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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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    • By William Maley
      When I last reviewed the Acura MDX back in 2014, I mentioned that it and the RDX crossover made up a majority of the brand’s sales. That’s still true in 2017 as both models currently make up 63.8 percent of Acura’s sales through the end of March. In closing my review, I said Acura focused on fixing the issues that hurt the MDX before and left other things well alone, creating a balanced luxury crossover. But does that still hold up in a field that has become very competitive in the past couple of years? It seemed a revisit was in order.
      Acura did a significant refresh for the 2017 MDX with the biggest change being the design. Up front, Acura has swapped the shield grille for a larger pentagonal grille from the 2016 Precision Concept. While the shield was considered by many to a bit polarizing and a turn-off, I find the new grille to be a bit cartoonish. It doesn’t really work with the rest of the MDX’s design. At least certain traits such as the ‘Jewel Eye’ headlights and sloping roofline are still here and still work. The interior hasn’t changed much since our last test and that’s both a good and bad thing. The good is the MDX’s material quality is towards the top of the class with a fair amount of leather and wood trim used throughout. Although considering the price tag of just over $59,000, it would have been nice if Acura added some more luxury touches. Those sitting up front or in the second-row will find plenty of room and a set of supportive seats. The MDX is one of the few models in the class that offers a third-row as standard, but it is best reserved for small kids or being folded into the floor to increase cargo space. The bad mostly deals with the AcuraLink infotainment system. This dual screen setup brings more headaches than any other system I have used. A perfect example is when you want to switch from music to a podcast on your USB device. You need to use the top screen and a control knob to go through the various menus to find the show you want to listen to. Not only is this pain, but it also creates a distraction when driving as your eyes are taken off from the road. I wish Acura would scrap this system and start back from square one. Power still comes from a 3.5L V6 offering 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic routes power to either the front-wheels or all four-wheels via Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD). Advanced models like ours come standard with a stop-start system.  The V6 in the MDX is such an impressive motor. Power delivery is quite strong throughout the rev band and the engine doesn’t make much noise during acceleration. However, the stop-start is a bit of a mess. It takes a few seconds for the system to realize that you took your foot off the brake before it restarts the engine. The system can be turned off which we recommend doing. The nine-speed automatic needs a bit work as well as we found shifts to be somewhat clunky at low speeds. Also, the transmission is slow to downshift when you need to make a pass. At least paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel solves this issue somewhat as you can do it yourself. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/26 Highway/22 Combined when the MDX is equipped with SH-AWD. I got none too shabby 23 MPG average for the week. One area we’re glad to see Acura not messing with the MDX refresh is the suspension tuning. The MDX has stuck the right balance of comfort and handling. Some of this is credited to the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that alters various settings for the suspension, steering, and a few other items. This means the MDX can be tailored to deliver a sporty ride when driving down a curvy road and ironing out road imperfections when commuting. There is one big issue for the MDX, price. Our MDX Advance & Entertainment tester came with an as-tested price of $59,475 with destination. Considering what you get for the price and compare against other models, the MDX is a bit of a poor value. Stick with one of the lower trims. The Acura MDX stands in a bit of an odd middle ground, where it is above the mainstream, but below luxury competitors. It remains a very competent crossover that seems to do most things right. But we can’t help but wonder if Acura was given a bit more time to mess with the stop-start system and automatic transmission, along with making it slightly more luxurious, it could take it a bit further from the middle ground the MDX currently sits in. Disclaimer: Acura Provided the MDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Acura
      Model: MDX
      Trim: Advanced Entertainment SH-AWD
      Engine: 3.5L 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,200
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/26/22
      Curb Weight: 4,292 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, AL
      Base Price: $58,500
      As Tested Price: $59,475 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

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    • By William Maley
      When I last reviewed the Acura MDX back in 2014, I mentioned that it and the RDX crossover made up a majority of the brand’s sales. That’s still true in 2017 as both models currently make up 63.8 percent of Acura’s sales through the end of March. In closing my review, I said Acura focused on fixing the issues that hurt the MDX before and left other things well alone, creating a balanced luxury crossover. But does that still hold up in a field that has become very competitive in the past couple of years? It seemed a revisit was in order.
