Anyone with a pair of eyes can probably guess that the compact ATS is lighter and more efficient than the average Cadillac. What really counts in this case isn’t size, but character. The ATS comes off as a true sport sedan (or coupe), capable of entertaining high-spirited drivers without complaint.
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2017 Cadillac ATS Overview
What's New for 2017
Cadillac's CUE infotainment is now standard across the board, along with new teen driver technology. Trim levels have been revised to better reflect buying habits. A Carbon Black appearance package joins the option list. Last year's base 2.5-liter engine is gone from the lineup.
Choosing Your Cadillac ATS
Both the sedan and coupe now come standard with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 272 horsepower, matched to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The optional 3.6-liter V6 achieves 333 horsepower and comes with the automatic only. All-wheel drive is available on all automatic-equipped cars.
Engine availability varies by trim level:
The Luxury and above can get the new Carbon Black package featuring Recaro sport seats, 18-inch wheels, and unique black trim throughout. The upgraded suspension found on the Premium Performance can be added to other rear-drive models as a standalone upgrade.
This year's restructuring of trim levels has made the V6 engine and certain safety features far more affordable. The added value is especially evident in the Premium Luxury model, so it's our pick of the bunch.
2017 Cadillac ATS Review
Since debuting in 2013 as a sharply styled alternative to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Cadillac ATS has remained relatively unchanged. For 2017, its looks remain the same, but Cadillac has finally axed the 2.5-liter base engine, leaving its 272-horsepower engine as the base powerplant.
Is this change in base engines enough to overcome the aging looks of the ATS?
Pricing and Equipment
Because the 2017 Cadillac ATS has dumped its old base engine in favor of the peppier 2-liter turbo, we also see a price hike of $1,380 to $35,590. But with this higher price comes plenty of standard features, including:
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Keyless entry and ignition
- Dual-zone auto climate control
- Six-way power front seats
- Leatherette upholstery
- 10-speaker audio system
For buyers looking for even more luxurious features, there are plenty of trims to choose from that run as higher as $50,490. For buyers seeking a more exclusive look and feel, there's a Black Sport package available for $3,213.
The elimination of the wheezy 2.5-liter engine means that the 272-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder turbo is now the base powerplant. This engine finally puts the base model in a position where it outmuscles most of its competitors, at least on paper. On top of being potent, the ATS is very comfortable in the corners.
- No more underpowered models
- Potent V6 available
- Great in the twisties
While the optional V6 engine has plenty of horsepower, it lacks the initial torque provided by BMW’s six-cylinder engines. Some prefer the growing torque of this naturally aspirated engine, but it does suffer a bit in performance. We also noted that the four-cylinder engine, while easy on fuel, falls a few mpg short of its rivals.
- V6 lacks the torque of BMW’s six-cylinder
- Four-cylinder engine’s fuel economy falls short of some of rivals
We were shocked to see just how much equipment came in the base ATS. It's seriously well equipped and rivals any base luxury car. We were particularly impressed by its standard 8-inch touchscreen.
- Base model very well equipped
- Standard 8-inch touchscreen
- Very comfortable and quiet
The ATS definitely isn’t all rainbows on the inside. It does have a very tight rear seat that our editors took issue with. We also found that its trunk is unreasonably small at 10.3 cubic feet.
- Tights rear seats
- Inadequate trunk space
- Finicky touch-sensitive buttons
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The quality of the cabin caught us completely off-guard. Sure, we expected premium features and materials, but it was well above our expectations. What’s more, the improvements in insulation make the ATS quieter than ever before.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
As a four-seater in the luxury segment, we expected more rear-seat legroom and space in the trunk. All of the ATS's rivals excel in these areas, but the Caddy comes up way too short for our liking.
The Bottom Line
The ATS is an amazing luxury sports sedan that is on the same performance playing field as any of its German competitors. With this model, however, you are giving up a little in terms of roominess, and you’re getting a design that is getting stale at this point. On the flip-side, you’re also saving a lot of cash by going with the Caddy. The choice is yours.