The steering was flawless for this class of car. It’s heavy enough at every speed, and weighted to give a perfectly connected feeling. There is always good steering feel and turn-in was quick and very direct.

2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium
2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium
2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium. Click image to enlarge

I found the turbo engine to be tremendous. Is it the most powerful thing out there? Nope. That’s not the point. It feels strong after you overcome the very short lag and it builds momentum with alacrity. Of course it’s great for everyday driving, but when you get on it, the mid- and higher-range power is awesome.

When it’s on boost, and you stay on the gas, the torque is relentless, and it seems as though it pulls as hard in second gear as it does in first.

The six-speed automatic transmission is where the ATS fell a bit flat for me. It’s very smooth and luxurious, but I couldn’t find a real sport mode where it was truly aggressive and held the shift points longer. You can shift it manually using paddles or the gear selector and the shifts are pretty fast.

The four-cylinder sounds great inside when you’re on the gas but it’s too quiet from the outside. All noise levels are very well controlled inside – nothing ever gets loud or intrusive.

The brakes are excellent – easy to modulate, powerful when you need them.

The all-wheel-drive system is also very good. Perfect for everyday driving – transparent when you don’t need it, and there when you do. Turn the traction control off to play in the snow and you can happily steer the tail with the throttle all day long.

I liked that the ATS invited me to play. All the time. It never minds taking on a corner, sticking to it like glue, and coming out of it like a champ.

Materials are lovely. You’ll find soft, stitched, textured material with a premium feel throughout. Fit and finish was very good, and the car felt very well built and rock-solid.

The ATS feels tidy – not too big, not too small. My five-foot-ten frame never felt cramped, but anyone much taller could be running out of headroom up front.

Styling-wise, I really enjoyed the toned-down feel in the ATS. Cadillac can take things a bit far sometimes, and here I felt it was done just right and nothing felt overboard. It is a handsome, simple, straightforward interior with clean lines.

The leather seats – power-adjustable, heated, driver’s side memory – are fantastic. Not what you expect to find in a Cadillac, they offer the perfect harmony of sport and comfort.

2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium
2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium. Click image to enlarge

The heated steering wheel feels great – behind it sit gauges and the driver information screen. An interesting bit of tech, this. The left, the centre and the right parts can all be programmed to display what you choose.

The centre stack starts with Cadillac’s new CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system – it’s handled by an 8-inch touchscreen and manages the media, navigation, phone and vehicle settings. It’s a beautiful screen and a pretty decent user interface. The screen also handles the back-up camera.

Below the CUE screen you’ll find a smooth panel with soft-touch buttons (with haptic feedback) to control the dual-zone, automatic climate control system.

The 10-speaker BOSE sound system feeds off AM, FM, satellite, CD, auxiliary, USB and Bluetooth sources and sounds spectacular.

In terms of driver tech, there is some cool kit here. The HUD (Head-Up Display) is sharp and easy to read. There’s also a front collision and a lane departure warning system. In terms of getting your attention, Cadillac has a new trick up its sleeve with Safety Alert seat pulses. About to back into something? It’ll buzz your seat. Drifting out of your lane? You get buzzed – on the appropriate side. Sounds bizarre, and it is at first, but I liked this once I got used to it.

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