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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I just joined the forum to add to my research of these ATSs. I've been looking at getting a new daily driver and the ATS has come up in my search but I'm not very familiar with them. The current one I'm looking at is just under 40k miles and is a 2013 with the 3.6l. As many have stated the car drives well, I'm just concerned about all the electronics. Does the CUE touchscreen have a high failure rate? I read a number of reviews about it failing and not being able to control anything afterwards. Seems like rear seals seem to be a thing also. Is that something I can work on myself? I am fairly mechanically inclined(I've replaced the whole suspension on my Tacoma).
Just looking for any advice from the folks that have experience with these cars.

Thanks in advance,
Rick
 

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2017 ATS Premium Luxury
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70 Posts
The CUE screens are definitely prone to failure, mostly because GM decided to use 20 year old tech for their touch screen, but there are aftermarket replacements that don’t appear to suffer the same fate for about $150. Pretty easy to replace yourself.

The rear seals should never fail as long as you inspect and clean out the differential vent regularly. Now, you wouldn’t expect to have to do this on this kind of car, but it just shows that bad designs happen at all levels.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The CUE screens are definitely prone to failure, mostly because GM decided to use 20 year old tech for their touch screen, but there are aftermarket replacements that don’t appear to suffer the same fate for about $150. Pretty easy to replace yourself.

The rear seals should never fail as long as you inspect and clean out the differential vent regularly. Now, you wouldn’t expect to have to do this on this kind of car, but it just shows that bad designs happen at all levels.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks for the response and the info about possible screen options.

I don't mind a little preventative maintenance but I hear you about having to do something that shouldn't have to be done. I guess with this one I'm looking at being RWD, I only have one diff to worry about.
 

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Prev: 2004+2007 CTS 3.6 - 2016 ATS 2.0T AWD Lux. Now: 2018 ATS 2.0T AWD Luxury
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You identified some of the main issues. Some 2.0T engines in 2013/2014 had problems and some
don't like the runflat tires.

2013 was the first model year, so it has more problems, although some with a 2013 say it's fine. "
In general, get the newest model year you can afford.
In 2015, the 2.0T added torque. If you find a 2015+ with the 2.0T, it's as basically as fast as the 3.6.

There is Base trim, Luxury adds more, Perf + Prem. The last 2 add the better headlights.
 

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2013 ATS 3.6L AWD Performance
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After owning a 13 ATS4 with 3.6l, performance trim, for over 4 years and 65k miles, My advice would be to just avoid the ATS all together to be honest.
 

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2013 Luxury ATS 2.0T Manual
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I've had my 2013 for 4½ years and I have put 81,000 miles on it myself (it has a little more than 89,000 on the clock). If I could do it all over again, I might have gotten a BMW 335xi, but, as they say, the grass isn't always greener. When the car was under warranty I had the diff fully replaced once and the seals replaced twice. Now, it's leaking again, but since it's on my dime I'm just going to keep the vent clean and change the fluid once or twice a year. That's WAY cheaper than ever having the seals replaced (I've seen $1,200 quotes) and not a ton of work to do (if you can get the plugs out, but that's my problem, not a general, chronic one).

CUE's digitizer, the part you actually touch, does fail pretty often, it seems. I replaced mine myself last year, so it was five years old when it started to go. I spent $40 on the part (I went the direct from China route which can sometimes be a crap-shoot) and spent an hour and half to do the repair. I don't think I'm ever going to have to do the repair again, though, but now that I've done it once, I think I could do it in half the time. There's a write-up on this forum that was very helpful.

Now, reasons I would take the BMW over the ATS. (These are my reasons, so they might not apply to most). More power with a manual transmission. If Cadillac offered the 3.6L with a stick, that would have been the one I would have gotten. You're already looking at the V6, so this is moot. The Caddy 6 also has the advantage of running on regular gas. Another thing I can't stand about my ATS is that everything in the center stack is a touch control. There are no real buttons and no knobs at all. Need to turn on the rear defroster for the hundredth time? You can't just feel around for it and rely on your muscle memory, you have to actually look over, taking your eyes off the road, and press it, being careful not to touch anything else by accident (which can be tough when you're going over bumps, too). Along with that, CUE (pre-2019 or mid 2018) has not Summary screen. If it's on the radio screen, all you get is the radio with a bunch of wasted, dead space all over. If you're on the HVAC screen, all you get is HVAC info and controls. Yes, there are some "buttons" to control some things without actually being on the screen, but it's not all things. That being said, I have mine on the radio 99% of the time since the Auto HVAC setting keeps things pretty perfect and I don't need to adjust anything. Sometimes I just need to adjust the temp up or down which has its own "buttons" below the screen.

