2018 Cadillac ATS

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MSRP: $35,495 - 63,795

2018 Cadillac ATS Review

The 2018 Cadillac ATS ranks in the top third of its class. The ATS rates well for crash safety and offers athletic handling and strong engine performance. However, its quirky infotainment system and tight rear seats leave much to be desired.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 7.3
Safety: N/A
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Muscular engine lineup
  • Engaging driving dynamics
  • Long list of standard features
  • Excellent crash test ratings


  • Quirky and distracting infotainment system
  • Slim back seat and trunk
  • Mediocre gas mileage


Is the Cadillac ATS a Good Car?

The 2018 ATS is a good option if you’re shopping for a luxury small car. The ATS impresses with crisp driving dynamics, a trio of powerful engine options, and excellent crash test ratings. The Cadillac also has an abundance of standard features. It’s not all great news, though. Some of those features aren’t very user-friendly, and the ATS’ back seat is narrow and cramped. Its ride quality may be too firm for some tastes as well.

Should I Buy the Cadillac ATS?

The fun-to-drive ATS is a good value in the luxury small car class, and it deserves a look from anyone shopping in this segment. Still, there are better options – like the Kia Stinger and Audi A4. They offer refined handling without a firm ride or cramped back seats. The Stinger is considerably less expensive than the ATS as well.

Compare the ATS, Stinger, and A4 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Cadillac ATS?

Cadillac made no major changes to the ATS for 2018. If you're open to buying a used car, you can save thousands of dollars by shopping for an otherwise identical 2017 model. You can save even more by considering older models, but you'll have to take some significant year-to-year changes into account. For 2017, the ATS added a touch screen to its list of standard features, so be aware that previous models may not have this. Cadillac also dropped the ATS’ 202-horsepower base engine for 2017, making the 272-horsepower turbo engine the new standard power plant. For 2016, an eight-speed automatic transmission became standard, the high-performance ATS-V model made its debut, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay became available.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Cadillac ATS. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Cadillac ATS »
We Did the Research for You: 67 Reviews Analyzed

Our Cadillac ATS review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 60 sources and combined them with concrete data like performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and safety features to help you make an informed buying decision. This 2018 Cadillac ATS review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2013 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Cadillac ATS Cost?

Prices for the Cadillac ATS start at $35,495 for sedan models and $38,495 for coupe models. The high-performance ATS-V sedan and coupe start at $61,595 and $63,795, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

Cadillac ATS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Cadillac ATS or BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is another good option in this class. Both the 3 Series and ATS have sporty driving dynamics and potent engine options, but you'll get a more powerful engine in the base model ATS than you will in the 3 Series. In fact, getting comparable performance in the BMW would cost thousands of dollars more. Despite this drawback, the 3 Series has an edge in most other areas. It boasts more rear-seat space and a larger trunk. The BMW also has an easier-to-use infotainment system. Its ride quality is smoother, and if you need even more room, the 3 Series is also offered in hatchback (Gran Turismo) and Sports Wagon body styles. Though the ATS is a good value, the 3 Series is the better car to live with day to day.

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

It’s a similar story with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The ATS offers a fun driving experience for thousands of dollars less than the C-Class. However, if you want a truly well-rounded package and have the funds, go with the Benz. The C-Class outdoes the ATS with one of the swankiest interiors in the segment, a smoother ride, and a longer list of standard features. It can even go toe-to-toe with the sporty ATS in its muscular AMG trim levels.

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

ATS Interior

How Many People Does the ATS Seat?

The ATS sedan seats five people, though the two-door ATS coupe only seats four. In either model, the front seats are cozy, with upgrades like leather, heat, and power adjustments available. Space is tighter in the back seat (especially in coupe models), though there's more legroom in the ATS than in the Infiniti Q60 and BMW 2 Series coupes.

ATS and Car Seats

The ATS has two sets of lower anchors on the rear outboard seats, three tether anchors in sedan models, and two tether anchors in coupe models. The LATCH hardware is reasonably easy to use, and there's enough room in the back to fit most car seats.

ATS Interior Quality

The interior of the ATS feels sleek and modern, with handsome styling and ample high-end materials. Synthetic leather is standard, but that isn't unusual for a luxury car at this price point. Plenty of swanky upgrades – including semi-aniline leather seats, brushed aluminum inlays, and red carbon fiber trim – are available.

ATS Cargo Space

The ATS has 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space. This pales in comparison to almost every rival in the segment, including the Kia Stinger (23.3 cubic feet), Jaguar XE (15.9 cubic feet), and BMW 3 Series (13 cubic feet).

ATS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The ATS comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen and user favorites like Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, USB ports, and a premium Bose stereo. This system works fine overall, but you can expect some hiccups from the audio and climate controls. These buttons – located beneath the screen – are touch-sensitive and provide haptic feedback (a slight vibration) when you press them. They tend to be more distracting than helpful.