      Acura did a significant refresh for the 2017 MDX with the biggest change being the design. Up front, Acura has swapped the shield grille for a larger pentagonal grille from the 2016 Precision Concept. While the shield was considered by many to a bit polarizing and a turn-off, I find the new grille to be a bit cartoonish. It doesn’t really work with the rest of the MDX’s design. At least certain traits such as the ‘Jewel Eye’ headlights and sloping roofline are still here and still work. The interior hasn’t changed much since our last test and that’s both a good and bad thing. The good is the MDX’s material quality is towards the top of the class with a fair amount of leather and wood trim used throughout. Although considering the price tag of just over $59,000, it would have been nice if Acura added some more luxury touches. Those sitting up front or in the second-row will find plenty of room and a set of supportive seats. The MDX is one of the few models in the class that offers a third-row as standard, but it is best reserved for small kids or being folded into the floor to increase cargo space. The bad mostly deals with the AcuraLink infotainment system. This dual screen setup brings more headaches than any other system I have used. A perfect example is when you want to switch from music to a podcast on your USB device. You need to use the top screen and a control knob to go through the various menus to find the show you want to listen to. Not only is this pain, but it also creates a distraction when driving as your eyes are taken off from the road. I wish Acura would scrap this system and start back from square one. Power still comes from a 3.5L V6 offering 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic routes power to either the front-wheels or all four-wheels via Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD). Advanced models like ours come standard with a stop-start system.  The V6 in the MDX is such an impressive motor. Power delivery is quite strong throughout the rev band and the engine doesn’t make much noise during acceleration. However, the stop-start is a bit of a mess. It takes a few seconds for the system to realize that you took your foot off the brake before it restarts the engine. The system can be turned off which we recommend doing. The nine-speed automatic needs a bit work as well as we found shifts to be somewhat clunky at low speeds. Also, the transmission is slow to downshift when you need to make a pass. At least paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel solves this issue somewhat as you can do it yourself. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/26 Highway/22 Combined when the MDX is equipped with SH-AWD. I got none too shabby 23 MPG average for the week. One area we’re glad to see Acura not messing with the MDX refresh is the suspension tuning. The MDX has stuck the right balance of comfort and handling. Some of this is credited to the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that alters various settings for the suspension, steering, and a few other items. This means the MDX can be tailored to deliver a sporty ride when driving down a curvy road and ironing out road imperfections when commuting. There is one big issue for the MDX, price. Our MDX Advance & Entertainment tester came with an as-tested price of $59,475 with destination. Considering what you get for the price and compare against other models, the MDX is a bit of a poor value. Stick with one of the lower trims. The Acura MDX stands in a bit of an odd middle ground, where it is above the mainstream, but below luxury competitors. It remains a very competent crossover that seems to do most things right. But we can’t help but wonder if Acura was given a bit more time to mess with the stop-start system and automatic transmission, along with making it slightly more luxurious, it could take it a bit further from the middle ground the MDX currently sits in. Disclaimer: Acura Provided the MDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Acura
      Model: MDX
      Trim: Advanced Entertainment SH-AWD
      Engine: 3.5L 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,200
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/26/22
      Curb Weight: 4,292 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, AL
      Base Price: $58,500
      As Tested Price: $59,475 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      If the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hasn't swayed you from wanting one, then you'll be happy to hear Volkswagen will once again be able to sell brand-new 2015 model year TDI models. Green Car Reports says near 11,000 TDI models will soon be back up for sale once they are updated with new software, making them legal.
      Volkswagen does caution those interested in picking up a new TDI to call their nearest dealership to see if they have any in stock.
      But that's not all. Volkswagen is offering some massive discounts on these models. CarsDirect reports that Volkswagen is offering 0% APR for up to 72 months and $5,000 cash bonus if you decide to buy. Interested in leasing one? Volkswagen will offer a cash bonus of $8,500. 
      There are a couple of caveats to this offer. First, you need to have an excellent credit history to qualify for either offer. Second is that Volkswagen isn't advertising this offer.