Now, the reasons I love my ATS is that, between 2013 and 2015, you can timeshift the radio. Running into a store and there's an awesome song on? You can pause that, turn the car off, do your shopping, and pick up where you left off when you get back (up to about 20 minutes). Get a phone call? you can do the same. Even better, now that you have a buffer, you can fast forward through ads. I think each press is about 30 seconds. It works both ways, too. Weren't paying attention to something and only caught the end, you can rewind. It's always recording (although it does flush the buffer when you switch stations). This feature was taken away in 2016 with the introduction of Apple Car Play/Android Auto. Also, you can get one with an LSD (why I would look at an AWD 3 series. They don't offer any with a limited slip diff). Although Cadillac didn't put the LSD on all RWD models, they are out there. Another big plus, for me, is that there are WAY more ATSes out there with the little door lock/unlock buttons on the exterior door handles. I HATE taking my keys out of my pocket. I put them in there in the morning and take them out when I get home. Very few BMWs came from the factory with that feature, but you can retrofit it for about $200.

That's just off the top of my head for the comparison. Other things are the car handles great, the RWD models have a really good turn radius. I love my heated seats AND heated steering wheel. I don't like how difficult they made some things to work on. If you like the features from higher trim models, get the higher trim model. There is no easy way to retrofit most features on this car. A lot of the electronics are encoded to your VIN. If you just try swapping the parts, they won't work. The battery's in the trunk, which is pretty normal and fine for such a well balanced and well handling car. What's annoying is that you have to take apart half the trunk to actually remove the thing. They gave you an access door, but they don't make it big enough for battery removal!

I'm sure I could go on an on. There are things that other people gripe about or praise that I couldn't care less about (evidently, a lot of people HATE the gauges. Couldn't care less.), I'm I'm sure there are a bunch of things I just forgot about or didn't think to mention, or that I hated at first, but I just misunderstood or found adequate workaround for. That's all cars, I suppose. One thing I can say is that the car makes me genuinely happy. Every car I've owned before this one has felt like a compromise, that I had to leave something on the table in order to own it. I don't feel that at all with my ATS.
 

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2013 ATS 3.6L Luxury
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Lot of complaints about the 8 speed GM automatic used in later years, not just in the ATS, but across all product lines. Rough up and down shifts, torque converter shudder. 2013 still has the 6 speed auto, much better rep. 3.6 is a pretty solid engine, but it does not have a smooth idle. I suspect it might be due to use of cams with greater duration to get more HP out of the engine vs lower HP versions GM put in other vehicles. But in exchange you get an engine with a very nice linear power curve that pulls right to redline.
 

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2013 Cadillac ATS
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117 Posts
Buy the base model with the 2.5 if you want dependability, 2013 through 2015. Stay away from anything turbocharged as a rule of thumb.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for everyone's feedback. I'm really going to rack my brain over this. The 3.6 was my go for the ATS cause I'm trying to stay away from turbo engines if possible. Although it helps at my elevation and mpg a bit, I don't really like the turbo lag and that leads me into tuning the car (another reason why I was shying away from getting an Audi).
I'm used to a slow daily driver, so I'm not opposed to the 2.5l but I don't know that they come with some of the features I really want like heated seats (my skinny ass doesn't gets cold easy).

They're asking around $16k for this car I test drove. It felt good and I wasn't hearing anything weird. I'll probably go back and do a more in-depth look as the weather dries up. I may just see how low I can get them on the price.
 

