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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe

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      The ATS Gets A Bit Sharper


    The past few years, Cadillac has been on a quest to show they can compete with the Germans. Whether it was introducing new and improved models such as the ATS and CTS, commercials that show one of their vehicles on the ‘green hell', or bringing in people from German automakers to lend their expertise. With all of these changes, how is this working out for the brand? I spent a week in a 2015 ATS4 2.0T Coupe to find out.

     

    The ATS Coupe is mostly a carbon copy of the larger, last-generation CTS coupe. The difference is the overall ATS coupe design isn’t quite as sharp as the CTS, a good thing in my book. The ATS coupe follows the basic guidelines for a coupe design; a long front end, lower roofline, and a very short rear end. Little design items such as the vertical headlights and exhaust tips mounted in the middle make the coupe quite the standout. One quibble I have with the ATS Coupe is the new emblem. Cadillac says this is to help bring in younger buyers, but I think it might backfire. I just think there is something missing on it, like a wreath.

     


    2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe Premium 10


    Moving inside the ATS Coupe, it feels quite snug thanks to the lowered roofline and high beltline. But once you get settled in, it becomes quite comfortable. My tester came with brown leather and piano black trim which I believe adds a nice touch of class. The front seats provided adequate comfort and were able to hold me in place during exuberant driving. There are a number of power adjustments that anyone can find a comfortable position, along with heat to keep you and a passenger warm. The back seat is best left for show as there isn’t enough room for anyone to feel comfortable sitting back here.

     

    Infotainment duties are taken care of by Cadillac’s CUE system. Now this system has been maligned for a number of reasons ranging from slowness of the system to crashes. I want to say this system has seen some improvements since the last time I used it, but unfortunately I cannot. The capacitive touch buttons still take a few tries to recognize that they have been touched; performance of the system is still quite sluggish; and I had no maps appear on the navigation system for a few minutes. I’m beginning to wonder if it would be in the best interest for GM to scrap CUE and start over with a new system.

     

    Engine, Ride, and Specs on the next page


     

    Unlike the ATS sedan, the Coupe is only available with two powertrains. The base is the 2.0L turbocharged four, while the 3.6L DI V6 is an option. My tester came with the 2.0T which produces 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired to a six-speed manual or my tester’s six-speed automatic. The 2.0T fixes one of the biggest problems I had with the ATS sedan I drove almost three years ago. In my review, I said the 3.6 had to be worked to reach all of the power it was capable of. Not so with the 2.0T. With torque arriving between 3000 - 4600 rpm, the 2.0T makes the ATS go like a rocket. Power comes on immediately and quite smoothly. It can almost fool someone into thinking you’re driving a six-cylinder, not a four. The six-speed automatic is smart in its shifts and is quite smooth. Rear-wheel drive comes as standard, but I had the optional all-wheel drive system. This system came in handy during a brief snow fall where the ATS was able to get going through the snow with no problem. Fuel economy for the ATS4 2.0T is rated at 20 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. I got 20.3 MPG during my week.

     


    2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe Premium 7


    The ATS has been praised for the way it drives around corners - providing something akin to an automobile from Germany. This holds true for the coupe. Equipped with a sports suspension (but not with Magnetic Ride Control, that’s only available on the rear-drive model), the ATS Coupe showed excellent poise. There was no hint of body roll and it felt flat when going through corners. Steering was quick to respond, but I was wishing for a little bit more weight. Maybe Cadillac could do something with adjustable steering with the different drive modes that are available on the ATS. Now the flipside of the sports suspension is a jarring everyday ride. Even with the vehicle set in the tour mode, bumps and potholes are transmitted quite clearly. Now I expect the ride to be a bit worse if you keep the standard 19-inch wheels with the paper thin tire sidewall, but I was lucky to have the optional 18-inch wheels which gained a tiny bit more sidewall and made the ride a little bit more bearable. Road noise is noticeable, but wind noise is kept to a decent level.

