Used 2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review

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2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2014 Cadillac ATS is an enjoyable entry-level sport/luxury sedan worthy of comparison with more established German rivals. Although not a class leader, the ATS is a solid choice, especially if you want to drive something a little different from the norm.

  • Pros

    Excellent handling; fun-to-drive character with either 2.0-liter turbo or V6 engine; cutting-edge interior design.

  • Cons

    Weak acceleration with the base engine; 2.0-liter turbo engine is noisy; CUE electronics interface is slow to respond and often distracting; small backseat and trunk.

  • What's New for 2014

    Automatic high-beam control has been added to the Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages on the 2014 Cadillac ATS, while a 110-volt power outlet is now included in cars with the navigation system. In addition, automatic-transmission models with paddle shifters now have a larger-diameter steering wheel.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan

What's New for 2014

Automatic high-beam control has been added to the Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages on the 2014 Cadillac ATS, while a 110-volt power outlet is now included in cars with the navigation system. In addition, automatic-transmission models with paddle shifters now have a larger-diameter steering wheel.

Introduction

Now in its second year, the 2014 Cadillac ATS is a capable entry in the well-stocked compact entry-level sport luxury sedan class. Although consumers have plenty of choices in this price range, the Cadillac's contemporary interior design and touchscreen control interface stand out from the competition. The ATS is also one of the best handling entry-luxury sedans out there, and while it's not extraordinarily quick, both the midrange 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and available V6 provide a satisfying compromise of power and efficiency. Overall, the ATS stacks up well among entry-luxury cars, and it's easily the most desirable small Cadillac of the modern era.

That said, the Cadillac ATS has a few weak spots that keep it from toppling its rivals. Performance is lackluster with the base 2.5-liter engine, and while the 2.0-liter turbo is significantly more potent, its soundtrack has all the charm of a combine harvester. Inside, the CUE infotainment system is pleasing on an aesthetic level, but it's often slow to respond to commands, which can make it distracting to use while driving. The ATS also has one of the smallest backseats and trunk of any entry-level luxury sedan.

Of course, the biggest hurdle for the 2014 Cadillac ATS is simply the extreme level of competition in this price range. The 2014 BMW 3 Series has dominated this class for years and continues to do so, thanks to its lineup of overachieving engines, spacious cabin and all-around excellent driving dynamics. Other top choices include the 2014 Audi A4, Infiniti Q50 and 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The recently introduced Mercedes-Benz CLA is another possible candidate, since it costs less and provides similar luxury appointments.

The BMW is without a doubt our favorite car to drive in this group, while the Audi has some of the finest cabin furnishings. The 2014 Cadillac ATS is a step behind these two, but it's still a strong contender and worth a test-drive before you make a decision.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Cadillac ATS is a five-passenger, luxury-oriented sport sedan that is offered in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium.

Standard features on the base trim include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, an active aero grille, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way power front seats with power lumbar, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Optional on the base ATS is the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system and an upgraded surround-sound system, which adds HD Radio, an 8-inch touchscreen audio display, 10-speaker Bose sound system (with a CD player) and a rearview camera.

The CUE interface is standard on the Luxury trim, which also adds run-flat tires, keyless entry and ignition, remote engine start (automatic-transmission models only), eight-way power front seats, front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather seating, driver memory functions and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

The Performance trim (not available with the 2.5-liter engine) includes previously mentioned equipment along with dual exhaust outlets, a Driver Awareness package (automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, rear-seat side airbags, and forward collision, rear cross-traffic and lane departure warning systems), xenon headlights, an upgraded 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, front sport seats (with driver-side bolster adjustment), aluminum-trimmed pedals and, as on the base ATS, a fixed rear seat with a pass-through.

Stepping up to the Premium trim (not available with the 2.5-liter engine) adds 18-inch wheels, a navigation system, a color head-up display and the 60/40 split-folding rear seat. Rear-wheel-drive ATS Premium models also come with run-flat summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive suspension dampers and a limited-slip rear differential.