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Mercedes C300 Luxury - ATS retired (torque coverter shudder)
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These are really, really fun cars to drive SliMbo and one of the best handling, performing, looking and comfortable cars you can find for 16k. Over the years there haven't been a lot of reports of problems here with the engines. The 3.6's only recurring complaint has been rough idle which is usually dealt with by changing out the active motor mounts or a module reprogram. The 3.6 is a screamer and it sounds fantastic as only a non-turbo NA engine can, the engine is a good choice.

I had the 2013 2.5 base without CUE. The 202hp was sweet, eager and reliable (sounded wimpier than it was though). Even without CUE my infotainment system failed necessitating dealership repair, only $200 though.

CUE failure is fixable, the failing rear ends are fixable (when the parts are off back order) but the torque converter shuddering requires a full replacement of the torque converter and is highly likely in both the 6 speed and 8 speed. My 6 speed developed the torque converter shudder at 40k miles and I knew that even if I replaced it there was a high likelihood it would reoccur since GM hasn't bothered to design a reliable replacement in spite of a class action lawsuit for exactly this transmission problem (unfortunately, the 6 speed in the 2013's is not included in the class):

Bottom line, 16k isnt a lot of money for a car will put a smile on your face every time you drive it. At that price and mileage I'd buy it and if any of the issues posted become too annoying or expensive you can always sell it at a small loss and move on.

Good luck!
 

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2014 ATS 3.6 Premium RWD, 2016 Corvette Z06, 2018 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD Diesel
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I bought my 2014 new and after the first 500 miles it has been quite reliable. When it came from the factory, it had a damaged vapor storage canister (part of the evaporative emissions control system) and it took them four attempts to fix the problem and it would have been a lemon law if the dealership and GM hadn't agreed with my fix that they replace the canister, control valves, and lines as a group because once the charcoal fragments got into the lines it would never be reliable. They did as I requested and it never created another issue.

Mine is the premium RWD version with pretty much all of the options which are working. My major complaints are:

1. The CUE system is SLOW showing the reverse camera view when going from park to reverse. It isn't a huge deal since I don't rely on it in a car with good visibility but I am reminded of this goofiness every time I shift into reverse. I have no idea why and how GM's design team passed on such a stupid error. At times when using the nav system, it will pop up the nav map right in the middle of backing up which is "university level" stupid.

2. I have driven GM cars for years and excellent automatic climate control is something GM has done well for decades. The ATS is an exception with a flaky system better suited for a used Yugo than a Cadillac. It works better in manual mode and simply wasn't even close to being ready for prime time.

3. The user interface for all the systems basically sucks compared to most other GM products. As noted in a prior post, the designers chose to rely upon touch controls where physical controls would have been much better and especially for a car that is supposed to be a "driver's car". My 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali and 2016 Corvette Z06 are like other GM cars I have owned in the past, a driver interface system that never requires you to concentrate on the controls instead of the driving. I sometimes wonder if the final design decisions on this vehicle were signed off on by a summer intern rather than a seasoned GM design engineer. Some of it is that bad. I suspect the voice command control for the nav system improved in later years but for 2014 it is often lousy. The system works wonderfully on my other GM vehicles but if you get involved in a complex series of narrowing down the address via voice command, you are often rewarded with a "goodbye" as the system exits just as you were getting close to actually finishing address entry. The CUE version of Siri has probably learned some new and not so nice words from me that it doesn't interpret any better than typical direction commands :)

But now for the good: It has incredible handling for a daily driver. I can't throw it around or accelerate like the Z06 but it is an extremely well balanced platform and I really like the size. The 3.6L is a solid engine and I hate to see that Cadillac appears to be moving away from it but they really don't have anything new in the line that interests me so it isn't a big deal. The 3.6 provides a very nice balance of power and economy and provides all of the acceleration you need in a daily driver. A majority of my driving is on high speed 2 lane rural roads with a lot of slow agricultural traffic and the ability to move out and pass is important and the ATS does it with no drama. With my diesel pickup, there is a bit of turbo lag and with it I will pre-select a lower gear before pulling out to spin up the turbo and avoid the slower downshift speed of a very heavy duty transmission but the ATS doesn't require that type of planning and it isn't road speed governed at 98 MPH like the pickup :)

I do keep up with maintenance and do my own oil changes and use that as an opportunity to check over things including the rear axle. If the CUE screen breaks, it is user replaceable if you have a moderate degree of technical skill. The 3.6 runs fine on regular 87 octane HOWEVER in order to maximize economy it will shift into higher gears at very low road speed and if you hit the wrong combination of a moderate grade with moderate road speed, it will have light pre-ignition under those conditions. Paddling down one gear will take care of that issue. It isn't a heavy knock that will cause engine damage but under the rare conditions where it occurs it is annoying and reminds me of when GM first started touting their "electronic spark control" and ran engines under moderate load right on the ragged edge of knocking. Depending upon your road conditions, you likely will never encounter the knocking situation.