     

    The ATS Coupe shows all the hard work that Cadillac has been putting in. From the distinctive looks to a punchy turbo-four, the ATS brings a bit of freshness to the luxury coupe class. If you are one of those people who cares about the way a coupe performs, then give the Cadillac ATS a hard look. If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans. Never thought I would say that.

     

    Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS4 Coupe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     


    Year: 2015
    Make: Cadillac
    Model: ATS4
    Trim: Premium 2.0T
    Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DI VVT Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 5500
    Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 3000 - 4600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/28/23
    Curb Weight: 3,418 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
    Base Price: $48,205
    As Tested Price: $51,345 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Kona Brown with Jet Black Accents - $1,295.00
    18-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels - $850.00

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    I've spent small bit of time in one of these with the bordello red interior.....  If only my automotive needs were different, I would own one.

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    Oh, the last line, "If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans" made me laugh aloud, being of German heritage.   So the question that arises from my mind is, just how well can this Caddy keep up on the autobahn? 

     

    What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

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    Oh, the last line, "If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans" made me laugh aloud, being of German heritage.   So the question that arises from my mind is, just how well can this Caddy keep up on the autobahn? 

     

    What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

     

    It can keep up just fine. It has more power than a similarly priced 4-series or A4.

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    What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

     

    I thought the same thing, but visibility out front is decent. I wished the side and rear visibility was better, along with blind spot monitoring which is apparently an option and not ticked on my tester.

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    I really am in love with the ATS in either form but no way I can buy one considering the back seat lack of room.  With a fam, I gotta have more space.

     

    I hope Caddy gives this car a new interior.

     

    This is a coupe I would consider otherwise, to eschew a sedan.

     

    My notion is always reinforced of how nice a step up the new CTS is for only a bit more money while big discounts on 14's are available.  It's still light and not huge, but at least takes care of the back seat issue.

     

    I'll get bludgeoned for saying this, but on the sedan, still having the 2.5 available due to mpg it gets vs the turbos, is still a good thing IMO.  Even if its sales are not much the mpg of the turbo 4 and v6 are not fabulous.  To have one ATS in the stable that can get bigger mpg in case gas tops 4 bucks again soon is nice to have in the back pocket.

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    I am not a fan of high belt lines, and a lot of cars do it, some are really bad like a Chrysler 300.  I like having a more open feeling and being able to see out of the car, something that older cars seem to be better at compared to new ones because of safety regs.

     

    They should probably scrap CUE and just buy something from Apple or Android.

     

    I miss the wreath, the old logo looked better.  But if they want younger buyers to buy the ATS, they should put 4 rings on the grille.

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    I wouldn't mind having a coupe again...I'm so used to 4drs, though..they are so much easier to get in and out of (shorter doors) and easier to put stuff in the back seat..

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    But if they want younger buyers to buy the ATS, they should put 4 rings on the grille.

    You've got that backwards!

     

    Feb A4 sales : 1743 (down 21%)

    Feb ATS sales : 2028

     

    Audi needs a Crest on it's grille!  :neenerneener:

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    http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/long-wheelbase-cadillac-ats-l-launch-august

     

    ATS-L1.jpg?itok=ninu3M_Y

     

     

    If i were Cadillac, and the ATS will be dead someday, I would try to make the most of it the next 3-4 years or whatever.  I would make the ATS-l the ATS sedan here, replace the interior and fix CUE.  And then bring in some powertrains prior to the next car coming in to test them out.  I would also work to give the best value in the ATS range as far as packages and equipment for the money.  Bring a lot of value to the entry offering and get new owners in the fold set up for the next wave 4-6 years down the road.  No wasting any time,  just get it done now.  Switching to the long WB platform might even allow you to use the CT3 name.

     

    ATS-L2.jpg?itok=GtlmVBDq

     

    http://blogs.youwheel.com/2014/08/01/side-profile-comparison-the-2015-cadillac-ats-vs-ats-l/

     

     

    2015_Cadillac_ATS-L_1.jpg

     

     

    2015_Cadillac_ATS-L_2.jpg

     

     

     

    if the CTS all wheel drive is the CTS4.....what is the CT6 AWD?  CT6-4?

