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Big changes in store for Cadillac's little ATS

The 2017 model year will see a rather large readjustment in Cadillac's entry-level offering, to better pit it against the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

This is a regular Cadillac ATS. I think the ATS-V's a bit more fun to look at.

Josh Miller/Roadshow

Cadillac unveiled the compact ATS in order to bring its fight against Germany downmarket. Built to compete against the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the ATS never really hit its stride, thanks to just-okay sales and a complicated ordering structure. But that's about to change for the 2017 model year -- well, the latter part, at least.

Automotive News wrote a little ditty on the ATS, and the outlet managed to coax a fair bit of MY2017 information from the company. Long story short, it's cutting down the number of available configurations, including ditching one engine entirely, while also adding more features as standard equipment.

"We want to emphasize the 2.0-liter turbo and the car's features while attacking the market on the product side, rather than using increased incentives," said Hampden Tener, Cadillac's global product planning director, to Automotive News. To that end, the 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated I-4 engine will be going away, with the 2.0-liter turbo taking its place as the base motor.

Certain trim levels will see prices cut by about $1,000, with some slicing off a bit less than that. Each model is promised "more content," though Cadillac didn't get into specifics. The whole goal is to provide more value for buyers, many of whom are not conquest buyers, but rather first-time luxury shoppers, according to data given to AN from Polk/IHS Automotive.

So, for about the same price as a 2.5-liter 2016 ATS, a buyer can score a similarly equipped, 2.0-liter 2017 ATS. With the numbers in Cadillac's favor (its 2.0-liter is more powerful than the competition's offerings), and a very excellent ATS-V that just came to market, hopefully Cadillac can reverse the ATS' sales vector, which has been moving downward since 2013.

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