Read more about interior »

ATS Performance

ATS Engine: 3 Robust Options

There's no shortage of power with the ATS, whether you roll with the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine or opt for the upgraded 3.6-liter V6. For ultimate performance, pick the ATS-V, which features a twin-turbocharged V6 engine that cranks out 464 horsepower. Depending on the trim and body style, Cadillac lets you pick between an eight-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual. The standard engine takes some criticism for being a little noisy and coarse.

ATS Gas Mileage: Extra Thirsty

With its standard four-cylinder engine, the ATS gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. That isn't very fuel-efficient for a small car. In comparison, the Mercedes-Benz CLA has a 24 mpg city/37 mpg highway fuel economy rating. However, the V6 model's fuel economy is respectable among six-cylinder rivals: 20/30 mpg city/highway.

ATS Ride and Handling: Agile and Fun

The ATS offers particularly sporty driving dynamics. Brembo performance brakes and a sport-tuned suspension system are standard. The suspension keeps the ATS firmly planted in the corners for outstanding agility, but the ride may feel too firm for some luxury car owners.

Read more about performance »

ATS Reliability

Is the Cadillac ATS Reliable?

The 2018 ATS has a great predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Cadillac ATS Warranty

Cadillac covers the ATS with a four-year/50,000-mile new-car limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

ATS Safety

ATS Crash Test Results

The 2018 ATS aces every crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, earning a perfect five-star overall safety rating. The ATS-V sedan, however, earns four stars overall and in the front crash test.

ATS Safety Features

The ATS comes standard with a rearview camera and GM's Teen Driver system. This feature lets you set limits on the stereo volume and vehicle speed (among other settings), helping you breathe a little easier when someone else is driving your car. Available safety features include front and rear parking sensors, a safety alert seat, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, lane change alert with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist with departure warning, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic emergency braking, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Which Cadillac ATS Model Is Right for Me?

Choices for the 2018 ATS sedan start with its four main trim levels. The base and Luxury models are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and the Premium Luxury and Premium Performance come with a V6. Each trim also comes in a two-door coupe body style, adding around $3,000 to the price. The range-topping ATS-V is the high-performance edition, boasting a twin-turbocharged V6 under the hood. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, and on select models, a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive are available. 

For a nice blend of features without breaking the bank, we recommend the ATS Luxury trim. Leather upholstery and heated front seats – two essential elements for any luxury car – are among its notable additions. See below for each trim's highlights.

Cadillac ATS

Standard technology in the base ATS ($35,495) includes Cadillac’s CUE infotainment interface, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless charging for enabled smartphones, an 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, three USB ports, satellite radio, a Bose 10-speaker sound system, a rearview camera, and Teen Driver assist. This trim also comes with leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, proximity keyless entry, remote start, alloy wheels, and run-flat tires.

Cadillac ATS Luxury

A navigation system, leather seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and front and rear parking sensors are included in the $39,295 ATS Luxury.

Cadillac ATS Premium Luxury

The ATS Premium Luxury ($44,895) gets not only the more powerful V6 engine and a sunroof but also a full suite of advanced safety systems. A safety alert seat, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, lane change alert with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist with departure warning, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic high beams are among its standard features.

Cadillac ATS Premium Performance

A number of high-performance components – including include GM's Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, a head-up display, and a limited-slip rear differential – make up the ATS Premium Performance ($47,895).

Cadillac ATS-V

Like the other trim levels, V-Series models are available as a sedan ($61,595) and a coupe ($63,795). A twin-turbocharged V6 engine with a 464-horsepower rating powers this sporty edition. It also comes with Magnetic Ride Control suspension, high-performance brakes, quad exhaust tips, an uprated engine cooling system, and active noise cancellation.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

See 2018 Cadillac ATS specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Cadillac ATS is a satisfying option for those who delight in a rousing sports sedan. Other models in the lineup include a two-door coupe and the high-performance ATS-V. Its infotainment system isn't the easiest to use (though it does come well-equipped), and space is a little tight beyond the front seats. For some, these limitations curb its appeal as a daily driver so take a close look before you buy.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The name Cadillac may be associated with big-car luxury and comfort, but the 2017 Cadillac ATS most definitely defies that convention. It is a sport sedan first and foremost, a driver's car intended to outdo the most athletic sedans from Germany with a chassis tuned on that country's famous Nurburgring circuit -- the very place where the world's best high-performance cars are tested and fine-tuned. For those looking for a sport sedan to engage and occasionally thrill, the ATS should definitely be considered." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "The 2017 Cadillac ATS has eye-catching, angular sheet metal that definitely sets it apart. It also boasts impressively agile handling and many technology features. Practicality might be an issue, but otherwise the ATS is a fine choice for a distinctive luxury sedan." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The 2017 Cadillac ATS luxury-performance series has not only proven itself worthy of world-class status, it actually has some German rivals running to play catch-up. In its more subtle clothing, the compact ATS performance sedan and coupe offer sophisticated luxury and outstanding performance credentials easily the equal of cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The gloves come off with the 464-horsepower 2017 Cadillac ATS-V, a track-inspired terror that chases down BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG cars without breaking a sweat." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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