2018 Cadillac ATS Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
September 7, 2017

The Cadillac ATS remains a highly desirable underdog with its terrific ride and handling and willing powertrains. It's as fun-to-drive as any compact luxury sedan.

The 2018 Cadillac ATS is a compact sports sedan and coupe lineup that so closely approximates German engineering that it might as well have come from Bavaria and not Detroit.

That's high praise for this wide range of two- and four-door models that are well priced, highly entertaining to drive, and boast strong powertrains. They earn a rating of a 6.8 out of 10 on our scale thanks to their fun-to-drive nature and their good level of convenience equipment. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2018, the ATS line is essentially unchanged aside from some updates to their available infotainment system and a single new color. The ATS lineup was introduced for the 2014 model year and is beginning to gray around its temples but remains highly competitive against cars like the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Lexus IS. 

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Stylistically, the ATS is straightforward and buttoned down compared to some of its more bulbous rivals. Its interior echoes that simple, elegant theme, although the ATS' compact dimensions mean that its rear seat and cargo area are a bit cramped. 

Under its hood, the ATS comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that cranks out 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in base and Luxury trim levels, where it's offered with a choice of 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic transmissions that are at the top of their game. Premium Luxury and Premium Performance models are fitted instead with a 3.6-liter V-6; it's a little stronger and a little smoother with its 335 hp and 285 lb-ft, but the 6-cylinder is offered only with the 8-speed automatic.

Depending on the model, rear- and all-wheel drive are available. Our favorite? As performance purists, the turbo-4 with its 6-speed stick and standard rear-wheel drive offers tremendous fun. 

There's also an ultra-fast (and predictably pricey) ATS-V performance model that competes on the global stage against vaunted nameplates like the Mercedes-AMG C63 and BMW M3/M4; it's covered separately.

The ATS comes well-outfitted, although base models can feel a little frugal with their leatherette upholstery. Tick a few boxes, however, and Cadillac's attention to detail shines through with glossy wood or carbon fiber trim and luxurious heated and air conditioned leather upholstery. All models come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus streaming Bluetooth and a rearview camera. A heads-up display and adjustable dampers are among the high-soot options available.

Higher-spec models are also available with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, both of which boost an already solid safety record. 

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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 7
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2018 Cadillac ATS Pricing Insights

  • 2018 ATS arriving; 2017s still plentiful
  • Dealer discounting likely on 2017s
  • Lease a 2018 from $349 for 39 months
  • Get 0% APR for up to 72 months
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