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2018 Cadillac ATS Review

The 2018 Cadillac ATS ranks near the middle third of the competitive luxury small car class. The ATS has a strong engine, sharp handling, and a quality interior, but its cramped back seat, frustrating dashboard layout, and below-average predicted reliability rating keep it from ranking higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine lineup
  • Agile handling
  • Lots of standard features
  • Awkward dashboard controls
  • Small rear seat and trunk




Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 6.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.0
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Cadillac ATS Overview

Is the 2018 Cadillac ATS a Good Used Car?

The Cadillac ATS is a decent option if you’re shopping for a used luxury small car.

The 2018 ATS has several strengths:

  • Available in coupe and sedan body styles
  • Sporty, athletic handling
  • Muscular four- and six-cylinder engines
  • Lots of available safety features
  • Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Low asking prices

It does have several drawbacks though:

  • Jittery ride quality on rough pavement
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Small trunk space
  • Distracting touch-sensitive infotainment buttons
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

Consider alternatives like the 2018 Audi A4 or 2018 Kia Stinger if you want a luxury car with a roomier cabin and a simpler infotainment system. Both also rate higher for predicted reliability.

Compare the ATS, A4, and Stinger »

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 67 Cadillac ATS reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2018 Cadillac ATS?

Based on listings for the 2018 Cadillac ATS on our site, the average price is $31,500. Prices range from $24,000 to $39,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Cadillac ATS Cost to Own?

The ATS’ five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $29,700, or $5,940 per year. That’s a bit higher than average for a luxury small car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New ATS?

The price of a 2019 Cadillac ATS starts at around $39,000. You can save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used 2017 or 2018 ATS instead. The 2019 ATS is only available as a coupe, and manual transmission is only offered in the high-performance – and pricey – ATS-V variant. The 2017 and 2018 models come in both coupe and sedan body styles, and the manual transmission is available with the turbo four-cylinder engine.

Read about the new Cadillac ATS »

You can save even more money by shopping for a used 2013 to 2016 ATS. These models are part of the same generation, and they are available with many of the same convenience and safety features. There are a few differences though. The ATS coupe body style wasn’t available until the 2015 model year, and the 464-horsepower ATS-V didn’t arrive until 2016. Additionally, only the 2016-and-newer models are available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 ATS »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Cadillac ATS?

The ATS has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about ATS reliability »

2018 Cadillac ATS Recalls

At the time of writing, there was one recall for the 2018 ATS:

  • Fuel pump may detach from its mounting bracket

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Cadillac ATS safety recalls »

Which Used Cadillac ATS Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Cadillac ATS is available in coupe and sedan body styles and five trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, Premium Performance, and ATS-V. Most shoppers should be pleased with the base ATS model, which offers good performance and a wide array of standard features. You’ll need to opt for one of the Premium trims if you’re looking for more advanced safety features.

  • Cadillac ATS: The entry-level ATS has a 272-horsepower four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are available. Standard features include an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, three USB ports, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Bose stereo, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a smartphone charging pad, keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather seats, heated side mirrors, a rearview camera, and alloy wheels.
  • Cadillac ATS Luxury: The uplevel ATS Luxury trim gains leather seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, parking sensors, and remote start.
  • Cadillac ATS Premium Luxury: The midrange Premium Luxury trim includes a 335-horsepower V6 engine, a sunroof, adaptive headlights, and a Driver Awareness package. This suite of safety features includes forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic high-beam headlights.
  • Cadillac ATS Premium Performance: This sport-tuned trim comes with a limited-slip rear differential, an adaptive suspension (Magnetic Ride Control), and a head-up display.
  • Cadillac ATS-V: The racy ATS-V model features a twin-turbocharged V6 engine with 464 horsepower, as well as high-performance brakes and sport seats.

See 2018 Cadillac ATS trims and specs »

What Does Cadillac's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Cadillac offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles four years old or less and with fewer than 50,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Qualifying 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.

Cadillac’s CPO program is OK, according to our analysis, but several luxury carmakers offer better programs. These include Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, and Acura.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the ATS?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 ATS a five-star overall safety rating, which is the highest score given. The ATS received five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. ATS-V models received a four-star overall rating, with five stars in the side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the frontal crash evaluation.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not fully evaluate the 2018 ATS. However, it gave the ATS the lowest rating of Poor for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead. Front crash prevention ratings depend on how the vehicle is equipped. When equipped with automatic emergency braking, the ATS earned a top rating of Superior. Models with only forward collision warning received the lowest rating of Basic.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (lets you do things like set limits on speed and audio volume for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • front and rear parking sensors
  • adaptive pivoting headlights
  • forward collision warning
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane departure warning
  • lane keep assist
  • automatic high-beam headlights
  • Safety Alert Seat (vibrates to warn the driver of potential hazards)
  • head-up display
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control

See ATS safety scores »

2018 Cadillac ATS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Cadillac ATS or 2018 BMW 3 Series?

The 2018 BMW 3 Series is a great option in this class. Both the 3 Series and ATS offer agile handling and muscular engine options. However, the BMW has a roomier interior and cargo space, an easier-to-use infotainment system, and a smoother ride. The 3 Series also rates higher for predicted reliability. Though the 3 Series is typically priced higher than comparable ATS models, it's the better option for most shoppers.

