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2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan

$35,495 - $47,895
Price Range (MSRP)
Cadillac ATS Sedan

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review

by Jared Rosenholtz

The soon-to-be-discontinued Cadillac ATS is an impressive compact luxury sedan, with the Alpha platform serving as the foundation for other award-winning GM models such as the CTS-V and even the Camaro. Now at the end of its run, the ATS might not be winning any awards, but its potential hasn't gone to waste. Rivaling the likes of the BMW 3 Series is no easy task, and the ATS does so with a range of engines in its corner, ranging from a base four-cylinder engine producing 272 horsepower 295 lb-ft of torque to a more potent 335 hp V6, with either rear- or all-wheel-drive doing duty in putting power to the ground. Packed with features, even if they are at times a little hard to access, the ATS tries its best, but while it may have an endearing chassis, it simply doesn't seem up to the task of being a complete all-rounder. Can the final year of the sedan be the last hurrah Caddy supporters have been yearning for?

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 ATS Sedan?

The Cadillac ATS has undergone some minor changes for 2018, although it's more about what's missing rather than what's new. Satin Steel Metallic paint has been added to the color palette, while Moonstone, Deep Amethyst, and Bronze Dune metallics all depart, as do the options for the Carbon Black package and the Black Sport Appearance Package. Additions include an automatic heated steering wheel, while the infotainment system has been upgraded to the CUE version 3, which features cloud-based profile systems that allow users to customize settings for multiple driver and passenger configurations. Apple Watch support has also been integrated into the MyCadillac app.

Pros and Cons

  • Two powerful engines with rare manual gearbox option
  • Good performance and enjoyable drive
  • Base model is heavy on features
  • Great safety rating
  • Well-priced
  • Very cramped rear seat
  • Tiny trunk
  • Interior is more stylish than functional
  • Devalues quickly

ATS Sedan Exterior

The Cadillac ATS features a sharp and angular design. With its low body and aggressive stance, it looks more than capable of achieving the performance it has become known for. 17-inch alloy wheels sit tight within the streamlined arches of the three lesser models, upgraded to 18-inch items on the Premium Performance. The Cadillac grille takes up the majority of the car's front, with bold projector headlights at a base level upgraded to HID headlights thereafter with LED daytime running lights, while illuminated door handles are equipped from Luxury level. Dual exhaust tips peek out from under the short rear bumper, while the LED center brake lights sit atop the trunk.

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Front View
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Rear View
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Rear View
See All 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Although it is a small luxury sedan, the ATS has sporty dimensions hinting at its nimbleness. Standing 55.9 inches tall and 71.1 inches wide, it measures quite long at 182.8 inches and has a substantial 109.3-inch wheelbase. When you take into account that it weighs in at a pretty light 3,373 lbs in its lightest incarnation, it tips the scales slightly heavier than lightweight rivals like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, while adding all-wheel-drive adds extra mass to the tune of around 200 lbs.

Exterior Colors

As you would expect from a luxury vehicle, the Cadillac ATS sports a pretty diverse color palette. All trims come standard with either Radiant Silver Metallic or Black Raven body paint, but for a nominal fee, you can opt for the premium paint jobs including Crystal White Tricoat, Red Obsession Tintcoat, Stellar Black Metallic, Phantom Gray Metallic, and Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic. We like Red Obsession, but any of the darker hues also suit the angular bodywork of the ATS.

ATS Sedan Performance

The ATS performs well for the segment. The optional 3.6-liter V6 engine, producing 335 hp and 295 lb-ft, achieves competitive acceleration of 0-60 mph in six seconds. This is on par with class rivals like the Honda Accord, which reaches the same speed in 5.7 seconds., but far slower than premium rivals in the form of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Pace is complemented by excellent overall handling and a rear-wheel drivetrain that enhances the sporty feel of the car. All-wheel-drive is available, while the optional manual transmission on the four-cylinder engine offers a more engaging driving experience.

While the ATS doesn't necessarily fail in terms of performance, it doesn't stand out either. And in a market where competition is so fierce, being unremarkable can prove fatal.

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Front View Driving
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Rear View Driving
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Rim

Engine and Transmission

The base model ATS comes equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that displaces 2.0 liters and provides 271hp and 295 lb-ft. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with a six-speed manual gearbox available. The upper trims bring with them the more powerful, naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 engine, which produces 335 hp and 285 lb-ft. Only the eight-speed automatic gearbox is available with this engine.

