$9,716 - $13,342

2013 Cadillac ATS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Cadillac ATS was new.


Performance: 8.0

Most reviewers enjoy driving the 2013 Cadillac ATS. They say that it has strong brakes, precise steering, a comfortable ride and powerful available engines. Test drivers also like its smooth manual and automatic transmissions, though several reviewers wish the manual was available with engines besides the turbocharged four-cylinder.

  • "Short of back-to-back drives, we'll venture this: Measured by ‘light, nimble, fun’ and balance and inherent goodness, the ATS belongs in the same sentence as the BMW 3-series." -- AutoWeek
  • "The 2013 Cadillac ATS is an impressive all-around performer, thanks to a poised ride, sure-footed cornering capability and excellent response from the steering and brakes." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Cadillac ATS offers three engines and two transmissions. The base ATS has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 202 horsepower. If you want more power, you can upgrade to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 272 horsepower, or a 321-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6. A six-speed manual transmission is only available with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, while a six-speed automatic is paired with the base four-cylinder and V6 engines, and is available with the turbo motor. With the base engine, the ATS averages 22/33 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. Models with optional all-wheel drive and the 3.6-liter engine average 18/26 mpg.

Of the three engine choices, reviewers prefer the turbocharged and V6 engines over the base engine. They say the base engine isn’t as powerful as those found in competitors, though it is the best choice if fuel economy is your primary concern. The top-tier engines are not only more powerful, but reviewers say they also bring out the best in the manual and automatic transmissions. The manual transmission, which is only available with the turbocharged engine, is well-liked for its smooth shifts. Reviewers say the automatic transmission is responsive with quick shifts, and think it complements the V6 engine well. Some test drivers express disappointment that the manual transmission isn’t available with the other engines.

  • "The manual gearbox is precise, slick, and satisfying; the automatic is well matched to the engine's torquey output." -- Car and Driver
  • "At the practical level, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder powerplant gets the job done with 202 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission, but isn't interested in putting in overtime." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Meanwhile, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 packs a solid midrange punch and is the only choice in the ATS range that can be had with a manual gearbox. With 321 hp, the energetic V6 offers a sweet soundtrack and is well-matched to a very responsive automatic transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "GM's six-speed auto has been tuned up for performance duty and offers upshifts so quick, most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this torque converter auto and a dual-clutch unit. Downshifts, though still quite good, are where the torque converter loses time and a little composure. The six-speed manual, available only with the turbo four-cylinder engine, is a very nice box with short, crisp throws with a pleasant mechanical feel to them and an easy-to-modulate clutch." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Most test drivers are thoroughly impressed with the ATS’ handling and braking abilities. They say its steering is accurate and responsive, its ride isn’t too firm and its strong brakes bring the ATS to a solid stop, even at high speeds. One reviewer says that while the ATS’ steering and braking are accurate and responsive, neither places the ATS at the top of its class in those categories.

  • "In every setting, body motions are tightly controlled and the ride is surprisingly firm over Michigan's lousy pavement." -- Car and Driver
  • "On the road, it delivers excellent steering feel and an agile, well-balanced ride." -- Edmunds
  • "Steering's nicely centered, responsive. Suspension is firm, but not harsh. ... Brakes are wonderfully free of the spongy-pedal feel, and they seem to haul the car down promptly from high speed." -- USA Today
  • "The electric power steering is precise and well-tuned - not the best feedback I've experienced, but certainly not the worst. The brakes were similar - not the best feedback and pedal feel, but fine controllability, very linear on application and decent on release, both with the standard and Brembo brakes." -- Cars.com

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.