2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Long-Term Verdict
All-Around Good Sedan with Performance and Luxury
This loan was shorter than most at just eight months instead of the typical year. But somehow between attending auto shows and programs, and judging different Of the Year vehicles for Motor Trend, the Detroit office managed to put more than 15,000 miles on our 2014 Cadillac ATS.
The verdict in a nutshell: The ATS is a sexy little luxury sports sedan. Whether traversing snow and ice, used as a daily commuter, or as a comforting road-trip buddy, the ATS met every challenge with a quiet ride, decent fuel economy, and plenty of power at the ready.
It also passed, perhaps, the most important test. When I took my dog, Bogart, on a road trip, he thoroughly enjoyed the backseat, which I covered with a bed sheet. My German shepherd slept like a 110-pound puppy most of the 350 miles of highway driving, only waking up a few times to stick his nose out the window and catch a smell of Lake Superior.
First of all, the ATS handles excellently. It has a 50/50 front-to-rear weight balance, giving it a handling snap that is quite noticeable on any road surface. Our test model included GM's 2.0L turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. There's a good reason we see GM using this powertrain in so many other vehicles, and it is much better than the 3.6L V-6 available for this car.
The four-banger creates 272 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough power to push around this 3373-pound sedan. The electric variable ratio power steering has a nicely weighted feel, especially on the highway, where the ATS really stands out as a fantastic two-person-and-one-dog touring car. The second row is pretty small for adults but would be fine for kids. (Rear legroom is 33.5 inches and headroom drops from 38.6 inches in the front to 36.8 in the second row, though it feels even smaller.)
Through the eight months, we changed the oil three times and had the car serviced at no additional cost. Cadillac picks up the tab for scheduled general maintenance. We did have the check engine light come on once, and it was turned off at the dealership in just a few minutes.
The only hassle we had was with flat tires. When winter arrived, we replaced the factory run-flat low-profile 18-inch wheels with low-profile winter tires. The grip was fantastic, but the severe winter caused Detroit's roads to look more like Baghdad's in 2003. There was plenty of shock and awe and two different times we blew out a tire. Cadillac does not offer a spare tire, and there are no jack points on the car's chassis to easily lift it. That means if you have a flat, you can't move it or get anywhere. (You can drive on the run-flats to a dealership, but those were in our office.) During the worst times for flats, it took four days to have the car fixed. If the ATS were my only vehicle, I would've had to rent a car while I waited.
The only other thing that came with a longer than expected learning curve was CUE, Cadillac's User Experience infotainment system. The touchscreen-based system with places to slide your finger across to adjust the volume. There's a slight haptic feedback that seemed to work sometimes and sometimes not. Overall, once I got used to it, it worked fine, but when different people would ride in the car with me, they found it very vexing. Also, I found the voice recognition software lacking in actually recognizing my commands. (It was much easier to use OnStar and have a real person download the navigation instructions.)
But really, those are minor quibbles. The ATS delivered solid gas mileage -- around 26 mpg on the highway -- at a cruising speed that should not provide good mileage.
The cabin always felt luxurious and complete. There are plenty of interior features that were nicely executed and genuinely appreciated. I found myself frequently using the hidden storage box behind the stereo face because it included a USB port that made it a perfect spot for a phone. You could also fit a compact .45 in there if you were so inclined and had the proper license.
I also really liked the 110V outlet that faces the second row. More than once, I used it to charge my computer or other devices that needed more of a boost than a USB port allows.
While many people would prefer an all-wheel-drive model, I never found a need for it, even during the harshest of conditions of snow and ice. The ATS performed splendidly, providing good grip and solid acceleration. At times I could get the rear end to kick out a little bit, but that required turning off the stability control.
The car has legitimate sporty chops but also all of the luxury most customers would expect. It's certainly the Cadillac of small sports sedans and will carve out its own following over time as more people get behind the wheel of this small gem.
More on our long-term 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T:
|SERVICE LIFE||15,300 mi|
|OPTIONS||CUE and Navigation ($945), 18-in aluminum wheels ($800), Cold Weather Package ($600: heated front seats, heated steering wheel), Majestic Plum Metallic paint ($495)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$45,860|
|AVG ECON/CO2||25.9 mpg / 0.75 lb/mi|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$0 (2-oil change, inspection; 1-tire rotation)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$18,344|
|RECALLS||Automatic transmission shift cable, front seat bracket|
|2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T (Performance)|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbocharged I-4, aluminum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||121.9 cu in/1998 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||272 hp @ 5500 rpm*|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||260 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm*|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||12.5 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||12.6-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||225/40R18 M+S Michelin Primacy MXM4 ZP|
|TRACK, F/R||59.5/60.9 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||182.8 x 71.1 x 55.9 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||36.4 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3404 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||51/49%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.6/36.8 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.5/33.5 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||55.2/53.9 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||10.4 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||3.1|
|QUARTER MILE||14.3 sec @ 97.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||114 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.7 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1825 rpm|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||6 yrs/70,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||6 yrs/70,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||16.0 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY ECON||21/31/24 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||160/109 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.79 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|