Sunday, February 3, 2013

First Drive: 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T

In 2012, Cadillac came out with two new sedans. The first of the two new sedans is the XTS, a full size sedan that replaced both the STS and DTS. The second new sedan is the ATS, a compact sedan that competes against the Lexus IS, BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.The ATS is the first Cadillac compact sedan to be sold in North America since the Cimarron was sold from 1982 to 1988. The European market got the BLS from 2005 to 2010. The Cadillac is a front-engine, four door compact sedan that is available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. I first saw the ATS at the 2012 Houston Auto Show. I liked what I saw out of the ATS and named it my 2012 Best Sports Sedan award before even driving it. The ATS was Esquire's 2013 Car of the Year, Popular Mechanics' 2013 Luxury Car of the Year, and Motor Press Guild's 2013 Vehicle of the year. The ATS is also the 2013 North American Car of the Year. At the 2013 Houston Auto Show, I was able to get behind the wheel of the ATS and take it out for a test drive. The version of the ATS that I drove came with a turbocharged 2.0L I4 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and with rear-wheel drive.

The ATS styling grew on me. It has some nice character lines and a nice sports sedan styling. It does not look as bland as some of the other compact sedans, luxury sedans, and sports sedans. The ATS has a nice interior. The touch screen is user friendly.  The seat was comfortable to sit in. I had a nice amount of leg room and head room. The car has a sporty feel to it, but it is not too stiff and unpleasant. 

The ATS I drove came with a turbocharged 2.0L I4 engine that produces 272 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The ATS is also available with a 2.5L I4 engine that produces 202 hp and 190 lb-ft. The ATS also comes with a 3.6L V6 engine that produces 321 hp and 274 lb-ft of torque. All engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged 2.0L engine is available with an optional six-speed manual transmission. The first I noticed about the way the ATS 2.0T was the lack of turbo lag. I did not notice any turbo lag, if there was any. The car has smooth acceleration. The ATS 2.0T can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, and it felt quick. The ATS has a comfortable, quiet ride and was fun to drive. The car has good throttle response and responds well when I turned the steering wheel. The base price for the ATS starts at $33,995. The ATS 2.0T starts at $35,795. The ATS 3.6 starts at $42,090. That is a good price for what you get with the ATS.

Overall, the ATS is a very good sports sedan. I drove both the ATS and CTS sedans, and I was more comfortable in the ATS than in the CTS.The ATS has a nice balance between ride quality and handling. The ATS has a sporty suspension, yet it was comfortable to be in. I have been in cars that have too soft of a ride that there is a delay between turning the steering wheel and the car turning. I have also been cars that the suspension was too stiff more me to enjoy the car. The has good power and nice acceleration. I drove the ATS with the turbocharged engine, but I did not notice any turbo lag. Well done General Motors and Cadillac. Also, the ATS has a good sports sedan styling. It shares some resemblance to the Cadillac CTS, but that is not a bad thing. And the ATS also goes for a reasonable price. You get a lot of car for under $40,000, and that includes a turbocharged engine. If you are looking for a luxury compact sedan or a sports sedan, give the ATS a test drive. I highly recommend the ATS. This is one of the best cars to come out in 2012.

Photo was taken by a digital camera.
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