Many of the features that are standard on the upper trim levels are optional on the lower trims. A few other option packages are also available. The Driver Assist package includes the features from the Awareness package and adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, a collision mitigation system with brake assist (which activates in both front and rear collision situations) and the color head-up display. The Cold Weather package includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Available only on rear-drive V6 Premium models, the Track Performance package adds an engine oil cooler and upgraded brake pads. Other options include different wheels, a sunroof and a trunk cargo organizer.

Powertrains and Performance

Three engines are available for the 2014 Cadillac ATS. The 2.5 models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 202 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0 Turbo models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 272 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6 models come with a 3.6-liter V6 that cranks out 321 hp and 274 lb-ft of torque.

All ATS engines come matched to a six-speed automatic transmission except the 2.0-liter turbo, which can also be had with a six-speed manual. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board. All-wheel drive is optional for the 2.0- and 3.6-liter engines and requires the automatic transmission.

In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive ATS 2.0T with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. An automatic-equipped ATS 2.0T (also rear-wheel drive) turned in an identical time. A rear-drive ATS 3.6 Premium accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Both times are average among similarly powered entry-level luxury sedans.

EPA estimated fuel economy for the base ATS 2.5 is 26 mpg combined (22 mpg city/33 mpg highway). Equipped with the automatic, 2.0 Turbo models are estimated to return 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city/31 mpg highway) in rear-drive configuration and 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city/29 mpg highway) with AWD. With the manual gearbox and rear-drive, the ATS 2.0 Turbo is rated at 23 mpg combined (19 mpg city/30 mpg highway).

The V6 is estimated to achieve 22 mpg combined (18 mpg city/28 mpg highway) with rear-wheel drive and 21 combined (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway) with AWD.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2014 Cadillac ATS include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side and knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

Optional safety items are included in the aforementioned Driver Awareness (forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic wipers and rear seat side airbags) and Driver Assist packages (adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and collision mitigation with brake assist). Note that the collision mitigation system that's part of the Driver Assist package will automatically apply the brakes in both low-speed forward and rearward potential collision situations -- an unusual feature in this price range. A rearview camera is optional on the base model and standard on the Luxury, Performance and Premium.

In Edmunds brake testing, an ATS 3.6 Premium with summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet, while a 2.0T with summer tires required a bit more at 112 feet. An ATS 3.6 Performance with all-season tires did it in 113 feet. All three distances are average for this class of vehicle with these tire types.

In government crash tests, the 2014 Cadillac ATS earned a top five-star rating with perfect scores across front crash, side crash and rollover tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the 2014 Cadillac ATS boasts a variety of high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents. The cabin feels solidly put together, but we've noted a few more fit and finish issues in the ATS than in similarly priced competitors.

The available CUE infotainment interface features large icons and operates like an iPhone or iPad, which is to say you operate it by tapping, flicking, swiping or spreading your fingers -- making it familiar for many users. Furthermore, "haptic" feedback lets you know when you've pressed a virtual button by pulsing when you touch it.

This all results in a certain wow factor, but in practice, CUE can be slow to respond (and occasionally, fail to respond at all), and some features, such as the slide bar for volume adjustment, turn out to be more trouble than conventional controls. In this class, we prefer the BMW iDrive and Mercedes-Benz COMAND interfaces (both of which use a multidirectional dial-type controller). On the upside, the ATS has a robust voice recognition interface, so if you get tired of fiddling with the touchscreen, initiating commands by voice is a pretty painless process.

Up front, most drivers will find it easy to get into a comfortable driving position, and in our experience, the front seats provide ample support on longer drives. Oddly, the optional sport seats don't provide much more lateral support than the standard seats, even with the addition of power-adjustable bolsters.

