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2013 Cadillac ATS Review

The 2013 Cadillac ATS has nimble handling, punchy engine performance, and good safety ratings. However, its cramped back seat, tricky infotainment system, and low reliability score sink it to the bottom of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Muscular engine options
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Small trunk
  • Cumbersome infotainment controls




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 6.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Cadillac ATS Overview

Is the 2013 Cadillac ATS a Good Used Car?

A used Cadillac ATS isn’t a good option if you’re shopping for a 2013 luxury small car. While the ATS boasts sports car handling and many advanced safety features, its low reliability rating and cramped rear seats make this Cadillac hard to recommend. There are better fun-to-drive alternatives, like the 2013 Audi A4.

Used 2013 Cadillac ATS Performance and Interior

The Cadillac ATS has three engine options. Base models have an underpowered four-cylinder with 202 horsepower. The available 321-horsepower V6 and 272-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder are better picks. Both scoot the Cadillac up to speed swiftly and provide brawny passing power.

A six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is available for V6 and turbo-four models. A six-speed manual transmission is available for turbo-four models only. Both transmissions are refined, but it’s the automatic that earns particular praise for its prompt gear changes.

Fuel economy estimates are good for all three engines. The four-cylinder gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Depending on transmission and drive type, the turbo-four earns from 21/31 to 19/29 mpg city/highway, and the V6 gets from 19/27 to 18/26 mpg.

The ATS complements its sporty powertrain with razor-sharp driving dynamics. The car feels stable and well-balanced around corners. The steering is quick and provides good feedback, and the brakes slow the sedan confidently. If there is a drawback, the ATS has a rather firm ride, even when paired with its available Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension. It’s not exactly uncomfortable in everyday driving, but comparably sporty rivals like the BMW 3 Series are more forgiving on rough roads.

Read more about ATS performance »

The Cadillac ATS is a four-door sedan with seating for five. The front seats are supportive and provide a fine driving position. There’s ample front head- and legroom as well, even for tall drivers or passengers. The rear seats aren’t very spacious. Legroom is especially tight, and headroom is only adequate. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. The Cadillac’s trunk measures only 10.4 cubic feet, which is small by class standards. The rear seats can fold in a 60/40-split to accommodate larger items, but not in Standard or Performance models, which have fixed seatbacks.

The ATS’ cabin continues to hit and miss. The dashboard is elegantly styled, fashioned with crisp wood and metallic accents, soft-touch plastics, and rich upholstery. The interior muffles out most road and wind noise as well. Unfortunately, the CUE infotainment system isn’t user-friendly. Functions are split between an 8-inch touch screen at the top of the dashboard and touch-sensitive buttons beneath. These buttons and sliders look modern, but are clumsy to use while driving. It’s easy to press the wrong button or over-adjust the volume and climate controls. The ATS Standard model has a smaller 4.2-inch display screen, along with the same touch-sensitive controls.

Read more about ATS interior »

Used 2013 Cadillac ATS Prices

The price of a used 2013 ATS sedan ranges from about $14,000 for a base model to $16,700 for a Premium V6 model. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 37 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 37 Cadillac ATS reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experienced combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Cadillac ATS?

The ATS sedan has poor reliability, earning two out of five points from J.D. Power.

See ATS reliability scores »

How Safe Is the ATS?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Cadillac ATS a perfect five-star rating in all four areas tested. Cadillac offers the ATS with an available rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive headlights that pivot to illuminate turns. The available Driver Awareness package adds forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and GM’s Safety Alert Seat (vibrates to warn drivers of potential hazards). The Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

See ATS safety scores »

Is the 2013 ATS the Best Model Year to Buy?

Cadillac launched the ATS as an all-new model for 2013. There were no major updates for 2014, so you can save money and still get the same features in used 2013 models. That said, Cadillac introduced a two-door coupe variant for the 2015 model year. The high-performance ATS-V model arrived in 2016.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 ATS »

Which Used Cadillac ATS Is Right for Me?

Cadillac offers the 2013 ATS in four trims: Standard, Luxury, Performance, and Premium. The ATS Standard trim includes a 4.2-inch display screen, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB inputs, cruise control, remote keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, leatherette seats, and alloy wheels.

The Cadillac ATS Luxury trim adds leather seats, an 8-inch touch screen, remote start, parking sensors, and a rearview camera. The Cadillac ATS Performance trim adds the Driver Awareness package and adaptive headlights. The Cadillac ATS Premium trim adds heated seats (front), a navigation system, a head-up display, and an adaptive suspension. Many of these features were optional in lower trims.

You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned ATS. Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicles see the original new-car limited warranty extended to six years or 100,000 miles. Cadillac CPO models must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Cadillac’s warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Cadillac certified pre-owned program »

2013 Cadillac ATS and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Cadillac ATS or 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Mercedes C-Class can’t match the sports car handling that the ATS offers, but if that’s a concession you’re willing to make, the Mercedes-Benz is a far better buy. The C-Class has a comfier ride, a higher-quality interior, and a simpler infotainment system. It also rates higher for reliability.

Which Is Better: 2013 Cadillac ATS or 2013 BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series sedan and Cadillac ATS both reward with athletic handling. But it’s the BMW that impresses more in day-to-day driving. The 3 Series offers a smoother ride, roomier interior space, an easier-to-use iDrive infotainment system, and turbocharged engines with excellent punch and superior fuel economy (up to 23/35 mpg city/highway). It rates higher for reliability as well.

Which Is Better: 2013 Cadillac ATS or 2013 Cadillac CTS?

The ATS beats its larger Cadillac CTS sibling in a few key areas. The ATS has nicer cabin materials, better fuel economy, sharper handling, and more advanced safety features. Despite this, the CTS is still the better pick of these two luxury sedans. It offers roomier seating space, simpler dashboard controls, and far higher reliability ratings. Plus, if you want high performance, there’s a 556-horsepower CTS-V model.

Compare the ATS, C-Class, and 3 Series »

Best 2013 Luxury Small Cars

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    $15,337 - $30,062 AVG. PAID

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  • #14

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See the full 2013 Luxury Small Cars rankings »

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