Cadillac’s entry luxury sedan was beyond what I’d imagined.
I had seen the photos but wasn’t sufficiently prepared for what appeared to be the sportiest and most dynamic member of the classic U.S. auto brand.
While not straying too far from the original Cadillac look featuring the trademark emblem and grille ― and did you know the shutters open and close at different speeds for better fuel economy? ― the ATS touted sleeker lines and an uplifted beltline that accentuated a youthful image.
The elongated headlights were another factor that took years off this car, however I actually liked the rear better because it remained true to its Cadillac bloodlines but sported softer lines that made it jaunty and more fun than the CTS.
|Design: ★★★★★ / Interior: ★★★★★ / Engine: ★★★★☆ / Fuel economy: ★★★★☆ / Cost and A/S: ★★☆☆☆|
GM’s efforts to produce an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and natural-fiber door trim panels explained the lightness of the vehicle.
The ATS was subsequently lighter than anything I’d ridden, even in the compact segment. It is even lighter than the BMW 3 series as it aimed for, without compromising the steering, which was more than can be said for a lot of other cars claiming to be lightweight.
The 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine located in the front delivered horsepower of up to 272 and 36 kg-m torque. The 2.5 liter is available in other trims, but my personal opinion is that the 2.5L is too low in horsepower and the noise too loud.
To give a bit of history, the ATS was built on a completely new Alpha platform for handling rear and all-wheel drive configurations. It also delivers a near 50/50 weight distribution on the wheels.
Fuel efficiency slipped from the promised 15 kilometers per liter on the highway for the Luxury and Premium trims ― around 13 kilometers with the air on full blast ― but no points were taken off since it was a gas model and not a diesel.
I took my parents along for the ride, and they marveled that they were in a Cadillac.
For them, the Cadillac represented an era of elegance, a time when people actually dressed up to go to the theater and enjoyed riding in big, fancy cars.
They were also shocked at just how modernized the ATS was, including the headup display and the infotainment offered on the 8-inch CUE. The navigation wasn’t great, but the touch screen was right up my alley.
One downside for older generations seemed to be the trunk space, which my parents said wasn’t big enough for avid Korean golfers who enjoy taking company and carrying more than two golf bags. The ATS only accommodates two.
In many ways, the Cadillac was different from the GM cars I’ve experienced in the past, which I happen to like for their sturdiness and heavy pedals. It was a youthful version that was pleasing both inside and out.
The interior is classy and creates a luxurious ambience similar to that offered for the larger Cadillac segments.
The after-service is not so great mainly due to the lack of service centers in the country. But if and when sales pick up, GM may have other ideas on how to treat Cadillac-lovers because believe me, there are many who will take the Cadillac, and only the Cadillac.
I also am anticipating the two-door Cadillac coupe next year as I think it actually may work now that I’ve tried out the ATS.
By Kim Ji-hyun (email@example.com