Rodger
 

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2013 ATS 2.0T AWD
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I've had my 2013 for 4½ years and I have put 81,000 miles on it myself (it has a little more than 89,000 on the clock). If I could do it all over again, I might have gotten a BMW 335xi, but, as they say, the grass isn't always greener. When the car was under warranty I had the diff fully replaced once and the seals replaced twice. Now, it's leaking again, but since it's on my dime I'm just going to keep the vent clean and change the fluid once or twice a year. That's WAY cheaper than ever having the seals replaced (I've seen $1,200 quotes) and not a ton of work to do (if you can get the plugs out, but that's my problem, not a general, chronic one).

CUE's digitizer, the part you actually touch, does fail pretty often, it seems. I replaced mine myself last year, so it was five years old when it started to go. I spent $40 on the part (I went the direct from China route which can sometimes be a crap-shoot) and spent an hour and half to do the repair. I don't think I'm ever going to have to do the repair again, though, but now that I've done it once, I think I could do it in half the time. There's a write-up on this forum that was very helpful.

Now, reasons I would take the BMW over the ATS. (These are my reasons, so they might not apply to most). More power with a manual transmission. If Cadillac offered the 3.6L with a stick, that would have been the one I would have gotten. You're already looking at the V6, so this is moot. The Caddy 6 also has the advantage of running on regular gas. Another thing I can't stand about my ATS is that everything in the center stack is a touch control. There are no real buttons and no knobs at all. Need to turn on the rear defroster for the hundredth time? You can't just feel around for it and rely on your muscle memory, you have to actually look over, taking your eyes off the road, and press it, being careful not to touch anything else by accident (which can be tough when you're going over bumps, too). Along with that, CUE (pre-2019 or mid 2018) has not Summary screen. If it's on the radio screen, all you get is the radio with a bunch of wasted, dead space all over. If you're on the HVAC screen, all you get is HVAC info and controls. Yes, there are some "buttons" to control some things without actually being on the screen, but it's not all things. That being said, I have mine on the radio 99% of the time since the Auto HVAC setting keeps things pretty perfect and I don't need to adjust anything. Sometimes I just need to adjust the temp up or down which has its own "buttons" below the screen.

Now, the reasons I love my ATS is that, between 2013 and 2015, you can timeshift the radio. Running into a store and there's an awesome song on? You can pause that, turn the car off, do your shopping, and pick up where you left off when you get back (up to about 20 minutes). Get a phone call? you can do the same. Even better, now that you have a buffer, you can fast forward through ads. I think each press is about 30 seconds. It works both ways, too. Weren't paying attention to something and only caught the end, you can rewind. It's always recording (although it does flush the buffer when you switch stations). This feature was taken away in 2016 with the introduction of Apple Car Play/Android Auto. Also, you can get one with an LSD (why I would look at an AWD 3 series. They don't offer any with a limited slip diff). Although Cadillac didn't put the LSD on all RWD models, they are out there. Another big plus, for me, is that there are WAY more ATSes out there with the little door lock/unlock buttons on the exterior door handles. I HATE taking my keys out of my pocket. I put them in there in the morning and take them out when I get home. Very few BMWs came from the factory with that feature, but you can retrofit it for about $200.

That's just off the top of my head for the comparison. Other things are the car handles great, the RWD models have a really good turn radius. I love my heated seats AND heated steering wheel. I don't like how difficult they made some things to work on. If you like the features from higher trim models, get the higher trim model. There is no easy way to retrofit most features on this car. A lot of the electronics are encoded to your VIN. If you just try swapping the parts, they won't work. The battery's in the trunk, which is pretty normal and fine for such a well balanced and well handling car. What's annoying is that you have to take apart half the trunk to actually remove the thing. They gave you an access door, but they don't make it big enough for battery removal!

