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Cadillac ATS

Cadillac ATS

Some vehicles turn heads better than others, and others still deserve a little more attention. The Cadillac ATS is one of those vehicles. While Cadillac didn’t make this luxury sedan for long, it’s a great choice.

But how long did they make it, what did they change through the years, and why did Cadillac make it in the first place? We’ll answer all those questions and more for you here. And if you’re interested in trying to find a Cadillac ATS for yourself after you finish reading, we’d love to hear from you!

General Cadillac ATS Information

The Cadillac ATS started as a four-door sedan with a five-person passenger capacity. The exact weight of the vehicle depends on the configuration, but Cadillac aimed to keep this vehicle as light as possible which is why the weight ranges from 3,315 to 3,461 pounds.

Cadillac used an aluminum hood to help cut weight, and you can find both automatic and manual transmissions in the ATS. And while most people think of the ATS as a sedan, starting with the 2015 model year there are coupe body styles for the ATS too.

An even lesser-known fact is that in 2014 Cadillac released an ATS-L body style in the Chinese market. This body style is similar to the ATS in every way except it has a longer body style. It took the wheelbase from 109.3” and expanded it by a few inches up to 112.6”.

Cadillac ATSCadillac only produced the ATS-L for the Chinese market, and overall they produced more than 210,000 ATS-L vehicles from 1014 to 2019. But since they never made it outside of the Chinese market it’s hard to track down these vehicles anywhere else.

The ATS received five-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, and the 2013 ATS was Esquire's “Car of the Year” and Popular Mechanics “Vehicle of the Year.” Moreover, the 2013 ATS was named the North American Car of the Year by a group of 49 journalists from the United States and Canada.

A Brief History of the Cadillac ATS

While some vehicles have a ton of history you need to sift through to figure out what’s going on, that’s not the case with the Cadillac ATS. They released the first ATS in 2012 and shut down the production line in 2018, giving you just six years to sort through.

But in those six years, there are more than a few changes you should be aware of. We broke down the ATS into three different categories over those years for you here, that way you know exactly what to expect no matter what type of ATS you’re looking at.

The Release – 2012

The Cadillac is actually a newer vehicle line, with the first ATS hitting the market in 2012. The engineers used the BMW 3 series and Audi A4 as an inspiration for their vehicle, and they wanted the ATS to fill a market for people who wanted a smaller Cadillac than the CTS.

Cadillac also wanted to keep the weight down with the ATS, and they circumvented many GM product development rules that would have made a heavier vehicle. However, while they circumvented these product development rules it didn’t affect the overall quality of the vehicle, it simply resulted in a lighter vehicle that fits better into this smaller vehicle class.

Cadillac ATSThe 2015 Refresh

From 2012 to 2014 Cadillac used the original design for the ATS with only tweaks from model year to model year. But for 2015 they completed a few more significant changes for the ATS. This involved a brand-new platform for the vehicle and one that resulted in rear- and all-wheel drive systems that had more of a 50/50 weight distribution.

Cadillac also made some exterior and interior changes that really help you to distinguish between the early model and the late model ATS. These changes include a remodeled grille, a new Cadillac emblem, lowering the front fascia, and more exterior paint options.

2016 and 2017 Changes

While neither 2016 or 2017 features changes as drastic as the 2015 refresh, they do feature some noticeable differences you should know about. In 2016 Cadillac ditched the 6L45 6-speed automatic transmission and added an 8-speed 8L45 transmission.

Furthermore, they ditched the 3.6L LVX V6 engine and put in a 3.6L LGX V6 engine with a cylinder deactivation system you can use for improved fuel efficiency. They also installed start-stop technology on select models, and they moved the emblem to higher up on the trunk lid compared to previous models.

From there, they had the standard technological upgrades from previous model years. Meanwhile, in 2017, Cadillac added an optional Carbon Sport package, which put a whole new twist on the exterior of the vehicle and added a few optional upgrades for the interior like Recaro seats.

2018 Discontinuation

If you’re looking for a brand-new Cadillac ATS, you’re not going to find it. While there’s not a direct replacement for the ATS out there, the most natural successor is the Cadillac CT4.
And truthfully while we love the Cadillac ATS, in 2017 and 2018 the sales numbers didn’t reflect a large market, and it can actually make it quite challenging to find one of these vehicles.

Engine Options

While Cadillac didn’t make the ATS for long, there are still quite a few engine options you can find under the hood. And if you’re in the market for an ATS knowing what kind of engine to expect is a pretty important factor to consider.

There are six main engine options to consider with the ATS, and they all have completely different performance specs. We’ve highlighted each engine option available for the ATS, what model years you can find each in, and the performance specs for each engine.

Just keep in mind that the exact engine on a vehicle for a particular model year still depends on the trim level and the selected options. Always double check what’s under the hood instead of just assuming you know what will be there because of the model year!

Engine Name

Model Years



2.5L LCV I4

2013 to 2016

202 @ 6,300 rpm

190 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

2.0L LTG I4

2013 to 2014

272 @ 5,500 rpm

260 lb-ft @ 1,700 to 5,500 rpm

2.0L LTG I4

2015 to 2019

272 @ 5,500 rpm

295 lb-ft @ 3,000 to 5,500 rpm

3.6L LFX V6

2013 to 2015

321 @ 6,800 rpm

274 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm

3.6L LGX V6

2016 to 2019

335 @ 6,800 rpm

285 lb-ft @ 5,300 rpm

3.6L LF4 V6

2016 to 2019

464 @ 5,850 rpm

445 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm

Ground Clearance & Cargo Space

The ATS is a smaller vehicle, and that shows up in both the ground clearance and the cargo space. It sits 5” off the ground, which is low enough to create a fun driving experience that helps you feel connected to the road.

Meanwhile, there are 10.4 cubic feet of storage space in the ATS. That’s not a ton, but it’s more than enough for some gym bags, groceries, and other everyday items in the trunk.

It’s not going to be the most spacious vehicle, but that’s not really what you’re shopping for with an ATS.

Trim Levels

If you’re trying to figure out what kind of features you can expect to find in the ATS, you really need to know what trim level you’re getting. In the early model years, Cadillac offered three trim levels to pick from, the Standard, Luxury, and Performance trim levels.

In later model years, Cadillac split the Performance trim level into two separate options, the Premium Luxury and the Premium Performance. The Premium Performance acts as the highest possible trim package for the model year Cadillac utilized all four trim levels.


While the ATS didn’t have extremely small sales numbers, there are not a ton of them either. The best-selling calendar year saw Cadillac sell 38,319 of these vehicles in the United States, and that was in 2013.

Overall, from 2012 to 2020 Cadillac sold fewer than 150,000 of these vehicles. And if you’re after an ATS from after the 2016 refresh, those total numbers drop even further to fewer than 50,000 manufactured vehicles.

But while it’s not the most common vehicle type on the road, that’s part of the appeal. Not only is it a great car, but it’ll turn heads compared to many of the other run-of-the-mill luxury vehicles on the market today.

Final Thoughts

Tim’s Truck does more than just trucks. If you’re interested in a Cadillac ATS, they’d love to help you out. Whether it’s finding out more about the ATS or tracking down your dream vehicle, Tim’s Truck can do it all.

So, reach out today with any questions or concerns you might have, and their team of friendly experts would love to help you out!

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