With its impressive power and torque, the ATS is responsive around town while still having the passing power to be a pleasure on the highway. The steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on upper trim levels allow you to manage gears without requiring the use of a manual clutch. Even without these, the automatic shifts smoothly. Of the two engines, the four-pot may boast a strong torque figure, but it comes across unrefined, which is why we recommend opting for the V6 for the best experience.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Cadillac ATS offers an enjoyable ride that complements its impressive performance. The optional V6 engine provides the kind of power you would expect from a sports sedan while the steering is responsive and accurate, ensuring that you are engaged in the driving experience.

Similarly, the brakes are talkative and responsive on the base model, but they do not give the feeling of a true sports car without the upgrades they receive from the upper-most trim level. The steering and brakes combine with the lightweight chassis to create an extremely balanced drive, focusing on nimbleness and wieldability - traits inherited by benchmarking the ATS against the E46 3 Series in development. The ATS's agility makes handling predictable, meaning you will never feel like the vehicle is too heavy or light when taking turns or maneuvering on the highway.

However, this impressive handling comes at the expense of comfort. The suspension is stiff, and road abrasions are felt all too easily in the cabin, with larger bumps completely dislodging passengers from their seats. Luckily, the seats themselves are quite comfortable, even over longer rides. On the downside, the cabin doesn't handle noise well, with road noise being the biggest nuisance and the noisy four-cylinder engine not far behind.

ATS Sedan Gas Mileage

The Cadillac ATS comes equipped with a generous 16-gallon fuel tank, slightly larger than most of its competitors. It also features a capless fueling system, which allows for faster refueling with less fuss. Both engines are equipped with Cadillac's automatic stop/start technology, which optimizes efficiency, although it isn't as subtle as one might like. Burning premium fuel, the base ATS with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine gets city/highway/combined estimates of 22/31/25 mpg with the automatic transmission and 20/29/23 with the manual. The 3.6-liter V6 engine on the Premium Luxury and Premium Performance trims gets 20/30/24 mpg. All-wheel-drive doesn't negatively impact consumption on the standard engine. The ideal setup of the four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox will see this sedan achieving around 400 miles to a tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/31 mpg
* 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan 2.0L Standard RWD Sedan

ATS Sedan Interior

The Cadillac ATS offers several options when it comes to the interior, all of which emphasize the striking design. The seats can be upholstered in simulated or real leather, and the plastic dash and door panels can be accented in wood or carbon fiber. Sadly, good looks belie substandard build quality compared to rivals. The controls look equally stylish, with touch-sensitive buttons and sliders. However, these aesthetic choices come at the cost of utility, as the controls are not easy to operate and require you to take your eyes off the road constantly. The sedan seats five, with the front seats being surprisingly comfortable over long drives, although the rear seats are quite cramped. The base model ATS comes standard with a suite of infotainment features, though the interface can be a bit slow to operate.

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Front Seating
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Infotainment System
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Central Console
See All 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The ATS sedan is capable of seating five, but only the front seats can handle individuals of any significant height. Even so, the 38.6 inches of front headroom is not as spacious as you might expect from a luxury vehicle of this size. The rear seats are particularly cramped, with only 36.8 inches of headroom and a pitiful 33.5 inches of legroom. Luckily, any discomfort caused by the lack of space is somewhat mitigated by seat comfort. Standard seats are leatherette-upholstered, with optional auto-heated leather seats becoming standard on upper trims. While the seats don't feel like they would be comfortable when you first sit down, they adapt to the body and provide great support over long drives. With six-way power-adjustability as standard and 18-way power-adjustability optional, positioning the driver's seat for optimum comfort and visibility is a breeze. And with wide-opening doors, entering and exiting the vehicle is even easier.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The base Cadillac ATS features a leatherette interior as standard, available in either Jet Black or Light Platinum, paired with oil-rubbed bronze trim on the dash and doors. Jet Black accents are standard across every color combination, although the material is upgraded to suede microfiber when paired with Semi-Aniline leather options. Leather-appointed seats are standard on the Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Premium Performance trims., with color options comprising Jet Black seats with Brushed Aluminum trim, Light Platinum seats with High-Gloss Sapele Wood trim, or Light Neutral seats with Dark Olive Ash Wood trim. The Semi-Aniline leather interior is available on the Premium Luxury and Premium Performance trims. This interior allows for Kona Brown seats with suede microfiber back panel and Natural Finish Sapele Wood trim, or Morello Red seats with suede microfiber back panels and Carbon Fiber trim.

