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Text Cor Steenstra, photos Jaap Dijkshoorn / Edward Breedveld-fwdmotiontv
The 2014 Cadillac ATS is very comparable to the Lexus IS350 we recently evaluated. It has a similar size, similar audience and similar sticker price. The design of this ATS falls very much in line with the current design language of Cadillac, as we’ve seen in both the El Miraj concept and the XTS4 we also reviewed recently.
Having said that, if you compare the sticker price of the ATS with the Lexus, they are near to identical, but the XTS is only fractionally more expensive than both. I assume that the XTS4 was not tricked out to the max in the version we drove, but we were not left wanting anything at all. In fact, it seemed the XTS4 was very well equipped indeed, and in comparison, only the seat heating buttons seemed to be missing.
For that little more in price, and sans seat heating, you do seem to get a whole lot more car with the XTS4, which left us wondering about the logic of this strategy. True, some people like more space and can do without some performance and seat heating, but generally car companies do not think like that. They are not too concerned with the actual needs of their customers, but more with the product planning and marketing side of things, meaning that is something is a lot bigger, it is a lot more expensive.
Be that as it may, that is not the case here. The ATS is a little less expensive than the XTS4, and for that you get substantially less interior space, seat heating buttons, and a powerful 2.0 liter turbo engine, with sporty suspension and handling. The car does stick to the road very well, and can be driven in relative anger. The XTS4 was much more sedate in that respect, though not sluggish, to say the least.
Exterior and interior wise the Cadillac leaves nothing to be desired. It is very good, with good fit and finish, nicely worked out details, good material choices.
I am apparently the kind of guy that would then look for the perceived value for the money. Simply put, the XTS4 was chauffeuring people around at Pebble Beach, similar to Rolls Royce’s and Bentley’s. They would never pick the ATS for that job. The ATS is clearly aimed at the sportier BMW 3 series, Mercedes-C-Class AMG’s and indeed the Lexus IS. For the few thousand more, I would pick the XTS4, but as I said, it is preference. Both are good cars.., very good cars..