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    Why not just buy a CTS, or another brand?

     

    Once again- ATS has the same total legroom as the NEVER complained about audi A4. It has 9" more total legroom than the exact same overall length MBCLA.

    There is NO need for an ATS-L because there is the CTS, and AFAIK, there is no other sedan in this segment with an 'L' version on the US market AND the ATS is wholly competitive in legroom in this size segment. An 'L' version sets up a 'tweener' scenario because the CTS's wheelbase is only a mere 5" longer. Overlap & confusion. Pointless, also.

     

    It's also not going anywhere in 3-4 years; you missed the idea that the NAME is slated to change. Still outselling the A4 to boot.

     

    Interior is one of the nicest in its segment, certainly no glaring deficiencies. CUE I have not experienced so cannot address.

    A small diesel would be a nice addition, tho I note the A4 has only ONE engine avail. and the same price class (non-AMG) CLA has all of ONE engine avail, whereas the (non-V) ATS offers THREE.

     

    These non-issues pointedly point to one underlying factor; this is not the car for YOU.

     

    - - - - -

    On another point, there seriously needs to be a de-coupling of the 'AWD' designator from models names. There's already more than enough alpha-numerics going on in general that adding a '4' or 'X' to it all only makes the 'system' that much easier to hate. Decouple.

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    I do have to laugh when people complain about rear seat space in a compact sports sedan; these aren't family sedans. They are for singles and dinks. If you need to lug around a family, get a minivan or CUV.

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    It's not so much the specs of rear seat legroom but how this platform handles the floor pan back there. If you look in the back seat of the ATS the floor pan juts out into where your feet would go effectively reducing what little space is available. Just because this car is compact does not give it a free pass for no space back there. The touch capacative crap needs to go along with Cue, the turbo and 3.6 should be getting better MPG numbers than they do and the price of this car is just too high. It would be a cold day in hell before I shelled out 51 large for a small cramped coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that drinks gas like a V6 even with the 4 wheel drive!

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

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    It's not so much the specs of rear seat legroom but how this platform handles the floor pan back there. If you look in the back seat of the ATS the floor pan juts out into where your feet would go effectively reducing what little space is available. Just because this car is compact does not give it a free pass for no space back there. The touch capacative crap needs to go along with Cue, the turbo and 3.6 should be getting better MPG numbers than they do and the price of this car is just too high. It would be a cold day in hell before I shelled out 51 large for a small cramped coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that drinks gas like a V6 even with the 4 wheel drive!

     

    But the you would if it had 4 rings or a 3-pointed star?  That's the point Balth is making here.  Why are there complaints about Price per Interior Space on the ATS when the smaller competition doesn't get the same complaint.

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

     

    Some specs you missed:

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

     

    Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

     

    This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

     

    Some specs you missed:

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

     

    Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

     

    This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

     

     

    Except, in the real world, none of that really holds up.

     

    As premium is recommended for full power with Cadillac's 2.0t, those numbers are achieved using premium. The Audi's engine is well documented as being under-rated, and it shows. What looks like a massive difference in horsepower simply doesn't materialize in reality. Performance data shows the the A4 and ATS as having nearly identical acceleration times, both generally around 5.8 seconds. It's the same thing with the 328i, which also looks to be at a disadvantage on paper, yet is the quickest of the bunch by far. Edmunds even dyno'd the ATS and 328i back to back, finding the the BMW had an ever so slight advantage in power. It also happens to achieve the best fuel economy, also on premium. There is a slight cost savings using regular in the Cadillac, but it's not that big a difference, especially after factoring in real driver's actual MPG (to be honest, there's very little data on fueleconomy'gov's website, but owner's forums seem to back up that data after a quick search). 

     

    So yes, on paper, the Cadillac looks like a winner. In reality, they're all about the same. Not such a bad thing, and honestly, the Germans set themselves up for it by under-rated everything. 