I'm sure I could go on an on. There are things that other people gripe about or praise that I couldn't care less about (evidently, a lot of people HATE the gauges. Couldn't care less.), I'm I'm sure there are a bunch of things I just forgot about or didn't think to mention, or that I hated at first, but I just misunderstood or found adequate workaround for. That's all cars, I suppose. One thing I can say is that the car makes me genuinely happy. Every car I've owned before this one has felt like a compromise, that I had to leave something on the table in order to own it. I don't feel that at all with my ATS.
Great write up. You should be on Motorweek!
 

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17 ATS (ALICE)
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You identified some of the main issues. Some 2.0T engines in 2013/2014 had problems and some
don't like the runflat tires.

2013 was the first model year, so it has more problems, although some with a 2013 say it's fine. "
In general, get the newest model year you can afford.
In 2015, the 2.0T added torque. If you find a 2015+ with the 2.0T, it's as basically as fast as the 3.6.

There is Base trim, Luxury adds more, Perf + Prem. The last 2 add the better headlights.
I would wager to bet that my 2.0T in a manual is about as fast if not faster than the 3.6. With the option to tune the 2.0T for more horsepower it was a no brainier for me to buy my 17' 2.0T. Also if memory serves me correctly 2.0T in a manual is the lightest version of an ATS. As far as turbo lag, I wouldn't call it laggy, its a pretty linear progressive power curve. and not at all like audi's 1.8t engines
 

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CTS
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The rear seals should never fail as long as you inspect and clean out the differential vent regularly. Now, you wouldn’t expect to have to do this on this kind of car, but it just shows that bad designs happen at all levels.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Where exactly this went located on a differential body (is it related to all diffs or just only to LSDs)? And is there any specific procedure how to clean this went?
 

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2013 Luxury ATS 2.0T Manual
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Where exactly this went located on a differential body (is it related to all diffs or just only to LSDs)? And is there any specific procedure how to clean this went?
I think it's in the same spot on all the ATS diffs, but if you're looking at the diff from the rear, it's on top, just above the rear cover, on the right side. As far as cleaning it, not sure. I'm sure the best way would be to probably remove it and soak it in something. For reference, this is what it looks like:



That smooth metal part (not the threaded end) is loosely crimped on. It's there so that air can escape without letting dirt and dust in. When I jiggled mine, a lot of crud fell out. I think that helped, but I'm pretty sure it's far from clean. Also, for reference, you can find the part under this name "ACDelco® - GM Original Equipment™ Axle Vent Tube" and it's about $13.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Where exactly this went located on a differential body (is it related to all diffs or just only to LSDs)? And is there any specific procedure how to clean this went?
After doing some Youtube searches and looking around a few V series threads. It looked like some swapped the breather out for a Ford part that has a expansion bulb before the vent piece or some ran extension hose before the breather(exactly the same thing I did on my Tacoma to get the breather above water line of creek crossings). I don't think there's a way to clean the breather but for the cost of the part itself, it's better to just replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
These are really, really fun cars to drive SliMbo and one of the best handling, performing, looking and comfortable cars you can find for 16k. Over the years there haven't been a lot of reports of problems here with the engines. The 3.6's only recurring complaint has been rough idle which is usually dealt with by changing out the active motor mounts or a module reprogram. The 3.6 is a screamer and it sounds fantastic as only a non-turbo NA engine can, the engine is a good choice.

I had the 2013 2.5 base without CUE. The 202hp was sweet, eager and reliable (sounded wimpier than it was though). Even without CUE my infotainment system failed necessitating dealership repair, only $200 though.

CUE failure is fixable, the failing rear ends are fixable (when the parts are off back order) but the torque converter shuddering requires a full replacement of the torque converter and is highly likely in both the 6 speed and 8 speed. My 6 speed developed the torque converter shudder at 40k miles and I knew that even if I replaced it there was a high likelihood it would reoccur since GM hasn't bothered to design a reliable replacement in spite of a class action lawsuit for exactly this transmission problem (unfortunately, the 6 speed in the 2013's is not included in the class):

Bottom line, 16k isnt a lot of money for a car will put a smile on your face every time you drive it. At that price and mileage I'd buy it and if any of the issues posted become too annoying or expensive you can always sell it at a small loss and move on.