      "We will not be advertising the available incentives from our financing arm as they [sic] vehicle availability will vary per dealership," said Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan.
      Source: Green Car Reports, CarsDirect

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      If the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hasn't swayed you from wanting one, then you'll be happy to hear Volkswagen will once again be able to sell brand-new 2015 model year TDI models. Green Car Reports says near 11,000 TDI models will soon be back up for sale once they are updated with new software, making them legal.
      Volkswagen does caution those interested in picking up a new TDI to call their nearest dealership to see if they have any in stock.
      But that's not all. Volkswagen is offering some massive discounts on these models. CarsDirect reports that Volkswagen is offering 0% APR for up to 72 months and $5,000 cash bonus if you decide to buy. Interested in leasing one? Volkswagen will offer a cash bonus of $8,500. 
      There are a couple of caveats to this offer. First, you need to have an excellent credit history to qualify for either offer. Second is that Volkswagen isn't advertising this offer.
      "We will not be advertising the available incentives from our financing arm as they [sic] vehicle availability will vary per dealership," said Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan.
      Source: Green Car Reports, CarsDirect
    • By William Maley
      In the past two years, I have driven three variations of the Volkswagen Golf; the GTI, SportWagen, and R. But I never had the chance to drive the standard Golf. That is until a couple of months ago when a Golf Wolfsburg Edition rolled up. For 2017, the Wolfsburg is one of the two trims on offer (the base S being the other) and comes with lots of equipment for a surprising price. But this is only the cherry on top of an impressive compact hatchback as I would find out.
      Let’s begin with that surprising price. Our Golf Wolfsburg tester came with an as-tested price of $23,515 and that includes a sunroof, push-button start, heated seats, backup camera, pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rain-sensing wipers. Considering the amount of equipment on offer, this might be one of the best values in the compact class. I know that I’m beating a dead horse here, but I wished the Golf was just a little bit more exciting to look at. The clean lines and minimal brightwork make the Golf have a handsome profile. But park it next to something like a Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, and you kind of wish that Volkswagen did something to make it standout. You could level the same complaint at the Golf’s interior as doesn’t have the same panache or sharpness as some competitors. But I can overlook it as the Golf has one the most functional and well-built interiors in the class. Controls are within easy reach and have a solid feel that is lacking in other compact models. It doesn’t hurt the Golf has a spacious interior for passengers and cargo. I’m 5’8” and found to have plenty of head and legroom sitting in the back. For cargo, the Golf offers up 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 52.7 cubic feet with them folded, putting it at the top of the class. Like the larger SportWagen and Alltrack, the regular Golf sports a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with the optional six-speed automatic. A five-speed manual comes standard. This engine is such a sweetheart as it punches well above its weight. Power comes on a quick and smooth rate, meaning you’ll not be wanting for power when trying to make a pass. The automatic transmission is smart, knowing when it needs to up or downshift and doing so at a quick rate. One item that I gave the Golf SportWagen a lot of praise was the pleasant balance between a smooth ride and sharp handling. The regular Golf is much the same. Taking a corner, the vehicle shows little body roll and the steering provides a linear and quick response. It would be nice if the steering had some more weight, but otherwise, it is a fun car to hustle around. For the daily commute, the Golf offers up a comfortable ride where potholes and other imperfections are ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. If I do have one complaint, it has to deal with the lack of adaptive cruise control. There is already a radar module up front for the pre-collision braking that can monitor vehicles ahead and bring the vehicle to a stop. So why isn’t there the ability to use that module to provide adaptive cruise control? Is it a technical issue or something dealing with the cost? (I'm thinking its the latter). That issue aside, I’m really impressed with the regular Golf. This is one of the vehicles that can deliver on being an all arounder without falling on its face due to one or many things. Plus, the Wolfsburg Edition might be the steal for the 2017 Golf lineup considering what you get. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Golf
      Trim: Wolfsburg Edition
      Engine: 1.8L TSI Turbocharged Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 199 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/29
      Curb Weight: 3,023 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Wolfsburg, Germany
      Base Price: $22,695
      As Tested Price: $23,515 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

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