    Edited by blackviper8891
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    The ATS and the CTS out BMW what BMW's used to do...now that BMW's are big and soft, and heavy. It's baffling to hear all magazine critics proclaim this proudly and gush over the ATS/CTS year after year, yet it doesn't translate into sales.

     

    Why? Many reasons, but terrible marketing so no one has recognition of what an ATS or CTS are is a huge reason. Show them beating a BMW...show those quotes saying it...make the car sound incredible on a sound clip...something that makes you go "whoa, what is that?"

     

    Car people can appreciate how high performance this platform and the cars off it are. But the buying public needs to know that too, so they want to buy them.

     

    The ATS is not exactly the most comfortable car, but is a performer top to bottom.

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    BMW may have lost some touch due to the electric steering and bigger vehicles, but they BMW buyers keep coming back.  I seem to remember a Car and Driver comparison and they said the ATS had the best chassis and best handling but the 0-60 time and fuel economy were worse than the BMW, and C/D didn't like the 6-speed automatic transmission or the CUE system.  The ATS doesn't do enough other things well to topple the Germans.

     

    Advertising and marketing are a problem, but so is image.  Cadillac still has a lousy image with a lot of buyers.  They could make the ATS out handle the Z06, it still won't help it get sales, the rest of the car needs to exceed what the Germans are doing to get people to look at it.

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    BMW may have lost some touch due to the electric steering and bigger vehicles, but they BMW buyers keep coming back.  I seem to remember a Car and Driver comparison and they said the ATS had the best chassis and best handling but the 0-60 time and fuel economy were worse than the BMW, and C/D didn't like the 6-speed automatic transmission or the CUE system.  The ATS doesn't do enough other things well to topple the Germans.

     

    Advertising and marketing are a problem, but so is image.  Cadillac still has a lousy image with a lot of buyers.  They could make the ATS out handle the Z06, it still won't help it get sales, the rest of the car needs to exceed what the Germans are doing to get people to look at it.

    99% of the ATS out does both MB and BMW. Just too many Badge snobs with their heads buried in the sand like an Ostrich and poor marketing / advertising to get people to check out the superior product.

     

    Cadillac would do well to have MB and BMW identically equipped auto's on hand to allow real comparison to their ATS and CTS and this is where you will see the separation of the Curds from the Whey!

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    "cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

    FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

     

    RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

    A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

     

    Some specs you missed:

     

    ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

    A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

     

    Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

     

    This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

     

     

    Except, in the real world, none of that really holds up.

     

    As premium is recommended for full power with Cadillac's 2.0t, those numbers are achieved using premium. The Audi's engine is well documented as being under-rated, and it shows. What looks like a massive difference in horsepower simply doesn't materialize in reality. Performance data shows the the A4 and ATS as having nearly identical acceleration times, both generally around 5.8 seconds. It's the same thing with the 328i, which also looks to be at a disadvantage on paper, yet is the quickest of the bunch by far. Edmunds even dyno'd the ATS and 328i back to back, finding the the BMW had an ever so slight advantage in power. It also happens to achieve the best fuel economy, also on premium. There is a slight cost savings using regular in the Cadillac, but it's not that big a difference, especially after factoring in real driver's actual MPG (to be honest, there's very little data on fueleconomy'gov's website, but owner's forums seem to back up that data after a quick search). 

     

    So yes, on paper, the Cadillac looks like a winner. In reality, they're all about the same. Not such a bad thing, and honestly, the Germans set themselves up for it by under-rated everything. 

     

     

    But again, the point we're talking about here is that even when specs are identical, people complain about the Cadillac spec but not the equal spec from the Germans. 

     

    I do wonder what the ATS performance will be once it gets the new 8-speed in August. 

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    Maybe the Wreath and Crest, errr Crest just can't pull buyers in regardless of what the specs are.  Because the Lexus IS outsells the ATS pretty easily, (4488 to 1500 in March) and that is a sedan only car with gas only engines.  The Lexus doesn't really beat anything in the class in fuel economy or power or acceleration or handling.

