regfootball

2013 Cadillac ATS 2.5L RWD

11 posts in this topic

DRIVEN

2013 Cadillac ATS RWD 2.5L, Black with Carmel vinyl interior, MSRP about 33,800

HIGHS

ATS is sweet looking inside and out!

2.5 has decent power, revs freely

Good passing power and better than expected off the line power.

Neutral handling with RWD chassis

Good ride and handling balance appropriate for a base car

Front row seating has nice space for legroom and width / girth

Good forward visibility

Attractive interior on the base model, even with the decontented headliner and vinyl seats and such

Very nicely contoured seats for the base model

Nice gauge cluster

You can tell, the car feels very balanced, also stable and secure.

Quite quiet inside and comfortable. Very hushed at speed.

Doesn't feel decontented. Doesn't feel like a throwaway car.

Color displays on the base car.

More interesting than a CTS.

Sport mode on the Trans.

Decent radio sound

Feels heavy and substantial but not at all porky

LOWS

Tranny and ECU is obviously tuned for FE. Sport mode does improve responsiveness a bit. Tranny waits to kick down. 8 speed + aggressive ECU would be better.

Exhaust sound while appropriate for a base car could stand to be tuned for more throatiness etc for some excitement.

Tried hard to get the driver seat adjustment where I wanted and couldn't figure it out. Maybe needed a lot more time to dick with it.

This car did not have CUE but still I was frustrated with the interface and the shiny bars and having to go through menus and clicks and $h! just to do what positive feel buttons or knobs would do.

This car has blind spots. To be expected for sure, but just be careful....

Steering wheel control are sort of out of thumbs' path and organized not like how I would naturally think it should be.

Trunk is SMALL.

Backseat, is there one? Assuming that passengers are very occassional with this car, it's still going to be a challenge to think of very many humans consenting to be in the back of this car by choice very often. I just about threw my back out trying to sit behind myself (the space test) getting in and out....

2.5L is limited to the RWD model only

Why not at least heated seats as an option? Vinyl, even good vinyl can be cold....

SUMMARY

This is the loss leader version of the vaunted ATS. Cadillac does and does not want to sell this version of the car. It is the car that would snag a few buyers who have lesser means, are cheapskates, want RWD on the cheap, or.......who are new to the brand. this last item is why thy try to make it good, so those new to the brand can become repeat buyers next time around.

This car IMO gives enough in the experience that someone wanting to get in on a lux make but at the low end, would feel contented. You know you are missing the promise (2.0t or 3.6), but still receiving a nice driving experience and the solidity and owner benefits of the luxury marque. Most daily driver types are actually going to think the 2.5 is peppy and pretty smooth. There is even just enough spunk trying to break out that an enthusiast used to speedier iron would not get too bent out of shape driving this car if their budget was clipped.

It does lack 'sportiness' but it shoots more for all around solidity and quality feel and as a result, the steering and ride and all just tuned for good balance between all the senses. In that regard I think its successful.

I would be interested to see if Cadillac could or would considering creating a high value sport package for the 2.5....it would not take much. What I would do....consider making the ride and handling more edgy and give the exhaust tuning some bite. Jazz up the interior some and add heated seats. Gear the tranny aggressively and add paddle shifters.

I don't think it would keep people from the turbo.

In the end, I just think this is a good car. The 2.5 does not overwhelm because that is a tough job for a NA 2.5 four cylinder in a car like this. But despite how buff mags like Car and Driver tend to rate the 2.5, I tend to gravitate to the fair end of the spectrum and realize it for what it is.....a good opportunity for entry into a lux brand and the money expended = experience received. Of course you would enjoy the turbo more but that does not make this bad. Four main concerns I am left with is the slow transmission and ECU response in normal mode (an 8 speed aggressively tuned would fix that), tough to get the power driver seat dialed in, overall frustration and complexity with trying to use radio and climate control functions, and super tight confines in the back seat and trunk.

The car has all the makings of a solid A, but in the entry level version I think you just cannot give an A. For what it is though I would actually teeter between the high B+ and A-. Even with the 2.5 you say, nice car! No shame in driving a base Caddy.

Edited by regfootball

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Good review. I really like the "purity" of this car as a base model, 2.5L and all.

Heated seats are definitely optional, albeit along with Cue, on the base. It has some different packaging. No shame in driving a base Caddy, 2.5L and all is a GREAT car.

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Nice write up, enjoyed reading about your experience. I agree with you on the back seat. I am 6'6" tall and no one can sit behind me. Then again, I am an SUV person so this car is more inline for people like my Daughter or Son who take after their mother at only 5'8" tall.

Thanks for the write up, great to have others test drive an auto and then give a review of what they thought.

I did have one interesting obervation as I have been back to Caddy for normal oil changes on my escalade and the more I play with CUE the more I like it. But it is truly built for the Y generation who are used to using their smartphones and tablets. Older generations are going to be more confused by it. Good thing GM is having CUE specialist at the dealerships to train new owners on how to maximize the benefits of CUE.

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Thanks for the review. I really like the look of the car but I will agree that rear passengers are not likely to be as excited just from the size and view from back there. Otherwise, I would think many who never were Cadillac fans really seem to be making an exception.

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HATE the gauge cluster.

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I was wondering how soon it would be replaced in the ATS as that was all that was talked about in that car last year, but it is in the new CTS as well, so I guess it is sticking around.

Reg is right though, simple and effective. At least it doesn't look ancient like the Benz gauges.

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they concentrate on making it legible and having good backlighting.

the reconfigurable cluster makes you want to pay more to upgrade, which is the whole deal with luxury cars.

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I must have driven the ATS with the upgrade on the gauges and dash. I thought the inside looked like a beautiful calming blue space ship panel.

There is only one cluster in the ATS- the XTS and CTS get the option to move up to the uplevel digital dash. And I agree, the base analog cluster is actually quite nice to my eye. While it's not fancy or elaborate, when I test-drove an XTS Luxury Collection last year I actually quite appreciated the legibilty. That being said, there's nothing stopping them from putting in a more elaborate base cluster. I always liked the one in the last-gen Lexus IS for example, with the nice sharp white backlighting.

lexus_is-f_cluster_09.jpg

Edited by vonVeezelsnider

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