IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

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

BUT…

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

WORTH NOTING:

A high-performance ATS-V model, with an expected horsepower rating of around 420, is slated to join the model lineup for 2015.

WHAT IS IT?

The ATS is Cadillac’s smallest 4-door sedan; it is more than a foot shorter than the redesigned-for-2014 Cadillac CTS Sedan. ATS comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is offered on some models. ATS is offered in four trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Performance, and Premium. All but the base Standard model come equipped with CUE, Cadillac’s touch-screen infotainment system. Top-line Premium models come standard with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension system. A 202-hp 4-cylinder is ATS’s base engine, though most buyers will upgrade to the available 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder or 321-hp 3.6-liter V6. All three engines offer a six-speed automatic transmission, but only the turbo offers a six-speed manual.

WHAT’S NEW?

ATS was all-new for 2013, but Cadillac is making a few tweaks to the 2014 models. These include automatic high-beam headlamps in models with the Driver Awareness or Driver Assist packages, a 110-volt electrical outlet on the consoles of cars with CUE and navigation, and a “frameless” inside rearview mirror. Cars with paddle shifters get a larger-diameter leather-wrapped steering wheel.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the base 2.5-liter engine at 22 mpg city/ 33 mpg highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, a Luxury model with the 2.0-liter turbo and AWD returned 20.3 mpg in a test mostly conducted on city streets. In mixed driving, we saw 22.0 mpg in a Performance model with the V6 and AWD. Cadillac specifies regular-grade gas for the 2.5- and 3.6-liter engines. The company recommends premium gas for the turbocharged motor, but it can run on regular too. The 3.6-liter V6 is the only ATS engine that can use ethanol-blended E85 fuel as well.

VALUE IN CLASS

It’s pretty clear Cadillac set its sights on the BMW 3~Series Sedan when developing the ATS. We think they’ve hit the target. ATS drives exceptionally well, has fine steering, plenty of grip, and pleasing power from the turbocharged 4-cylinder and V6 engines. ATS equals the BMW for driving enjoyment, has a better-looking interior, and can be had for less money. We’re not so impressed with the base 2.5-liter engine and the small rear seat. We also wish the excellent Magnetic Ride Control suspension wasn’t only available on the pricey Premium models. We’d steer you toward the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It is plenty strong and has the added benefit of being offered with a sweet-shifting manual transmission.

BASE PRICE RANGE $33,990 – $49,120
BODY STYLES 4-Door Sedan
AVAILABLE ENGINES 202-HP, 2.5-Liter 4-Cyl.; 272-HP 2.0-Liter Turbocharged 4-Cyl.; 321-HP 3.6-Liter V6
DRIVE WHEELS Rear Or All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 19-33 MPG

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