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      If there is a brand that Mazda is looking to emulate here by being premium without the premium badge, it would likely be BMW.  The ride is firm, but not so harsh as to spill your latte. Steering is on the heavy side with precise control and great on-center feel.  Body roll is minimal. Pushing the CX-5 into corners is fun and the standard G-Vectoring Control Plus makes sure you stay planted where you intended to be.  The i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive mostly runs in front-wheel-drive mode until microscopic amounts of wheel slip are detected and then some torque is instantly transferred to the rear wheels.  Mazda programs the AWD system to always have at least a little bit of torque going to the rear in order for the transfer of torque to happen faster. 
      It’s what’s inside that matter most
      Inside the CX-5, the premium story continues. There is a distinct lack of cheap plastic even in places where they could probably get away with it. The dash and door panels are made of soft-touch material and there is a tasteful amount of chrome trim. Though the seats look black in pictures, they are actually a very dark brown that Mazda calls Caturra Brown Nappa leather. This leather is a feature of the Signature trim level and they are both heated and ventilated.  Rear passengers get heated outboard seats as well, controlled from inside the fold-down center armrest. Also, a feature of the Signature trim is the real wood dash inlay and ambient cabin lighting. The seats in the CX-5 are very comfortable with just the right combination of support and cushion. They would be most welcome companions on a long road trip. The rear seats are fairly flat and do not offer a lot of legroom.  There is no adjustment fore and aft.  Wind and tire noise has been kept to a minimum.
      There are 4 USB ports, two in the up front armrest and two in the rear armrest. Only one of them allows a connection to the infotainment system.  Oddly, the USB ports don’t seem to put out much juice as my phones were very slow to charge from them.
      The infotainment system is another area similar to BMW.  The unit is controlled by a large dial in the center console or touch screen controls. I found the touch aspect to be laggy and a long reach, so I found myself using the dial. Using the dial to navigate is simple enough, but the menus and layout of the screen could probably use a re-think.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both here, for some reason only Apple CarPlay can be activated by touch. Operating either system is frustrating with the dial however, this is especially true for Android Auto which I found frustrating to use without touch screen functionality. At least, unlike BMW, Mazda doesn’t charge you an extra subscription fee to use them. Sound from the Bose speakers was clear, but not especially great.
      There was a time when people mostly bought crossovers for the utility of hauling lots of bulky stuff home from the store, however, these days are different. Now, crossovers are a fashion statement.  Still, the CX-5 has 59.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded and 30.9 cubic feet with the seats up.  That is at the high end of mid-pack in the segment with the Honda CR-V being the leader, while the Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Equinox, and Ford Escape all have less. 
      Do you need a safe space? This may be it.
      The Mazda CX-5 Signature comes with a whole host of safety equipment and the center of it all is the heads-up display that keeps the driver informed.  Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-Keep Assist, and Radar Cruise Control, all have status lights in the heads-up display.  I found the blind spot monitoring system to be especially helpful when I was backing out onto a busy street with limited visibility.  Radar Cruise control is one of my favorite systems of all and I feel it should be standard equipment on all cars. The CX-5 can even read speed limit and stop signs as you approach, changing and updating the local regulations in the heads up display.
      The Signature also comes with active headlights that turn when you turn to help see around corners. They helped me spot a deer on the side of the road I normally would not have seen.
      The Verdict
      The CX-5 Signature is the top of the CX-5 line, so naturally, the price is reflected in that. With an MSRP of $36,890 before any options, the CX-5 may seem pricey, but it comes with everything you could possibly want.  However, when you compare it to other small crossovers with similar equipment it actually ends up comparing favorably to others in its class. I priced out Jeep Cherokee Overland with the 2.0T and technology group and the MSRP is $41,685. A GMC Terrain Denali with all the same option boxes checked? $41,430.  A Honda CR-V can’t even be equipped like the CX-5 because there is no up-level engine option, yet it still rings up to $38,147.
      Overall, Mazda has produced a handsome, sporty, fun to drive crossover with enough utility to remain competitive. They’ve loaded it with safety equipment and kept the price in check. It is definitely worth a look.
       

