2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Long-Term Update 3
Winter was cruel to our long-term 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T.
The first flat tire, in December, seemed like a fluke. There had been a growing number of potholes around Detroit, and hitting the 18-inch wheel with a low-profile winter Goodyear Ultragrip against a concrete hole destroyed the sidewall. It only takes a second for a tire to lose any purpose and make a car immobile, which defeats the purpose of a car.
A few days later, the ATS was back on the road, performing like a champ. The Ultragrips have been great in the cold weather. Their grip is solid in the snow and on cold pavement, providing excellent handling and good stopping ability. But their low profile was unable to handle the rigors of one of Detroit's worst winters in 60 years and the most extreme in the country, according to the Associated Press.
So I shouldn't have been surprised when I hit an ice patch and slid across a pothole going about 15 mph. This time, the driver's side rear wheel fell victim to a concrete crevasse about a foot wide and a foot deep. Here's an audible reenactment from the ATS's cockpit: Ba-BANG, beep, beep, beep, expletive, expletive, rumble, thwack, rumble, thwack.
Just a quarter mile from my house, I hobbled home, knowing I had no spare and my day was shot. The long-term ATS suffers from the same problem many luxury sports sedans present by not carrying a spare tire. Some carmakers offer an optional spare tire, but Cadillac does not. The idea is to cut weight and pray nothing bad happens. If it does, these carmakers provide some sort of roadside assistance. For Cadillac, it's OnStar and a very polite woman with whom I argued:
"No, I need a tow truck."
"But sir, you car has run-flats on it. You can drive 50 miles at 50 miles per hour. You don't need a tow truck."
"Yes I do. I have snow tires on the Cadillac."
"No, you don't."
Really, I did, and once we straightened this out, OnStar sent a tow truck and a local tire store spent four days searching for a properly sized Goodyear tire. In fairness, OnStar did a great job of finding a truck, getting it to me in 70 minutes, and updating me via text messages on the truck's whereabouts. There's something reassuring in how the system works.
That said, the ATS has driven home for me that I will never buy a car without a spare tire. I'll take the weight hit and give up some trunk packaging and save the monthly charge for the roadside assistance, which is usually free for some set time, but not free after that. Even a donut is better than a can of Do Nothing. Run-flats can work as long as the flat occurs in a prescribed manner. What I want is to be able to pull over, change out the tire, and continue on with my trip. What I don't want is to be stranded and know there is nothing I can do.
The reason a person is in a car is to get somewhere. Maybe to catch a plane, or to pick up a child, or just to get home, but driving typically includes a destination. Run-flats don't help at 11 p.m. on a Sunday if the sidewall has a thumb-sized hole in it, or if you've swapped them out for a set of snow tires.
All told, it cost $248.57 to get the tire shipped and installed. It also put the car out of commission for five days. If the ATS were the only car in a family fleet, that would have been more than a hassle.
More on our long-term 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T:
|Service life||8580 mi|
|Average fuel economy||24.8 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||0.78 lb/mi|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ||21/31/24 mpg|
|Energy consumption||136 kW-hr/100mi|