2013 Cadillac ATS

Frist Drive

Advocate WHEELS editor

Cadillac is making a statement with its new ATS compact luxury sedan. The ATS is a lightweight, balanced RWD ride that delivers good mileage and value, along with Cadillac CUE, a whole new way of managing information and media inside the car.

CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, is Cadillac’s new connectivity system that uses touch as well as sound to “experience” sections of the vehicle’s controls. When a button on the dash is pushed, CUE uses haptic feedback to send a slight vibration to the user’s fingers. It’s like a touchscreen on steroids.

CUE is offered with our without navigation, and is designed to be intuitive for most drivers. Drivers don’t have to have a computer engineering degree to figure the system out, and can go as deep – or shallow – into the system as they want.

CUE has the capability to pair with up to 10 Bluetooth devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players, but has only four buttons to control radio and entertainment systems.

CUE also has proximity sensors to detect when the driver is reaching towards the touch screen, and displays controls on the screen even before the finger contacts the screen. After a few seconds, the buttons in the display vanish until you reach for them again. It all allows screen space to be fully utilized, rather than having the screen cluttered with buttons that aren’t being used.

The haptic feedback continues into the safety systems in the ATS. When the car senses that it is about to back into something, it vibrates the driver’s seat bottom. That kind of feedback can make you jump the first few times it happens, and it definitely gets the driver’s attention.

Three engine choices are available with the 2013 ATS. The first is a 2.5- liter 4-cylinder rated at 202 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft. of torque. The 6-cylinder choice is a 3.6-liter engine that develops 321 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque.

Our test vehicle was powered by an Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that kicks out 272 horsepower. It sends 260 lb.-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The turbo 4 is estimated to get 21 miles per gallon in the city and up to 31 mpg on the highway. An available AWD model gets one mile less. The 16-gallon tank provides a highway range of up to 496 miles.

The 2.5-liter engine gets 22 city miles and 33 highway miles per gallon, and the V6 gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the road.

The exterior design of the ATS is unmistakably Cadillac, with vertical headlights and the signature shield prominently displayed on the grille. The ATS has a curb weight of just 3,373 pounds, which also helps improve gas mileage.

The ATS has a full complement of airbags and driver assistance, resulting in a five-star rating safety rating from the government in frontal crashes. It is not yet rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Our 2013 ATS 2.0T Premium Collection test vehicle had a base price of $44,895. With $3,820 in options including a driver assistance package and a cold weather package, the car’s sticker price was $49,610, including $895 in freight.

Cadillac has been reinvigorated as a luxury brand and is pushing the envelope with its new sophisticated technology. Built in Lansing, Mich., the ATS is totally worthy of a test drive in the compact luxury sedan segment.

2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0

Premium Collection

Engine:

2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder

Horsepower:

272

Transmission:

6-speed automatic

Test model base price:

$44,895 ($49,610 as tested)

EPA mileage rating:

21 mpg city / 31 mpg hwy