Compared to most other entry-level luxury sedans, the ATS's backseat is smaller than the norm. It's not necessarily a deal breaker depending on what your priorities are, but know that taller adults will find headroom, shoulder room and hiproom in short supply. The trunk is similarly confining. In spite of its wide opening, it offers just 10.2 cubic feet of capacity. Only the Luxury and Premium trims have a 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

Driving Impressions

The 2014 Cadillac ATS is an impressive all-around performer, thanks to its poised ride, sure-footed handling and excellent response from the steering and brakes. More demanding drivers might criticize the steering's so-so levels of feedback, but overall, the compact Cadillac is a fine daily driver that can also provide plenty of entertainment on a Sunday morning drive.

The base 2.5-liter engine is smooth, but it delivers tepid acceleration compared with other entry-level powertrains in this class. Fortunately, both the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and 3.6-liter V6 provide thrust more in keeping with this Cadillac's athletic personality. Of these two, the V6 would be our choice, mostly because the 2.0-liter turbo gets noisy under hard acceleration and isn't as refined as the four-cylinder engines in rival sedans. Although enthusiasts may lament the lack of a manual transmission for the V6, the six-speed automatic will get the job done for most consumers. Switched to Sport mode, it knows when to hold a gear and provides rev-matched downshifts.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 14 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not ready for prime time

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac ATS Performance 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I have the 2014 2.0T RWD Performance version of the ATS. In the 14k miles and year and a half of ownership of this vehicle there have numerous quality issues with the car (see list below). Seems GM spent most of the development money on Chassis Tuning on the ATS and let everything else slip. Others seem to have more luck than I have, but should you really have to get lucky to get one of the "good" ones when purchasing a new vehicle? Buyer Beware. Piston Failure (twice ~7k and ~14k miles) Electric Power Steering Failure replaced at ~14k miles Advanced Forward Light misaligns headlights and point high - No fix from Cadillac Driver's Side Motor Mount broke Navigation poor performance, stutters while reading direction and very long start up time - Fix from Cadillac was only set to read at Med or Low Speed CUE poor responsiveness - No fix from Cadillac Driver's Side Power Recliner required replacement Driver's Side Side Mirror required replacement for broken heating element Rear window defroster slow to heat up after recall implemented HVAC repair for noisy linkage - Also blows cold air until engine warms up Mileage has been no where near advertised at ~18 mpg



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Leftover 2014 a ragingg bargain

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac ATS Performance 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