ATS Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

The trunk capacity of the ATS sedan is small, even for a compact luxury vehicle. A mere 10.4 cubic feet of space is available, but this is further hampered by the inconvenient shape of the trunk and the intrusion of the rear wheels into the compartment. Fitting eight shopping bags into this limited space would require some creative Tetris-playing. On the plus side, the rear seats do fold in a 60/40 split on the upper trims, which increases the overall capacity. However, the pass-through created to the trunk is not as wide as one might prefer.

The interior storage of the Cadillac is nothing special, nor is it particularly disappointing. There are door pockets, cupholders, a glove compartment, and a center armrest compartment, but they are slightly smaller than one might expect compared to rival compact sedans. There is also a compartment behind the climate control panel designed to store a smartphone, but this is more of a novelty than a functional space.

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Right Side in Motion
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Rear View
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Rear Badge
  • Trunk Volume
    10.4 ft³

ATS Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

The ATS is well-equipped even in its base trim. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry and ignition, power accessories, six-way power-adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, and wireless charging capabilities, with heated front seats and a sunroof being optional add-ons. Going up the trim levels, adaptive remote start, front and rear parking assist, an eight-way power-adjustable front seats, and a 110-volt rear power outlet are added as standard to the Luxury. The Premium Luxury adds the Driver Awareness Package, HID headlamps, and paddle gear-shift controls on the steering will. The sunroof also becomes standard at this trim level. The top-tier Premium Performance trim incorporates everything the lower trims offer as well as performance tires, and a heads-up display of vital information on the windshield.

Infotainment

Even at the entry-level, the ATS is an extremely well-connected luxury sedan. With the 2018-model CUE multimedia system, you get an eight-inch touchscreen and configurable profiles that can be saved to the cloud for use on multiple vehicles. The navigation system has also been redesigned to incorporate over-the-air updates. Users of the myCadillac app can now also connect it to their Apple Watch. Other standard features on the Cadillac ATS include a ten-speaker Bose sound system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, OnStar Basic and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and three USB ports.

ATS Sedan Problems and Reliability

The Cadillac ATS has not received any significant complaints since 2015, even though there were several recalls between 2014-2015 for faulty roof panels and defogger antennas, as well as incorrectly attached seats. Despite this pretty good track record, the ATS is rated poorly by J.D. Power, receiving only 2.5 out of five for reliability. New Cadillacs offer a 36,000-mile/36-month bumper-to-bumper warranty, 70,000-mile/72-month powertrain warranty and roadside assist, and 36,000-mile/36-month maintenance. However, the validity and duration of these warranties need to be discussed with the dealer when buying second hand.

ATS Sedan Safety

The NHTSA awarded the ATS five stars in each of its crash tests, the best possible result. The IIHS only tested the sedan for frontal crash, for which it awarded the vehicle a superior rating when equipped with an auto emergency brake, but a basic rating with forward collision warning only.

Key Safety Features

The ATS is a very safe vehicle, incorporating a high-strength steel safety cage in its chassis along with six airbags - dual front, front side, side curtain. Standard features comprise a rearview camera, traction control, electronic stability control, and OnStar Guidance. The addition of the Driver Awareness, Driver Assist, and Advanced Security packages adds a plethora of bonus features including forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward and reverse automatic braking.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan a good car?

The Cadillac ATS performs well for its segment, however, it is no more impressive than any of its competitors, such as the BMW 3 Series or Audi A4. Aside from an endearing chassis, it's fairly obscure, with an average build, unrefined engines, and middling performance. Still, the fact that it is competitive in such a saturated market is impressive. It is equipped with plenty of features as standard, with a reasonable $35,495 price tag. While the ATS offers excellent performance, it does so at the cost of ride quality, with cramped rear seats and inferior sound-dampening. The tiny trunk and poorly optimized interior controls also count against the ATS. Overall, it's not a bad buy if you're looking for a well-priced luxury sedan, but it's not the best buy out there. However, at the end of its life, you may find a sweet deal if you're willing to shop around.

