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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars overall; five stars frontal and side impact; five stars rollover
Not yet rated
you can get an advanced head-up display
Good visibility extends to the information displayed to the driver, although the tachometer is tucked a bit far to the left on the instrument cluster and can fall out of your vision when driving hard.
Car and Driver
With the stability control in competition mode, the ATS can be coaxed into oversteer, but the electronics still keep things on a short leash. (The system also can be shut off completely.)
Although Cadillac is aiming the ATS at the driving-enthusiast crowd and those who want a lot of technology in their cars, it's not a stretch to say that a big portion of these shoppers will also be interested in getting all the latest safety gear and even accident-avoidance features.
For that, all indications so far are that the ATS delivers. It's already earned a five-star sweep in federal safety tests, including five stars even for the static rollover calculation. It hasn't yet been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
A strong set of core safety features includes eight airbags (with dual front knee airbags) and active headrests. Rear side airbags are a major option not usually seen in domestic luxury sedans, but often found on German luxury four-doors.
Bluetooth is standard, but we find visibility to be questionable for shorter drivers especially, and a rearview camera isn't offered on the base car unless you opt for CUE.
We reserve the larger discussion on CUE (the Cadillac User Interface) for the Features section. Using any such infotainment interface is a distraction. That said, CUE is one of the neatest integration systems for smartphones and voice controls yet.
The ATS has standard OnStar. With its GPS and cellular connection, it can dial emergency services in the event of an accident. It also can be linked to a myCadillac mobile app that performs all sorts of functions, from reminding you where you've parked, to setting a service appointment.
If you're willing to pay a little (or a lot) extra, there's quite the list of tech options that could be considered an asset to safety. They include adaptive cruise control; front and rear automatic braking that can prevent or mitigate impacts at low speeds; a lane-departure warning system paired with a haptic seat that vibrates a bottom cushion when the car crosses into the opposite lane; and blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts. The ATS also can be fitted with a head-up display, configurable for the driver's favorite settings, whether they include posted speed limits, a tachometer, or navigation.
A five-star NHTSA rating, as well as all kinds of high-tech safety options, add up to the stuff to satisfy techies and worriers.