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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2013 Cadillac ATS

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
September 27, 2012
4 min. Reading Time

It has been a long time since Cadillac dealers have been able to offer a true entry-level car.  The successful Cadillac CTS is a tweener, larger than a compact but smaller than a mid-size, which is part of what makes the 2013 Cadillac ATS such an important model for the brand.  Being able to get potential Cadillac customers into the family with an affordable, competent, and stylish compact sedan is an important strategy for building future business, and the Cadillac ATS has been carefully calculated to take on the industry's premium compact heavyweights in terms of performance and prestige.

Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Cadillac ATS.

01. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Is All-New

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is the first vehicle to be built on GM's fresh Alpha platform, which has been designed to offer rear-wheel drive performance without sacrificing comfort.  The Cadillac ATS can also boast new sheet metal that stays within the brand's Art and Science design language but doesn't retread old ground, instead coming up with a smaller interpretation of the looks that can be found on the Cadillac CTS and the Cadillac SRX.  The ATS platform also allows for a very low curb weight (in its segment) of just 3,350 lbs in base trim.


02. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Is Cadillac's First True Compact Competitor

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is intended to erase painful memories of vehicles like the Cadillac Cimarron and the Cadillac Catera - small cars that wore the luxury emblem but were really poorly-adapted re-badges of GM siblings like the Chevrolet Cavalier and the Opel Omega.  The Cadillac ATS is unique to the marque, and it was designed from the ground-up to face off against competitors from the usual German suspects head-to-head when it comes to performance, luxury, and style.  The smaller size and low mass of the Cadillac ATS also means that the next-generation of the CTS can move slightly up-market in order to better do battle with mid-size rivals.


03. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Offers Three Engine Options

The 2013 Cadillac ATS starts out with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine under the hood.  This unit is good for 202 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque.  The next step up - and what Cadillac hopes will be its volume seller - is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder motor that has been tuned to provide 272 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque.  The top-tier Cadillac ATS engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 321 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of twist.  With the latter installed, the sedan is capable of hitting 60-mph from a standing start in a respectable 5.7 seconds.


04. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Can Be Had With Two Transmission Options

The 2013 Cadillac ATS makes more than a passing acknowledgement of its sporting pretensions by including a six-speed manual transmission on its options list.  The six-speed shift-it-yourself gearbox is offered with the 2.0-liter turbocharged motor, which has been tapped as the most performance-oriented of the trio of engine flavors.  All versions of the Cadillac ATS, regardless of engine type, feature a six-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment.  Those who live in parts of the country where slippery winter weather is a fact of life will be pleased to know that the ATS also offers the availability of all-wheel drive, which can be paired with either the turbocharged four-cylinder or the 3.6-liter V-6.


05. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Provides Solid Fuel Mileage

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is designed to be not just capable in the acceleration department, but also relatively frugal when it comes to fuel consumption.  Both the entry-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the 2.0-liter turbo feature a fuel mileage rating of 22-mpg in stop and go driving and 33-mpg on the highway, which is impressive when considering the additional get-up-and-go on offer from the turbo mill.  When outfitted with its 3.6-liter V-6, the Cadillac ATS turns in fuel economy figures of 19-mpg around town and 27-mpg during highway cruising.  Transmission choice does affect mileage, with the automatic gearbox making possible these more robust figures.


06. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Features Four Trim Levels

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is offered in four specific trim levels.  The Standard trim represents the entry-level edition of the ATS, and it provides features such as 17-inch rims, dual automatic climate control, leatherette seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a Bose stereo system, and power adjustments for the two forward positions.  The Luxury trim installs keyless entry and ignition, parking assistance, true leather upholstery, the advanced CUE entertainment interface, and a folding rear seat, while the Performance edition of the ATS dresses up the exterior with HID headlights, dual exhaust tips, and an updated grille, while also adding a surround sound system, sport seats, and a raft of extra safety equipment.  The Cadillac ATS Premium shows off 18-inch rims, a head-up display that can actually project color images, a stiffer adaptive suspension system, a limited-slip rear differential, and a navigation system.


07. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Offers Several Packages

For those who don't want to necessarily step up to the Performance or Premium trim levels, several features that they provide can also be installed on lesser models by way of options packages.  The Driver Assist package groups together the safety items found standard with the Performance trim, including lane departure warning, cross-traffic alert while reversing, and forward collision alert, and it also adds adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring, and a head-up display.  The Track Performance package offers beefier brake pads and an engine oil cooler, while the Cold Weather package consists of heated seats and a heated steering wheel.


08. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Delivers Solid Handling

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is focused on providing an engaging driving experience to go along with its generous comfort features.  The rear-wheel drive architecture of the Cadillac ATS platform is an great starting point, and it also provides 50/50 weight balance in order to add predictability through the corners.  The ATS sedan's lightweight chassis has already been mentioned as one of its strongest points, and special attention has also been paid to the vehicle's suspension components, driveshaft, axle shafts, and braking in order to round out its cornering capability and give it excellent compliance while at speed.


09. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Prioritizes Safety

The 2013 Cadillac ATS has a number of standard safety features that compliment the systems that can be added via the Driver Assistance package.  The Cadillac ATS features seat-mounted side airbags for those riding up front, forward airbags, and side curtain airbags that extend along the length of either side of the sedan's cabin.  A pair of knee airbags also protect passengers in the vehicle's first two positions.  Electronic stability control and traction control are also included free of charge with the ATS, and so is the OnStar system, which can automatically notify first responders in the event of a crash as well as track a stolen vehicle.


10. The 2013 Cadillac ATS Targets BMW Buyers

Even a cursory examination of the 2013 Cadillac ATS sedan's specifications and characteristics suggests that this is one luxury car that is going hard after the premium segment's perennial leader - the BMW 3 Series.  The Cadillac ATS aims to be at least as dynamically interesting as the BMW, and it even boasts a slight weight advantage, which is a turning of the tables when comparing domestic and German sedans.  Also on the ATS radar are popular, but less sporty offerings such as the Audi A4, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Infiniti G37 sedans.



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