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature
      Mazda is on a mission lately to make their products feel more premium. They have been tuning their vehicles to be quieter and more refined in order to give them an air that they are above their class. This second generation of the Mazda CX-5 debuted for the 2017 model year with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft of torque.  For 2019, Mazda added the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine from the CX-9. On regular gas, the engine produces 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque, but if you fill it up with 93 octane, the horsepower figure bumps up to 250.  Available only on the Grand Touring and Signature trims, the 2.5-T makes the CX-5 the compact crossover with the most available torque.  Mazda sent a CX-5 Signature for me to try for a week to see what I thought.
      There’s no replacement for displacement… maybe
      The biggest CX-5 news for 2019 is the engine options. There is the 2.5-T mentioned above and a 2.2-liter turbo diesel. Both are exciting entries into a relatively conservative segment.  The 2.5-T is the second-largest displacement engine available in the segment, behind the 3.2 liter V6 in the Jeep Cherokee.  This 4-cylinder puts out quite a bit more torque than the bigger V6, though the Jeep produces more horsepower (271 @ 6,500 rpm). Even among 4-cylinders, this is the largest displacement you can get, but none of those others offering 2.5 liters also offers a turbocharger. This engine is rated by the EPA to get 22 city / 27 highway.  I got about 24 mpg in mostly city driving. Zero to 60 is a claimed 6.2 seconds.
      Under normal driving, the engine is quiet and composed, with torque coming on quickly when called for. When the pedal is mashed at speed, the CX-5 leaps forward with minimal turbo lag and gives off a strong growl from under the hood. The only time you can really feel any lag in the turbo is if you are starting from a dead stop. Overall, you never feel without power at the tip of your toes and the sounds, and lack of sounds, from the engine room is quiet and refined.
      One area the CX-5 falls behind on is in the transmission department. Although the transmission offers smooth shift and is willing to downshift when called upon, a 6-speed automatic almost feels anachronistic in a time when all of its direct competition is sporting 8 or 9 speeds. I never thought there would come a day when 6-forward gears aren’t enough, but here we are. Adding 2 or 3 more gears to the CX-5 would further liven up the already sporty crossover and help keep the turbocharged engine firmly in the good places of its torque band.
      Ride: Al dente – Firm but tender
      If there is a brand that Mazda is looking to emulate here by being premium without the premium badge, it would likely be BMW.  The ride is firm, but not so harsh as to spill your latte. Steering is on the heavy side with precise control and great on-center feel.  Body roll is minimal. Pushing the CX-5 into corners is fun and the standard G-Vectoring Control Plus makes sure you stay planted where you intended to be.  The i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive mostly runs in front-wheel-drive mode until microscopic amounts of wheel slip are detected and then some torque is instantly transferred to the rear wheels.  Mazda programs the AWD system to always have at least a little bit of torque going to the rear in order for the transfer of torque to happen faster. 
      It’s what’s inside that matter most
