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Cadillac ATS: 2013 Car of the Year

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Monday, January 14, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

The Cadillac ATS has won the prestigious 2013 North American Car of the Year today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Cadillac ATS was named the winner, beating out the Ford Fusion and the Honda Accord.

The Cadillac ATS is new for 2013. The compact luxury sedan is the least expensive model that Cadillac builds, with a starting price of $33,095. Designed for performance, the ATS comes standard with sport suspension, 17-inch wheels, rear-wheel drive, and a 202-horsepower, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. Two other engines, a 272-horsepower, 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, and a 321-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, are available. It also comes in an optional all-wheel-drive version. All of the engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, while a six-speed manual is available with the turbocharged engine.

Standard interior features includes keyless access, push-button start, driver-reconfigurable head-up display, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, and Cadillac CUE entertainment and information system. Available features include performance seats with power-adjustable bolsters, navigation, rear-view camera, forward-collision and blind-spot alert systems, lane-departure warning, and adaptive front lighting.

Cadillac U.S. Vice President Don Butler (center-left) and Cadillac Global Vice President Bob Ferguson (center-right) receive the trophy naming the Cadillac ATS the 2013 North American Car of the Year.

The prestigious award is given by a group of 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. The group initially considers all cars that are new or substantially redesigned for 2013.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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Henry Baker
January 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I have had seven Cadillacs. 1977 Coupe de Ville was my first. Big, 427 four barrel, rode like a cloud. Then two Coupe de Villes, a 1977 and a 1992, both really nice cars, rode very well. Then we bought a 1998 Eldorado, beautiful pearl red with gold pinstripping with a star burst on both front fenders. The worst ride I have ever experienced in a car. I have ridden in pickup trucks and vans which had superior rides than this hack. The only Cadillac I bought new was a 1999 Deville,o d'Elgance, Beautiful color,White Diamond, nice big car, lots of room, Nine pieces of luggage could fit in the trunk. The closest description of the ride to which I could compare it is, if you were in the military, was a deuce and a half ( a 2 1/2 ton truck). The whole car shutters when even it goes over a small bump. The head gaskets had to be replaced at 55,212 miles. $3209. The right front stablizer bar is broken.

The 1997 STS was OK; the ride was not a Cadillac one.

Now the 2002 STS: Bad ride, same as the 1999. Now it has 152K miles, but it is a money pit: fuel pump, right front CV joint, starter, water pump, almost all the lights have been replaced, the right front headlight cost $1700, parts and labor, this was way over engineered, the bulb was $380 plus labor and the ballast was $700 plus labor. All this work was NOT done at any dealer!!! Do you think I'm is the market for another Caddie???

Joe McGuire
January 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I never quite understood why a U.S. car maker could find either the gumption or the brains build a car that could match the BWM 3-series but without feeling obligated to charge Cadillac prices. The BWMs that got the brand going here (and saved BMW in Germany) were not the huge tanks but the 4-cylinder BWM 1600 and the 2002, the latter having all of around 120 hp. People bought them because of how they drove. Imagine that! Of course, we being Americans, the Germans realized how nuts we are about "luxury" and the 2002 grew bigger and heavier and richer. I like the looks of the ATS and will give it a try.

Glenn McGrath
January 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

Not sure how valuable the "North American car of the year" title is. In 2001 the group thought the Chrysler PT Cruiser was the best car to buy. That's pretty lame. Some sources, like Consumer's Report, have given Caddies low reliability ratings in the past. I hope this new ATS is a great car. Our economy needs more winners!

Robert W. Henry
January 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

In 2005 Chrysler 300 was also voted as Car of the year. Chrysler shot them off the line and into the market so quick that they left a lot out of those vehicles. Smoothness, silent, transmission and interior seats using cheap materials. I know that GM wants to corner the market with its Car of the year. What it takes to own vehicles that the public never knows until the end when here in America with our vehicles...major things happen. While many of us own GM products..we are less likely to purchase them over the forigen vehicles which is causing problems here in america with all of the recalls. We are charging to much to own one of the higher ends vehicles, we as consumer are out of reach for them and I do know that we might see a lot of GM product being advertised and the looks of those vehicles are very impressive to us all, but unafordable. We here in America feel that to sale any products to consumers....those products has to be in reach. To all America automotive companies, it is what the consumers don't know about vehicles and the companies don't tell us because it make their sales potentials to be less attractive. We seeing vehicles topping out at 60 70K, Lexus, BMW, Cadillac,etc., but the maintenance on those vehicles if much higher and unafordable. Finally, here are the old and nasty things that happen to us as consumers; when you trade in your vehicles, you get nothing, the salemans use everything to make you think he or she is helping you, the bottom line is, they put you in debt with their supporting bank over 5 to 6 years and when the car breaks down no more warranty you owe banks forever. Never let anyone put you in debt with anyone either you can afford it or not. Don't make the dealership properous on your money and the salemen walk away with his commission, dealership has theirs and you are stuck with a bank owning you, lot, stock and barrel even repossessioning your car when they want. No car is worth interest you are paying over 5 to 6 years.

Richard Wolf
January 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

The ATS seems like a nice enough car but the interior and trunk are "cramped"--not much headroom there . I still prefer my 01 Saab 9-5 Aero--has great power , great fuel economy (easily in the 30's on the highway )reliable , and is very roomy with a HUGE trunk and fold down seats . I've had two of them ---wish GM hadn't driven them out of business--"decontented" my series of 9-5 , then ruined the front end styling and finally replaced it with a totally different and inferior high priced 9-5 . Too bad . Love the CTSV and the new C7 Corvette though . I've owned seven Corvettes in my life so GM can still do something right even though they ruined Saab----too bad .Good luck with the ATS--like the turbo 4 idea---sounds like a Saab ??

January 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm

No government motors for me, and absolutely NO Chrysler products after seeing the factory workers smoking dope and drinking on the job. Ford has made the greatest strides in performance and mileage. I don't know why they didn't win with either the Mustang of Fusion.

Kenneth Thomas
January 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I hope this Cadillac is good. The only GM's I have ever owned are Chevy and GMC trucks, though. They were good at their jobs. Whenever I rented GM cars (on business trips), they were annoying rattle-traps. For my money, get a good used Mercedes. I have two of them (one is pushing 200K miles) and they will probably outlive me. Used, they were well under $20K. Still, I wish GM all the best, especially since we taxpayers own it.

tory hogan
January 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm


Paul W. King
January 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm

None of these new cars could compare to the Chrysler products
produced in the mid-sixtees. Power and ruggedness plus speed.
Every thing today is gas mileage. Get a bicyle!!!!!

Robert Wayne
January 20, 2013 at 11:15 am

Glad GM finally got it together to make the ATS. However, I am not sure the car is as good as stated. A lot of hype involved. I was a diehard GM buyer for 20+ years but stopped buying their junk in the 90's. During the 80's, they built very ugly, poor quality vehicles and seemed to improve a little after that. I guess the thing that made me most mad was the arrogance of the GM management. They were bankrupt but still carried on as they were. While a little smarter than they were, GM still shows arrogance/muscle flexing. I really do want to buy a North American made car built by a North American car company where profits help us all, but I, along with a lot of others have a great memory of what GM was all about. I do, however, like both the ATS and the XTS. We have to buy a new car soon and not sure what we will look at.