2013 Cadillac ATS: Shifters Are Good, Could Be Better
May 23, 2013
The paddle shifters in the Cadillac ATS are beautifully finished and stand in sharp contrast to the chintzy plastic things that reside in other luxury cars. However, I still wish there was more effort in their action to make you feel that pulling them actually engaged some sort of mechanism as opposed to just pressing a tiny electronic button beyond.
Alternately, I could settle for a longer travel instead to at least make you feel like you're doing something. In a perfect world they'd be mounted in place to the column instead of turning with the wheel, but that can be a preference and packaging issue.
As it stands, manually shifting an automatic transmission in most cars is a rather antiseptic, unrewarding experience that feels like you're just pretending to drive. I use them when needed if driving aggressively or when the transmission's programming is annoying in some way (the ATS is not), but otherwise using them rarely brings the involvement and enjoyment of a regular manual. The Cadillac is better than others, but I still find myself leaving it in Drive.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 8,430 miles