KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 6/28/2013
The 2014 Cadillac ATS is a red-blooded American sports sedan with a distinctly Cadillac look. It stands out in the crowd, its handling characteristics were developed on some of the world's toughest tracks, it offers powerful 4-cylinder and V6 engines, and includes Cadillac's exquisite CUE infotainment system. With rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), the ATS is going after the market that's been dominated by such gems as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Infiniti G (now Q for 2014) sedans. There's a new player in town, and it's a Cadillac. That's why we named the ATS one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
You'll Like This Car If...
The Cadillac ATS is a first: an entry-luxury sports sedan with rear-wheel drive and great performance from an American manufacturer. If that appeals to you, head down to the local Cadillac store and give it a try.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Here's a reason not to at least give the 2014 ATS some consideration: It lacks a BMW emblem. It's the newest entrant in the field, and you may want one of the recognizable standards.
What's New for 2014
Introduced just last year, the Cadillac ATS has few changes for 2014: Intellibeam automatic high-beam control is added to a couple of packages, some models get a 110-volt outlet, a larger-diameter leather-wrapped steering wheel is included with paddle shifters, plus a few new colors and a new assortment of dealer-available accessories.
Three distinct personalities can be assigned to the 2014 Cadillac ATS, and each is determined by one of the three available ATS engines. At the practical level, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder powerplant gets the job done with 202 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission, but isn't for the enthusiastic driver. At the high-performance end is the 3.6-liter V6 and its 321-horsepower contribution to autobahns and boulevard cruising. The V6 power makes the 6-speed automatic's job easy, but that's not the combination we'd recommend – even if you can afford it. For the enthusiast that lurks in many of us, we recommend the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder – with the 6-speed automatic if you must, but with the available 6-speed manual transmission if you want to give BMW's 328i sedan a run for pavement glory. The 272-horsepower 2.0-liter delivers determined acceleration and legitimate lightweight sports-sedan handling, aided in no small measure by the available FE3 suspension with "Magnetic Ride Control," a term that did not strike us in the least as an overstatement either on the road or at the track. We bet you've never driven an American production 4-door sedan that worked as sweet as this.
FIRST-CLASS HANDLING DYNAMICS
This is the entire premise behind the ATS: Can an American manufacturer build a sports sedan that matches up to the best of the fabled European and ascending Japanese models? The answer is yes. The ATS is proof. That's why it exists. Point made.
2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
If we could convince you of only one thing in this entire review, it would be to at least try out an ATS with the 2.0-liter engine. This is an easy-to-drive engine with class-leading power and class-comparable fuel economy.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…