      Inside the CX-5, the premium story continues. There is a distinct lack of cheap plastic even in places where they could probably get away with it. The dash and door panels are made of soft-touch material and there is a tasteful amount of chrome trim. Though the seats look black in pictures, they are actually a very dark brown that Mazda calls Caturra Brown Nappa leather. This leather is a feature of the Signature trim level and they are both heated and ventilated.  Rear passengers get heated outboard seats as well, controlled from inside the fold-down center armrest. Also, a feature of the Signature trim is the real wood dash inlay and ambient cabin lighting. The seats in the CX-5 are very comfortable with just the right combination of support and cushion. They would be most welcome companions on a long road trip. The rear seats are fairly flat and do not offer a lot of legroom.  There is no adjustment fore and aft.  Wind and tire noise has been kept to a minimum.
      There are 4 USB ports, two in the up front armrest and two in the rear armrest. Only one of them allows a connection to the infotainment system.  Oddly, the USB ports don’t seem to put out much juice as my phones were very slow to charge from them.
      The infotainment system is another area similar to BMW.  The unit is controlled by a large dial in the center console or touch screen controls. I found the touch aspect to be laggy and a long reach, so I found myself using the dial. Using the dial to navigate is simple enough, but the menus and layout of the screen could probably use a re-think.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both here, for some reason only Apple CarPlay can be activated by touch. Operating either system is frustrating with the dial however, this is especially true for Android Auto which I found frustrating to use without touch screen functionality. At least, unlike BMW, Mazda doesn’t charge you an extra subscription fee to use them. Sound from the Bose speakers was clear, but not especially great.
      There was a time when people mostly bought crossovers for the utility of hauling lots of bulky stuff home from the store, however, these days are different. Now, crossovers are a fashion statement.  Still, the CX-5 has 59.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded and 30.9 cubic feet with the seats up.  That is at the high end of mid-pack in the segment with the Honda CR-V being the leader, while the Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Equinox, and Ford Escape all have less. 
      Do you need a safe space? This may be it.
      The Mazda CX-5 Signature comes with a whole host of safety equipment and the center of it all is the heads-up display that keeps the driver informed.  Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-Keep Assist, and Radar Cruise Control, all have status lights in the heads-up display.  I found the blind spot monitoring system to be especially helpful when I was backing out onto a busy street with limited visibility.  Radar Cruise control is one of my favorite systems of all and I feel it should be standard equipment on all cars. The CX-5 can even read speed limit and stop signs as you approach, changing and updating the local regulations in the heads up display.
      The Signature also comes with active headlights that turn when you turn to help see around corners. They helped me spot a deer on the side of the road I normally would not have seen.
      The Verdict
      The CX-5 Signature is the top of the CX-5 line, so naturally, the price is reflected in that. With an MSRP of $36,890 before any options, the CX-5 may seem pricey, but it comes with everything you could possibly want.  However, when you compare it to other small crossovers with similar equipment it actually ends up comparing favorably to others in its class. I priced out Jeep Cherokee Overland with the 2.0T and technology group and the MSRP is $41,685. A GMC Terrain Denali with all the same option boxes checked? $41,430.  A Honda CR-V can’t even be equipped like the CX-5 because there is no up-level engine option, yet it still rings up to $38,147.
      Overall, Mazda has produced a handsome, sporty, fun to drive crossover with enough utility to remain competitive. They’ve loaded it with safety equipment and kept the price in check. It is definitely worth a look.
       