Which Is Better: 2018 Cadillac ATS or 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Cadillac ATS and 2018 Mercedes C-Class draw a number of common complaints. Both have snug rear seats and complicated infotainment controls. Both also rate lower than average for predicted reliability. The pair diverge when it comes to value and driving dynamics, however. The ATS feels lighter and sportier through turns, and it typically demands much lower asking prices. The C-Class, on the other hand, offers a smoother ride and one of the most luxe cabins in this segment. Neither are top picks, but the Mercedes’ interior earns it a higher ranking.

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

2018 ATS Performance

How Does the 2018 Cadillac ATS Drive?

The 2018 ATS delivers a sporty driving experience. The ATS feels lightweight and remarkably stable around turns. Its steering is quick and responsive, and its brakes provide strong stopping power. The ATS rides comfortably at higher speeds, but at lower speeds its firm suspension tends to jiggle and jolt over rough pavement, even when equipped with the available Magnetic Ride Control system of adaptive shock absorbers.

The ATS has a trio of engines to choose from, and there’s no slowpoke in the lineup. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard in lower trims. It sounds a bit gruff under hard acceleration, but it packs more than enough power to confidently hustle this Cadillac up to speed. Higher trim levels are paired with a V6 engine that offers similar thrust but a more-refined sound. At the top of the line is the ATS-V. It packs a twin-turbocharged V6 that can rocket the Cadillac from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds.

  • Base engine: 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:
    • 3.6-liter V6 with 335 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque
    • 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque (ATS-V)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard eight-speed automatic; available six-speed manual (RWD only)
Does the 2018 Cadillac ATS Get Good Gas Mileage?

The ATS gets decent fuel economy for a luxury small car.

  • 2.0-liter, automatic, RWD: 22/31 mpg city/highway
  • 2.0-liter, automatic, AWD: 22/30 mpg
  • 2.0-liter, manual, RWD: 20/29 mpg
  • 3.6-liter, RWD: 20/30 mpg
  • 3.6-liter, AWD: 19/27 mpg
  • ATS-V, automatic, RWD: 17/25 mpg
  • ATS-V, manual, RWD: 16/23 mpg

Read more about ATS performance »

2018 ATS Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 ATS Seat?

The 2018 ATS is available in two body styles: a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan. The ATS coupe has four seats, and the ATS sedan has five. The front seats are supportive, and the driving position is comfortable, even for longer road trips. Front headroom is a bit snug for taller drivers and passengers though. The ATS’ rear seats offer ample space for kids, but adults may find head- and legroom too tight for comfort, especially in coupe models.

The ATS’ interior is handsomely styled, and it muffles most road and wind noise. Many surfaces are trimmed with quality upholstery and soft-touch plastics.

Standard seating features:

  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • genuine leather upholstery
  • heated front seats
  • bolstered sport seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Cadillac ATS?

The ATS sedan and coupe have two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. The hardware is reasonably easy to use, and there’s enough room in the back to fit most car seats.

2018 Cadillac ATS Features

The ATS comes standard with a wide array of convenience features, including an 8-inch touch screen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This display is user-friendly and operates like a smartphone, thanks to its simple pinch, tap, and swipe commands. The rest of the dashboard isn’t so easy to use. Instead of conventional buttons and knobs, the ATS’ center stack has touch-sensitive buttons and sliders that manage the audio and climate controls. This Cadillac User Experience setup may look sleek and modern, but it’s distracting to use while driving.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, three USB ports, HD Radio, satellite radio, a 10-speaker Bose stereo, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a smartphone charging pad
  • Available infotainment features: a navigation system and Performance Data Recorder (a forward-facing camera for recording track driving footage)
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, and push-button start
  • Other available features: remote start and a sunroof

See 2018 Cadillac ATS specs »

Read more about ATS interior »

2018 Cadillac ATS Dimensions

Cadillac ATS Cargo Space

The ATS sedan and coupe have just 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s less than what many other luxury small cars offer, such as the 2018 BMW 2 Series and 2018 Jaguar XE.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Cadillac ATS Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 3 inches to 15 feet, 5 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,373 to 3,812 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Cadillac ATS Built?

Cadillac built the 2018 ATS coupe and sedan in Michigan.


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