IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

ATS offers a fantastic combination of upscale luxury trimmings and true sports-sedan (and sports coupe) athleticism.

BUT…

Some drivers find the CUE touchscreen controls slow to react and difficult to use.

WORTH NOTING:

Serious performance enthusiasts should check out the high-performance ATS-V coupe and sedan; they have a 464-horsepower twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 and start at $60,695.

WHAT IS IT?

The ATS is Cadillac’s entry-level car; it is more than a foot shorter than the Cadillac CTS Sedan. ATS comes as a 4-door sedan or 2-door coupe, and is offered with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive across four trim levels: Base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Premium Performance. Top-line Premium Performance models come standard with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension system. The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is discontinued for 2017, leaving the 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder as the entry-level engine and the 335-hp 3.6-liter V6 as the step-up choice. Both engines come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission; the rear-drive 2.0 also offers a six-speed manual gearbox. Available features include adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, front and rear collision mitigation system, blind-spot warning, and lane-departure prevention.

WHAT’S NEW?

The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is dropped, and Cadillac’s CUE touchscreen infotainment system is now standard in all models—it now includes new mobile app functionality and teen-driver monitoring features. Also new is a Carbon Black trim package that includes Recaro seats, dark-finish 18-inch wheels, and other unique trim features.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the 2.0-liter turbo engine at 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway with the automatic transmission, 20/29 with the manual, and 22/30 with all-wheel drive (AWD is available only with the automatic). The V6 is rated at 20/30 with rear-wheel drive and 19/27 with AWD. In Consumer Guide® testing, an ATS sedan with the 2.0-liter turbo and manual transmission returned 23.7 mpg in 65-percent highway driving, while an ATS coupe with the 2.0 and automatic averaged 21.3 mpg in 85-percent city driving. A 2.0 with all-wheel drive returned 20.3 mpg in mostly city driving. Cadillac recommends regular-grade gas for the 3.6-liter engine and premium for the turbocharged motor, but it can run on regular too.

VALUE IN CLASS

The ATS is an excellent car that deserves to sell a lot better than it does. Its handling is agile, its steering feel is smooth yet communicative, and its ride is compliant considering the cornering prowess on hand. Both the turbocharged 4-cylinder and V6 offer pleasing power. The ATS equals the vaunted BMW 3-Series for driving enjoyment, has a better-looking interior, and can be had for less money. We’re less enthusiastic about the small rear seat and the finicky CUE infotainment system. We also wish the excellent Magnetic Ride Control suspension wasn’t available only on the pricey Premium Performance models. The ATS stands with the best European and Japanese rivals in its class while offering a distinctly American brand of elegance.

BASE PRICE RANGE $34,595 – $49,495
BODY STYLES 4-Door Sedan, 2-Door Coupe
AVAILABLE ENGINES 272-Hp Turbocharged 2.0-Liter 4-Cyl.; 335-Hp 3.6-Liter V6
DRIVE WHEELS Rear Or All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 19-31 MPG

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