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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.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 20 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
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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