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Car Tech Video: 2013 Cadillac ATS

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Car Tech Video: 2013 Cadillac ATS

7:35 /

Going after the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C-Class is hard enough, but shedding some of the stigma that Cadillac has is no small order, except when you are the 2013 Cadillac ATS and you just might have a shot at doing both.

-Here it is, the all new Cadillac ATS, the baby Cadillac with a very simple mission. Get out there and settle the score with the 3-series and the C class or don't come home. Let's drive this 2013 ATS all-wheel-drive Sedan and check the tech. An ATS has got pretty similar proportions to a 3-series or a C class. The look is like neither it's gotten none of that swoopy, rounded stuff of the 3, a little bit of a resemblance to a C in the front, but there's so much other Cadillac DNA going on and I really like how the shoulders flow down over its hips as you look at it from front cross section. To my eye, it's the most clean, honest, and modern Cadillac out there. It doesn't have all that baroque excess you still find in the Escalade, nor does it have that kind of dewy-machismo Tommy Bahama look of the CTS and its other siblings. It's a clean, honest urban-looking car. Now, the Cadillac Design Language is carried over inside the vehicle, but not quite to the degree of excess you see in some of their other cars, which I kind of like the way it's dialed back a little bit. I don't get quite so many of these sort of trapezoidal shapes. The steering wheel is very Cadillac. The crest still is gonna put some people off as fuddy-duddy. The main effective course is this guy right here. See what happen when I did that. Look, pull my hands away and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) goes to a relatively clean screen after a few moments. But as I approached the screen, other options come up on the top and bottom ribbon. That's one of the keys to what they do here proximity sensing to keep things clean when you don't need to have additional details up there. Navigation is not in every CUE head unit. Just because you have this interface, it doesn't mean you have NAV. Bear that in mind. It's basically an $800 differential to get it on top of CUE. They rave a lot about how this NAV interface looks like a tablet. You can pinch and zoom and they wish. The response is so much more poor than on even a cheap tablet. They shouldn't make that comparison until they've gotten more horsepower behind it. They rave about natural voice command. Everybody does. Let's see if they're serious. -Say the Command or say Help. -Address. -Say the address in California or say the command, change state of your address. 1000 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California. -1-0-0-0 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California, is that correct? -Damn, right it is. Now, let's go to our audio sources. That's a key part of this thing. Notice you've got audio and Pandora both surfaced here. I always find that kind of dopey. It's like just put all the audio together, but a lot of systems do that. Under media, you're gonna find your fun stuff. You can get your disc which is over here in the glovebox. You've got optical drive there, iPad hooks up through a USB here or through a USB here on the disc, kind of weird little lift up deal. They put a blue light on it, though so it's easy to find. That's nice. Streaming, of course, via My Smartphone same when I do my calling and view my contacts integration. We've got the fancy Bose system in this guy. You can center it on driver rear set, center point which is their DSP setting and you've got pretty basic tone controls beyond that. Notice I can drag these presets up and down if I wanna see a bunch up or just one ribbon at a time or none at all. Similar flexibility goes to this little display here in the speedometer. Using this rocker switch on the wheel, I can either extend my fuel information there or put different information in that window. Go to the middle and there I can show My Phone settings, go after Navigation on the left. I can show my digital speedo expand that or my odometers as well as fuel range. Because we've got the V6, we'll talk about it in a minute one choice only on the gearbox automatic transmission right here, shiftable gear on the left. You probably saw the paddles on the wheel. Hard to miss him. It's a Cadillac. They're chrome and they're big and they're on the wheels. So, they're always in the wrong place when you want them. Now when and if you get the hood up on this car, we had 3 smart guys work on it for like 5 minutes and the 3 of us for 10 more and here we go. World's cheapest little sheet metal lever ever. Note the Cadillac. Here is the big motor that they sent us, 3.6 L direct-injection V6. It does some good numbers, 321 horse, 274 foot pounds of torque, moves this 3300-pound sedan to 60 at about 5'3, 5'4. We have the all-wheel drive here by the way. MPG is in 2228. I mean not bad all things given, but that's what the other 2 smaller engines intrigued me more. There's a 2.5 L for the bore 4. Why bother? The middle engine is a cool one. A 2-liter 4 with a twin scroll turbo and direct injection gets a just right 272 horse and 260 foot pounds of torque and delivers a full 30 highway MPG plus you can get that guy with a 6 speed manual like the other little motor you can't in this guy. This is a great engine. It's a lot of engine. A 3.6 V6 and this car is plenty of power. And the power comes on just beautifully. The problem is the transmission gets in the way. Remember? Automatic only on the 3.6 V6 and that's too bad because they don't have any of the automatic modes, it's a bore. It falls on its face. It misses shifts. It hunts too high too often and it pisses me off. What you can do of course is not get it into manual mode. Shift it yourself and it basically gets out of the way at that point. The shifts are pretty tight when you're doing it. Great exhaust note. And I like the combination in this car of handling and compliance. It's done a great job dialing in comfortable ride, which you've gotta have in a Cadillac. And good handling without being punishingly harsh. It keeps it upright and turns. I could drive this little car all day. It doesn't feel as heavy as the CT scan of. I didn't even bother to compare the weights. I'm sure there's a couple hundred, 300 pounds difference between them. There's a 9-inch difference I can tell you that. This car is significantly shorter and it feels more sprightly and joyous. Bottom line, the ATS is a success with this engine, but you got to get around the gearbox. That's why I'm so intrigued by that 2-liter DI Turbo 4 and I can't wait to drive one of those to compare. Notice price of this ATS, I'm talking with the V6 in this particular case, 42,090 is your basic V6. But you got to add about 5500 on top of that to go CNET style. That means you get to what they call the premium level that roles in navigation surround sound and a variety of niceties including magnetic ride control suspension. But how's the ATS gonna do in general? I think we've got to watch here. This doesn't have enough to pry people away from outstanding German sedans. If you equal someone who's already got a big leap in front of you that may not be enough. This car has to play on a few coins. First of all, better value. Second of all, by American. Third, a different look that I finally think Cadillac can say is actually better.

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