Good luck!
Thanks for the info. The car was definitely nice to drive but I'll have to go drive it again and see if I can notice any shudder now that I have a better idea of what to look for. The touch screen replacing and diff service/breather check are stuff I can do but I really want to get some years out of this car purchase so the torque converter is probably my biggest concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I bought my 2014 new and after the first 500 miles it has been quite reliable. When it came from the factory, it had a damaged vapor storage canister (part of the evaporative emissions control system) and it took them four attempts to fix the problem and it would have been a lemon law if the dealership and GM hadn't agreed with my fix that they replace the canister, control valves, and lines as a group because once the charcoal fragments got into the lines it would never be reliable. They did as I requested and it never created another issue.

Mine is the premium RWD version with pretty much all of the options which are working. My major complaints are:

1. The CUE system is SLOW showing the reverse camera view when going from park to reverse. It isn't a huge deal since I don't rely on it in a car with good visibility but I am reminded of this goofiness every time I shift into reverse. I have no idea why and how GM's design team passed on such a stupid error. At times when using the nav system, it will pop up the nav map right in the middle of backing up which is "university level" stupid.

2. I have driven GM cars for years and excellent automatic climate control is something GM has done well for decades. The ATS is an exception with a flaky system better suited for a used Yugo than a Cadillac. It works better in manual mode and simply wasn't even close to being ready for prime time.

3. The user interface for all the systems basically sucks compared to most other GM products. As noted in a prior post, the designers chose to rely upon touch controls where physical controls would have been much better and especially for a car that is supposed to be a "driver's car". My 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali and 2016 Corvette Z06 are like other GM cars I have owned in the past, a driver interface system that never requires you to concentrate on the controls instead of the driving. I sometimes wonder if the final design decisions on this vehicle were signed off on by a summer intern rather than a seasoned GM design engineer. Some of it is that bad. I suspect the voice command control for the nav system improved in later years but for 2014 it is often lousy. The system works wonderfully on my other GM vehicles but if you get involved in a complex series of narrowing down the address via voice command, you are often rewarded with a "goodbye" as the system exits just as you were getting close to actually finishing address entry. The CUE version of Siri has probably learned some new and not so nice words from me that it doesn't interpret any better than typical direction commands :)

But now for the good: It has incredible handling for a daily driver. I can't throw it around or accelerate like the Z06 but it is an extremely well balanced platform and I really like the size. The 3.6L is a solid engine and I hate to see that Cadillac appears to be moving away from it but they really don't have anything new in the line that interests me so it isn't a big deal. The 3.6 provides a very nice balance of power and economy and provides all of the acceleration you need in a daily driver. A majority of my driving is on high speed 2 lane rural roads with a lot of slow agricultural traffic and the ability to move out and pass is important and the ATS does it with no drama. With my diesel pickup, there is a bit of turbo lag and with it I will pre-select a lower gear before pulling out to spin up the turbo and avoid the slower downshift speed of a very heavy duty transmission but the ATS doesn't require that type of planning and it isn't road speed governed at 98 MPH like the pickup :)

I do keep up with maintenance and do my own oil changes and use that as an opportunity to check over things including the rear axle. If the CUE screen breaks, it is user replaceable if you have a moderate degree of technical skill. The 3.6 runs fine on regular 87 octane HOWEVER in order to maximize economy it will shift into higher gears at very low road speed and if you hit the wrong combination of a moderate grade with moderate road speed, it will have light pre-ignition under those conditions. Paddling down one gear will take care of that issue. It isn't a heavy knock that will cause engine damage but under the rare conditions where it occurs it is annoying and reminds me of when GM first started touting their "electronic spark control" and ran engines under moderate load right on the ragged edge of knocking. Depending upon your road conditions, you likely will never encounter the knocking situation.

Rodger
Thanks for the comprehensive info.
 
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