2017 Cadillac ATS Review
Pros & Cons
- Goes around turns with poise and confidence
- Plenty of performance enhances the car's fun-to-drive character
- Available manual transmission, which is a rarity in this class
- Cadillac User Experience (CUE) interface can be frustrating
- Small backseat and trunk
- The turbocharged four-cylinder engine is relatively noisy and and not overly fuel-efficient
Edmunds' Expert Review
With its big-hearted power delivery and eagerness to play, the 3.6-liter V6 turns the ATS into a little hot rod. It's the handling poise that really puts the cherry on the ATS sundae, though. This is an impressive all-around driver's car, with nimbless and precision in equal measure. Its quick steering has actual feel, and the brakes are responsive and inspire confidence. In this respect, Cadillac has out-BMW'd BMW. Get the summer tires and sport-tuned suspension and you'll likely find all sorts of excuses to exercise your ATS on twisting roads. Be aware, however, that the ride quality suffers noticeably with the sport suspension, particularly when driving over rough pavement.
The base 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder delivers a satisfying amount of forward thrust, though its refinement and noise level under hard acceleration leave something to be desired. Its fuel-efficiency benefit over the V6 isn't tremendous, either. And although it's nice to have the option of a manual transmission, the ATS' isn't our favorite. Shifts aren't as smooth as they could be, and the shifter doesn't feel particularly impressive in your hand.
The cabin in the 2017 Cadillac ATS is trimmed in a variety of reasonably high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents. While it's attractive enough, we've noted a few more fit and finish issues in the ATS than in similarly priced competitors.
The standard CUE infotainment interface features an attractive 8-inch touchscreen and operates similarly to a smartphone or tablet, via taps, swipes and pinches. Furthermore, what's known as haptic feedback lets you know when you've pressed a virtual button by pulsing when you touch it.
When the car is turned off, the sleek, buttonless center stack looks uncluttered and even futuristic. In practice, however, the lack of discrete buttons is frustrating because its use depends on your vision and not simply feel. Some of CUE's features, such as the slide bar for volume adjustment, turn out to be more troublesome than conventional controls. Until you get accustomed to the system, expect to glance at the center stack frequently any time you make a minor adjustment to the fan or radio settings. In this class, we prefer the BMW iDrive, Mercedes COMAND and Audi MMI systems, all of which employ a multidirectional knob-based controller.
Many drivers will find it easy to get into a comfortable driving position, and our experience shows that the firm front seats provide ample support even on long drives. Curiously, the optional sport seats don't provide much more lateral support than the standard seats, even with the addition of power-adjustable bolsters.
The compact size of the ATS is a blessing and a curse, as its backseat is smaller than those of most other entry-level luxury sport sedans. These tighter backseat confines aren't necessarily a deal-breaker, but be aware that taller adults will find headroom, shoulder room and legroom in short supply. Likewise, the trunk of the ATS is similarly lacking in space. In spite of its wide opening, it offers just 10.4 cubic feet of capacity, and the base trim does not have folding rear seatbacks.