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    Review: 2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe


    • 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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      The Cruze, up 22 percent, the Volt, up 56 percent, and the Trax, up 40 percent, had their best-ever January retail sales. Total sales were also January records. Spark deliveries were up 40 percent. Bolt EVs, which were available in California and Oregon during the month, had the fastest days to turn in the industry at 7 days. The Tahoe, up 8 percent, and Suburban, up 11 percent, had their best January retail sales since 2008. The Equinox was up 4 percent. The Colorado was up 9 percent for its best January retail sales since 2005. Total sales were also the highest January since 2005. Sales of the Silverado HD pickup were up 32 percent for the truck’s best January retail sales since 2008. Total HD sales were also the best since 2008. Buick Retail Sales
      Crossover deliveries were up 20 percent, driven by higher Encore sales and the first-ever Envision. Average transaction prices were up 9 percent, four times better than the industry average growth. GMC Retail Sales
      Deliveries of the Acadia were up 15 percent. Sierra deliveries were up 2 percent, for the truck’s best retail January sales since 2002. Average transaction prices were up 7 percent, more than three times better than the industry average growth. Cadillac Retail Sales
      Cadillac sales were up more than 1 percent. Crossover deliveries were up 11 percent, on the strength of the new XT5. Total Escalade deliveries were up 10 percent, driven by 7 percent increase in Escalade ESV retail sales. Average transaction prices were the highest in the brand’s history at $55,300, up about $1,000 year over year. GM Momentum Continues to Grow
      In 2016, GM was the industry’s fastest-growing full-line automaker on a retail sales basis, and Chevrolet has been the fastest-growing full-line brand for two consecutive years on a retail basis. Chevrolet grew retail market share in 2015-2016 by almost one full percentage point, which translates to more than 120,000 incremental sales.
      “Our go-to-market strategy in 2017 is the same as 2016,” McNeil said. “We are focused on strengthening our brands, growing retail sales and share, reducing daily rental deliveries and maintaining our operating discipline.”
      GM is optimistic about the year ahead because the economy is strong and the company’s four brands are dramatically expanding their product offerings in fast-growing crossover segments.
      Industry sales are expected to remain at or near record levels, with higher GM retail sales and market share on a year-over-year basis. GM’s deliveries to daily rental companies are expected to decline as a percentage of total sales for the third year in a row. GM will continue to match production with customer demand. Previously announced plans to reduce passenger car production at plants in Lordstown, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan were implemented at the end of January. GM’s operating discipline will help drive continued improvements in brand health and resale values. During January, IHS Markit said GM had the highest overall loyalty to a manufacturer for the second year in a row. Also, Kelley Blue Book gave seven Chevrolet and GMC vehicles awards for outstanding resale value, more than any other manufacturer. Ten all-new or recently redesigned crossovers are expected to drive GM’s 2017 sales results, including two new compact models, which will compete in the industry’s largest segment. Crossover Launches by Brand
      Chevrolet will have the industry’s broadest and freshest lineup of utility vehicles behind the 238-mile range Bolt EV; the 2018 Equinox, which arrives in showrooms soon; and the all-new Traverse, which arrives this summer. At Buick, crossovers are expected to account for as much as 75 percent of retail deliveries, up from 66 percent in 2016, driven by the Encore, Envision and Enclave. GMC, which has the highest average transaction prices of any non-luxury brand, will launch the all-new 2018 Terrain in late summer. It will complement the redesigned Acadia, which went on sale in late summer 2016. Cadillac will benefit from a full year of production of the new XT5 crossover, which is now the second best-selling vehicle in its segment.
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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