What's the Price of the 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan?

The base model ATS has a competitive price tag of $35,495, impressive given the sheer number of features that come inclusive with this. The slightly enhanced Luxury trim starts at $39,295 while the Premium Luxury trim costs $44,895. The top-tier Premium performance is still a relatively good buy, considering all the extra performance add-ons it offers, coming in at $47,895. These prices do not include tax, licensing and registration, nor the $995 destination that Cadillac charges for delivery.

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Models

The Cadillac ATS range is composed of the base ATS, the Luxury, the Premium Luxury, and the Premium Performance models. The ATS base and Luxury come equipped with the 2.0-liter engine paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with the option of a six-speed manual. The Premium Luxury and Premium Performance replace the 2.0-liter with a 3.6-liter V6.

The base ATS features a comprehensive list of equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, OnStar 4G LTE and Wi-fi hotspot, an eight-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 10-speaker Bose sound system.

The Luxury adds convenience features with the addition of the Memory Package and adaptive remote start, a power outlet in the rear cabin, parking assist, and OnStar Navigation. The leatherette seats are also upgraded to leather seats with automatic heating for the front items.

The Premium Luxury adds some aesthetic changes but the main difference is the engine and the addition of the Driver Awareness Package, including forward collision alert, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keep assist.

The Premium Performance improves the driving experience by adding a limited-slip differential, performance tires and suspension, and upgrading the wheels to 18-inch alloys. The heads-up display is also a convenient way to access vehicle information without taking your eyes off the road.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0T Standard
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,495
2.0T Luxury
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,295
3.6L Premium Luxury
3.6-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$44,895
3.6L Premium Performance
3.6-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$47,895
See All 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Many of the packages available on the ATS become standard as you climb the trim levels. Nevertheless, those worth mentioning include the Driver Awareness Package and the Advanced Security Package. With the Driver Awareness Package, you get following distance indicator, forward collision and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning, lane-change alert with blind-spot monitoring, and rain-sensing wipers. The Advanced Security Package comprises a vehicle indication sensor, a locking fuel door, a shielded theft-deterrent alarm, a steering column lock, and locking wheel lugs.

What Cadillac ATS Sedan Model Should I Buy?

While the base ATS sedan is not lacking in features, the additional driver assistance and comfort options that come with higher trim levels are hard to pass up. In terms of value for money, the Premium Luxury trim is the best choice as it comes with the more powerful 3.6-liter V6 engine as well as the Driver Awareness Package and HID headlamps. The $44,895 MSRP price tag, a $5,000 step up in cost from the Luxury trim, is quite reasonable considering the performance and abundance of features offered in return.

Check out other Cadillac ATS Styles?

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan Comparisons

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan
2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan vs Cadillac CTS Sedan

The Cadillac CTS is the ATS's bigger brother, featuring a larger chassis and everything that goes with that, such as a much larger 13.7 cubic foot trunk. However, the rear seats still manage to feel cramped. While you might expect the larger car to have a stronger engine, the CTS's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts out a disappointing 268 hp, with the same 295 lb-ft. The optional 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6, however, produces a much more impressive 420 hp. The CTS also offers more features as standard, such as leather-appointed seats, an 11-speaker sound system, and voice-activated navigation. But is all this really worth the $10,000 price hike? If value-for-money is important to you, the ATS still looks like the better buy., while the CTS caters more towards luxury.

See Cadillac CTS Sedan Review

2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan vs Cadillac XTS

Like the CTS, the Cadillac XTS is a big brother to the ATS, only it's the much bigger brother. This results in a much more spacious interior and decent 18 cubic foot trunk. With its larger size, the XTS comes standard with an engine capable of moving such a luxury liner, in the form of a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 304 hp and 264 lb-ft. However, moving a car of this size comes at a price, with the XTS getting pretty poor fuel efficiency, just 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Naturally, the XTS comes with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a full-size luxury sedan, including heated leather seats and steering wheel, a premium sound system and infotainment system, and a plethora of driver assistance features. If luxury is your primary concern, and you can afford the extra $10,000 over the ATS, then skipping past the CTS and going straight for the XTS might be the better investment.

See Cadillac XTS Review

Cadillac ATS Sedan Popular Comparisons