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2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Six Speeds; Three Pedals

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Cadillac ATS

2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

My wife and I had planned a road trip to Kennebunkport, Maine from our home in Philadelphia that coincided with some back-to-back press car drives I had scheduled with GM. Very kindly, GM made some scheduling adjustments and a 2014 Cadillac ATS with the 272HP 2.0L Turbo engine would be our road trip driver.

2014 Cadillac ATS (select to view enlarged photo)

I did a week-long drive about a year ago when the ATS was first introduced. That tester was equipped with the 202HP 2.5L engine. Overall, I liked the ATS but I didn’t love that engine, to say the least. I’ve had a brief 20 minutes or so over the course of this past year in both the 2.0L Turbo and the 321HP 3.6L V6 models, but I was really looking for some more seat time in the Turbo.

To my pleasant surprise, my ATS Turbo road trip car was equipped with the six-speed Tremec manual transmission. The fun quotient just went up! And, I would be hard pressed to work towards low fuel consumption with this tranny at my fingertips.

To get right to this point, the EPA test mpg ratings for the ATS with 2.0L Turbo and the manual are 19 city mpg and 30 highway mpg. That works out to 23 mpg combined rating, or 4.3 gallons per 100 miles. On our road trip I pretty much hit the highway number with 29.7mpg going and 30.1 mpg returning. The trip was about 400 miles in each direction, all highway, with some slow downs and toll plazas, and running along with traffic at the upper tolerance range of the posted speed limit. The trip took us through seven states in about six hours using approximately 3.3 gallons per 100 miles.

The ATS is offered as a base model and in Luxury, Performance and Premium Collection trims. Prices start at $33,990.

2014 Cadillac ATS (select to view enlarged photo)

My ATS 2.0T Performance Collection tester had a $42,095 MSRP. The new-for-2014 Red Obsession Tintcoat added $995; Navi system is $945; 18inch wheels are $800; Cold weather package (heated seats and steering wheel that were nice to have on a 26degF Maine morning) is $600. Add $925 for shipping and you get to $46,360. The Tremec six-speed manual is a no cost option.

2014 Cadillac ATS (select to view enlarged photo)

Overall, my wife and I really enjoyed the Cadillac ATS. I was pleased with its overall road manners and very satisfied with the fuel consumption on the road trip. My impressions of the 2.0L turbo engine are much more favorable than those of the 2.5L that I drove a year ago. Acceleration is very adequate, actually quite quick, and engine noise under acceleration and at cruise is somewhat noticeable but not overly objectionable. Zero to sixty with the 2.0L Turbo is in about 6.3 seconds. My wife is the first one to complain about poor seat comfort, and that didn’t happen. After 400 miles of driving I too was pleased with seat support, driving position, outward visibility and interior quietness. Steering effort and feel is well balanced with the right amount of feedback.

If I were buying I wouldn’t go for the manual trans, due to lots of city and stop and go driving in my life. But, clutch action is very smooth and the shifter easy to operate, although reverse engagement was a little stiff but probably due to the fact that this ATS test car only had 1000 miles on it when it arrived.

2014 Cadillac ATS (select to view enlarged photo)

The CUE…Cadillac User Experience… for control and connectivity takes getting used to. I would still like to see a couple knobs, instead of all touch actuations. We used the Navi system. Loading in a destination is time consuming since you have to load in a complete address. Whereas, some systems pull up menus when for example you enter the State name and then the first few letters of a city name.

Two nitpicks, admittedly. I think the ATS should have a power-fold feature for the outside mirrors, especially in this segment. In a city you need to fold the mirrors all the time while parked to keep them from getting hit by large passing trucks. I also fold outside mirrors in my one-car garage to make it easier to walk around the car. Also, the HVAC air distribution vents should have dual control like the temperature. Driver and front passenger should be able to choose what vents they want air flow from…now there is only one setting for both.

2014 Cadillac ATS (select to view enlarged photo)

I discovered a new user benefit for the rear view camera. Backing up when the rear window is still frost covered. A time saver. Lane departure warning is really nice to have since it alerts you and helps keep you in your lane while playing with the CUE. Don’t laugh. The little vibration in the seat quickly jars your eyes back to the road.

Coming back to the engine, the V6 will give you plenty of performance…zero to sixty in under six seconds…with a trade off in more fuel consumption. The 2.0L Turbo probably is adequate for most drivers even those who live in hilly areas of the country or drive with rear seat passengers too. I would stay away from the 2.5L unless you live in the flatlands and drive lightly loaded with perhaps just one passenger. Of course, the 2.5L has the lowest fuel consumption.

I would think hard about getting the optional all-wheel-drive. If you live in the New England states that we crossed gong to Maine then maybe yes, or out in the Rockies. A-W-D may not be necessary in big city urban driving where the rear drive will do just fine.

If you are interested to compare the 2014 Cadillac ATS to other compact luxury sedans you can do that right here on If you should want to read what I had to say in my review of the 2013 ATS from about a year ago here's the link For more information and detailed specifications on the 2014 Cadillac ATS go to the Cadillac Buyers Guide or

Also, download the free TheAutoChannel smartphone app. The “My Test Drives” app for both the iPad and iPhone is available for free on The Auto Channel app found in the Apple App Store. The Auto Channel's free "My Test Drives" app gives serious car shoppers the help they need to make test drive evaluations accurate, effective and meaningful.

In the very recently released Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Ratings the Cadillac ATS scored the best in the entire Cadillac line. The all-new Cadillac ATS was named the 2013 North American Car of the Year, and I think that says a lot about what you can expect if you are interested in a compact sport luxury sedan.

Larry Nutson