    • By Drew Dowdell
      In this week for a review is a 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature with the turbocharged 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine.  This engine is shared with the Mazda CX-9 and Mazda 6 Turbo and produces 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque on regular gasoline, but bumps up to 250 horsepower on 93 octane. All-wheel drive is standard.
      This is the most loaded of the CX-5 trims with only the paint ($300) and rear bumper guard ($125) as additional charges.  That brings the MSRP to $38,360 after destination charges. 
      What do you want to know about this Mazda while I have it for a week?  Let me know in the comments below. 



      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      In this week for a review is a 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature with the turbocharged 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine.  This engine is shared with the Mazda CX-9 and Mazda 6 Turbo and produces 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque on regular gasoline, but bumps up to 250 horsepower on 93 octane. All-wheel drive is standard.
      This is the most loaded of the CX-5 trims with only the paint ($300) and rear bumper guard ($125) as additional charges.  That brings the MSRP to $38,360 after destination charges. 
      What do you want to know about this Mazda while I have it for a week?  Let me know in the comments below. 


    • By William Maley
      Automakers want to be first into a new segment for various reasons. They can become the icon for the class and grab a fair chunk of sales as competitors rush to get their models in. There is a significant downside to being first as it allows some of the competition to study and figure out where to improve on. This brings us to the 2019 Volvo XC40 which is the focus of today’s review. It was one of the late arrivals to the subcompact luxury crossover class, but it allowed the automaker to study and figure what it could improve on. How does it stack up?
      The XC40 shares various design traits with the XC60 and XC90 crossovers. They include a familiar boxy profile, wide rectangular grille, and LED headlights with the signature “Thor’s Hammer” element. But Volvo allowed their designers to play around to give it a distinct identity. Take for example the side profile with its beltline that sharply rakes along the rear door and meets the rear pillar. There is also the option of a two-tone color palette that gives the XC40 a youthful look.
      Inside, the XC40 follows the ideals as seen in other Volvos with a minimalist look. But again, Volvo gave free roam to their designers to make it slightly different. While my test vehicle didn’t come with the bright ‘Lava Orange’ carpet, there is patterned metal trim where you would expect to find wood and felt-like material covering parts of the door panels. There is a fair amount of hard plastics used, but Volvo made the smart decision of keeping them in places where they make sense such as panels covering the center console.
      My R-Design tester came with leather upholstery for the seats, along with power adjustments for those sitting in the front. The front seats are the best place to sit in as they offer plenty of support and comfort for any drive length. In the back, there plenty of head and legroom for most passengers. But the XC40 falters on the seats as the bottom cushions come up a bit short and the seat-back doesn’t have any form of recline.
      Volvo’s technology story in the XC40 is mixed. The reconfigurable 12.3-inch display for the instrument cluster is a delight to look at with vibrant graphics and different layouts to present key information. Move over to the center stack to find a nine-inch touchscreen with Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system. Many of the controls for audio, climate control, and systems are controlled through the screen, with a row of buttons sitting underneath for volume and a few other functions. This decision does make for a cleaner dash but also makes accomplishing simple tasks very irritating. To change the fan speed or audio input, you have to go through various screens to find that one menu or slider. Adding more physical buttons would clutter up the dash, but would massively improve overall usability.
      What engine comes under the hood of the XC40 ultimately depends on the driven wheels. Go for front-wheel drive and you’ll end up with the T4 - turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 187 horsepower. Opt for all-wheel drive like in my tester and you’ll get the T5 - the same 2.0L four, but with 248 horsepower. Both come paired with an eight-speed automatic.
      The T5 is the workhorse of Volvo’s lineup by boasting decent performance and fuel economy for most of their models. In the XC40, the T5 becomes a surprising performer with excellent off the line performance and a seemingly endless flow of power when needed for passing. Some credit is due to the 258 pound-feet of torque which is available on the low end of the rpm band. The eight-speed automatic provided timely and smooth shifts.
      Fuel economy is rated at 23 City/31 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed around 24 mpg.
      Opting for the R-Design does change up the chassis setup with an emphasis on sporty driving. This is apparent in the bends as the XC40 feels confident with minimal body roll and quick reflexes. Steering is responsive, but there will be some who wished there was a little bit more weight dialed in. The downside to the R-Design’s chassis is the ride feeling slightly rough, not helped by the optional 20-inch alloy wheels fitted to my tester.
      Despite being somewhat late to the party, the Volvo XC40 stands out from the subcompact luxury crossover crowd. The styling inside and out put the model into its own space that competitors dream about, along with offering a strong performer in the form of the T5 engine. Where the XC40 stands out is the Care By Volvo subscription service. Starting at $700 a month for 24 months, this service gives you the vehicle, complimentary maintenance, insurance, and the ability to upgrade your vehicle to another one after 12 months. No one has been able to match what Volvo is offering.
      The XC40 shows that if you bring something compelling to the party, it doesn’t matter how late you are.
      Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the XC40, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Volvo
      Model: XC40
      Trim: T5 R-Design
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 248 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/31/26
      Curb Weight: 3,713 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ghent, Belgium
      Base Price: $35,700
      As Tested Price: $46,385 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      R-Design Features - $2,500.00
      Laminated Panoramic Sunroof - $1,200.00
      Vision Package - $1,100.00
      Advanced Package - $995.00
      Premium Package - $900.00
      20" 5-Double Spoke Matte Black Alloy Wheels - $800.00
      Harman Kardon Audio System - $800.00
      Heated Front Seats & Steering Wheel - $750.00
      Metallic Paint - $645.00

      View full article
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