This is my first Cadillac after over a decade driving Mercedes-Benz C class. I drive on average 40,000 miles per year and typically buy a new car every other year (leasing is too expensive for that many miles). Compared to my last Mercedes (2012 C250 Sport) the ATS is more powerful, better handling and has better seats, at least in front. With the amount of miles I drive, a comfortable drivers seat is the first thing I look at, and the ATS seat is the best I've had yet with the possible exception of the 2005 C230 Sport sedan, which wasn't as adjustable, but was perhaps a slight bit better shaped, especially at the headrest. <P> The seat is extremely firm and very well bolstered. It also has an extendable thi support that really makes the difference (I extend mine outward one detent (it has three). The side bolsters and lumbar are inflatable and a lot smoother and better shaped than those in more recent C Class seats, though the 2005 again was just as good or better, though non adjustable for the side bolsters. <P> Ride matches the seats, very firm, but compliant. I prefer a stiff ride so long as it isn't punishing, and Cadillac has about the best balance in this car of anything I've ever owned. Recent Mercedes C Class is a bit smoother, but the ATS has sharper handling and steering. <P> Brakes are outstanding, with Brembo by Cadillac branded brakes up front and smaller disc brakes in the rear. I took a very twisty mountain road Thursday night and drove quite aggressively, but the brakes never faded, never squealed and always scrubbed off speed with serious authority. These brakes are far better than anything on any car I've ever owned, and equal to those on my friend's Porsche Cayman. <P> The interior styling is just beautiful. It has many traditional Cadillac styling cues with the slender vertical tail lights especially appealing, but everything is tidy, compact and modern. This is a Cadillac, but a youthful, enthusiast Cadillac. I love the way this car looks inside and out. <P> The CUE system is perhaps my only complaint. This system is totally touch-screen based which is very nice, pretty and functional, so long as the car is parked or you are in the passenger seat. It is awkward to use while driving, but fortunately most functions can be accessed by the steering wheel controls and the phone's mute button also works to mute the stereo. I liked the Comand System in the Mercedes better, but once you spend a bit of time and learn the steering wheel controls and voice activated access the system is less annoying, though still not idea. I would much prefer old fashioned knobs and buttons, but it isn't a deal breaker. <P> The instruments are okay, nothing incredible. There is a three-section LCD at the bottom that is extremely useful, with each of the three sections configurable for anything from trip computer to navigation, fuel economy or diagnostics. The only real complaint I have is that the tachometer is pushed to the far left, and in aggressive driving can be obscured by the steering wheel or drivers hands. This would be a bigger problem in a manual transmission car, but on my automatic it isn't too bad. <P> The back seat is small, quite a bit tighter than my last C Class. I'm 5'9" and like to sit a bit further back than normal for my height when driving. I can still fit in the backseat behind my driving position, but foot and knee room is minimal. I could ride back there for an hour or three, but a longer trip wouldn't be comfortable. The backseat itself is terrific though, with great lower back and thigh support and the same firm padding as the front seats. <P> The interior is also very well trimmed in very nice leather, thick carpeting and real metal (aluminum in my car), wood or carbon fiber. Panel gaps are even and everything feels very well put together. The window sticker advertises a hand cut and sewn interior, and I believe it, with quality at least equal to my last 2012 Mercedes and better than the 2009 or 2005 that I owned previously, or my wife's Lexus for that matter. <P> Fuel economy is a bit disappointing so far. I've put just over 1,000 miles on the car in the week I've owned it and my last long drive (270 miles) returned 27 MPG. It was mostly highway driving at 80 to 85 MPH, but the C250 would return 30MPG on that same drive. Maybe it I'll improve as the car breaks in. City driving so far gives me just under 20MPG, where the C250 woud give 23. This car has only a 6 speed automatic compared to Mercedes' 7 speed, plus the car has a good 70 more horsepower, so I can't complain. <P> It's early days yet with the ATS, but so far, I'm impressed.



3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Read this review

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac ATS Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I have had this car for 15 months. 3 recalls new brakes new tires rear end alignment You should really think about going somewhere other than Cadillac because this is a troubled model. The room inside is terrible. The dealership surely will let you know that you bought the wrong car. They really should not call this a Cadillac.



5 of 6 people found this review helpful

This car is not for the masses-update

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac ATS Standard 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I was asked by Emunds to update my review. I still think that the ATS is very good "road car". I took it on a few road trips and it is very good on the road. Excellent gas mileage at the steady-state. I wasn't sore or tired at the end. I have had some disappointing developments. I had a stuck throttle that caused the car to stall on me. I had some previous hesitation on accelerating out of a turn with the A/C on. I kinda thought that was "normal(?)". It was a stuck throttle. Interestingly, I can rate the acceleration higher. Also, the dealer disabled the automatic rear window defroster because of a defective part. I inquired if they were going get a "fix" for that. Apparently they are not. The car is too costly to have Cadillac removing a feature that in my view is a plus and very desirable. I am afraid that I may look at the other cars I looked over when I got this car more closely in the future.




Cue and gloss interior horrible

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac ATS Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

What was wrong with the interior controls in my 2013 CTS. This new interior is the worst. You may meme me jump ship over it.



17 of 19 people found this review helpful

Going back to lexus...

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Cadillac ATS Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

The sharp exterior styling brought me to this car, and the great salesman got me to drive off with it. I've had this car for 12months (16K miles) now and have run into one issue after another...A blowout from the run-flat tires was the first issue. I paid $400 for a new tire because they said it was road-hazard. Then the USB ports stopped charging. Then the car threw up a check engine light (code P0023) dealer replaced a fuel solenoid. One month later, threw up another check engine (code P0021) dealer replaced fuel solenoid in Bank B. It's been a week, and now the car is idling rough and lacking power. No engine codes...YET.



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  • 33
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