superb handling, the ATS is rewarding to drive. It's quick. It corners well. It rips on-ramps apart. Fun.
The ATS gets a lot of looks. People notice Cadillac's styling, and they seem to appreciate it even more in this smaller package.
The ATS is an enthusiast's dream on a back road. It's a rewarding car to drive, especially when big power isn't a requirement. And with four doors, it's a practical car, too.