CNET on Cars: The Cadillac ATS shines

Cadillac finally does a small car right, online sleuthing for a used car that doesn't suck, and Top 5 technologies in your car that are obsolete!

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So glad Cadillac got the ATS to market largely as expected. This company has been trying to do a small car that doesn't strike a false note for decades. The ATS may be my favorite Cadillac because, thanks to its market segment, it has the least amount of all that Caddy gilding that has always spelled Tommy Bahama to me -- which is not a compliment.

We've been getting some great ideas from you for Car Tech 101 segments, and in this episode we have a user-suggested topic: code readers, what they are and how to use one. It's a topic that may seem sort of esoteric or of interest to the shade tree mechanic, but I can make the case that almost every owner of a modern car should have one. Watch the piece; you'll be fascinated if you don't already know code readers.

By the way, the code reader I am using in the video is my own, an Actron 9580 I got on Amazon, not a unit that was supplied for promotional consideration. I also own an Innova 3120, which is great for older cars that use proprietary data buses.

I get a lot of e-mail from many of you about buying used cars, which are the only kind of car I would get with my own money. The key to researching one is to do VIN-based history checks, but those can get pricey fast. In our Smarter Driver segment, we'll show you reliable, cheap alternatives -- even a free database that the folks at State Farm turned me onto which is a great place to start.

Fun Top 5 this time around: technologies that are rapidly going obsolete in your car! I'm looking at you, CD player. And coming up in an episode or two will be a head-to-head test of the Lexus LS460 against the BMW 750, so if you (or your well-heeled friend) are in the market for a high-tech flagship sedan, stand by for that. We also have the new Accord teed up and on the way.

About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

 

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