2013 Cadillac ATS: Nevada City Road Trip, Part 3
July 18, 2013
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.
It may seem strange, but I enjoyed my visit here. Unique, handcrafted gravestones were everywhere and I spent a few minutes reading their interesting inscriptions from over 150 years ago and paying my respects to Nevada City's earliest residents.
After a few minutes checking out the various headstones (and competing with my brother Tyler to find the oldest person in the cemetery -- sibling rivalry never dies), we got on the road. If you're traveling from Nevada City to Los Angeles along Interstates 80 and 5, you'll find some long, flat and generally boring stretches of road, but we made the best of it. After being stuck in a long line of traffic where speeds averaged in the high 40s for several miles, we discovered the culprit at the helm.
One of the benefits of cross-country travel is a posted minimum speed limit on highways like Interstate 40. Apparently, this driver took advantage of the fact that California doesn't post such restrictions.
Another interesting highway traveler, who decided he didn't need to arrive at with 100 percent of his cargo, also caused a bit of a slow-down.
Also, since the Caddy has multiple USB ports, my brother and I decided to charge our iPhones simultaneously. Cadillac's CUE system didn't like this one bit.
There was no distinguishable way to choose between the devices, and once we did get the desired device playing through a series of stabs at random buttons, it was nearly impossible to control. Shuffling songs didn't work with both iPhones plugged in and neither did playing an entire album at once. To confuse things further, the current selection didn't show up on the touchscreen display which was characteristically unresponsive. The saving grace along the monotonous stretches was the fantastic Bose stereo. It gives you a shot of adrenaline in the arm when you've got 350 highway miles in front of you.
Other notable events of the day included another "Excessive Heat Warning" from the ATS and a stop for jerky and fudge along California's farm belt. In the end, I put a total of 1,022 miles on the Cadillac ATS. It averaged 25.5 miles per gallon over this period, which is better than its combined EPA rating (24 mpg). It also clocked its best range, going 432 miles between fill-ups and getting an impressive 27mpg.
After nearly a week in the ATS, I realized how remarkably cozy it is. After the initial settling-in period, I couldn't remember having to adjust for comfort or improved driving position once. This was especially impressive to me considering my tendency for chronic back pain. Along with the soothing interior, I liked the car's extremely responsive steering and its secure, planted feel on twisty back roads.
There isn't a car in our fleet I'd rather live with on a daily basis. Sure, others might be cooler to drive on a Sunday or have a bit more power, but this is the best all-rounder we've got.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 10,567 miles