2013 Cadillac ATS: Paradigm Shift
August 20, 2013
Somewhere along the lonely road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas this 2013 Cadillac ATS began to make sense to me. After another few hundred miles driving this mid-sized sports sedan I began wondering what I would have to pay for a used one. What changed?
In my job as consumer advice editor, I often advise people on what car to buy. It's an interesting psychological experiment and the method for reaching an answer is different for all people. As I considered my mind shift on the Cadillac, I felt it was time for me to lie on the psychiatrist's couch. Here are a few quick answers.
Size. Often, I tell people that finding the right car is like trying on clothes. You have to feel comfortable in it. The ATS was a good size for me, and it landed in a comfortable socio-economic level for me too, particularly as a used car. One thing I really like is that it doesn't have the L.A. stigma of the BMW. Instead, Cadillac is almost an underdog trying to reinvent itself. I like that.
Features. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I like many of the safety and tech features such as the heads up display (HUD), adaptive cruise control and cross traffic alert. I also like the graphics on the center console and the way it senses your hand is approaching and changes the display without actually touching the screen. The gauge cluster is busy and it's an information overload. But once you learn how to navigate it the design concept emerges.
Performance. The suspension is too stiff and the turbocharged 272-horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-4 engine is wheezy at high revs. But, come on, for daily driving, I'll trade a drop off in performance for 24 mpg combined and I almost got 30 mpg on the highway. Not only that, but premium fuel is recommended, not required. Guess which grade I'd buy.
Looks. As I mentioned, I actually started to like the looks of this Caddy, especially in black. Of course, it's a dust magnet inside and out. But I don't mind wiping it down now and then to keep it looking sharp in between trips to the car wash.
Sure, there is a similar list of things I don't like about the Cadillac. But when all's said and done, I like the quirkiness of this domestic sport sedan. Quirkiness and character are in short supply in today's automotive market.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 13,022 miles