2015 Cadillac ATS Review


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2015 Cadillac ATS Overview

Due for a refresh next year, Cadillac's compact sedan is expected to carry over for 2015. The lack of official word comes with a distinct sense of apprehension, though. Like a quiet before a storm.

Taking the safest approach to the threat of buyer boredom just before a refresh, Cadillac isn't expected to do much more to the ATS sedan than offer previous options in the usual Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium trims for 2015, perhaps even without a price increase. True to the analogy, however, Cadillac isn't talking about its ATS sedan—the company seems instead a bit busy with some more sporting renovations.

If 4 doors of compact sport-luxury are the order, then it's slim pickings in this price range. The ATS might be the new kid on the block, but the cavalry just arrived: A new ATS Coupe model alongside a redesigned ATS-V both debut this year, both reviewed separately. If you're curious what may come for the 2016 ATS sedan, look to those, bearing in mind that the ATS-V will always be beefier (and pricier), and the ATS Coupe will be short 2 doors.

But that isn't to say this ATS is chopped liver, either. Sure, the 2013 debut year was rough with quite a few apparent factory slip-ups, but that's typical of most domestic makers (just because we're the first to see new models), and Cadillac admirably pulled it together in short order anyway. The very next year, 2014, the only complaint that carries over is about the difficulty of using CUE, Cadillac's infotainment system—unless you didn't expect the smallest trunk and back seat in the class.

That said, the ATS gets praised highly for its driving dynamics, meaning that rear end isn't changing anytime soon. The only 6-speed manual transmission comes with rear-wheel drive (RWD) and the 2-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine—the sedan's mid-grade engine out of 3 options—so the emphasis isn't on sporting performance but rather a pleasing combination of both power and poise. The ATS is otherwise available with all-wheel drive (AWD) and/or a 6-speed automatic with any engine, including that 2.0T. Drivers report the advertised economy is about 5-10 mpg optimistic, however.

The base engine powering 2.5 trims is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 202 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque that drivers report is less than exciting, but it gets the best fuel economy, estimated at 22 mpg city/33 highway. This one is available only with the 6-speed automatic and RWD in the base Standard trim and may be discontinued soon.

Next up is the turbocharged 2-liter good for 272 hp and 260 lb-ft/torque, which powers the ATS sedan to 60 mph in a mere 6.3 seconds regardless of transmission. Fuel economy for this engine with the rear drivetrain and automatic transmission is 21/31, AWDs are rated at 20/29, and on a stick with RWD it runs at 19/30.

The 3.6-liter V6 upgrade obviously fetches the worst economy, but it also gets the best sprint benchmark, hitting 60 mph in 5.7 seconds with all its 321 hp and 274 lb-ft/torque. Fuel consumption is around 18/28 with RWD and 18/26 with AWD. Like the 3.6-liter V6, that turbo is also available for any trim.


Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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2015 Cadillac ATS, Front-quarter view. Copyright General Motors, exterior, manufacturer
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