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2013 Cadillac ATS: An enticing compact sport sedan (pictures)

American car companies sat on the sidelines while well-heeled buyers picked up compact, premium sport cars from Europe, until the advent of Cadillac's ATS, a worthy competitor in the segment.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Cadillac's new ATS model competes in the premium compact sedan market, which has generally been dominated by cars such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-class.
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Cadillac makes a strong statement with its Art & Science design language, creating a consistent, unique look across its model lineup.
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The top engine for the ATS is this direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6, producing 320 horsepower. Other engines are a 2-liter turbo and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, both using direct injection.
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The ATS looks a lot like the larger CTS, yet this new model has been designed from the ground up to compete in its segment.
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Brembo brakes, stenciled with the Cadillac logo, come standard. The 18-inch wheels are optional.
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All-wheel drive is an option for the CTS, but it can not be had with Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension.
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At 10.2 cubic feet, the trunk offers plenty of room for luggage.
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The cabin keeps up Cadillac's luxury reputation, with leather seats and surfaces. The brushed-aluminum door trim features a nice Cadillac sport pattern.
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The rear-seat legroom, at 33.5 inches, is a little short for long trips.
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The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) is a new system combining interface and cabin electronics features, optional in the ATS. Although feature-rich and showing innovative elements, a slow processor makes for laggy performance.
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Electrically boosted power steering lends to effortless, precision steering, but it lacks road feel.
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A button on the steering-wheel spoke activates a very advanced voice command system.
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The instrument cluster includes an LCD, showing audio, navigation, and phone information.
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The touch screen incorporates a proximity sensor, hiding onscreen buttons when you keep your hands on the wheel.
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A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard on the ATS. A six-speed manual is available with the 2-liter turbo model.
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The weather app shows a map and a forecast.
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The car's Bluetooth phone system offers the usual features, such as a contact list copied from the paired phone, along with a voice mail feature.
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Playing music from a source connected to the USB port shows album art, when available.
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Features from GM's excellent OnStar telematics service show up on the ATS' touch screen.
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A rearview camera includes trajectory lines and object detection.

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