On a cool November morning, I dropped by Pirate Radio (104.7 FM – Greeley) to show the DJ’s a Cadillac Escalade painted Dark Granite metallic and featuring a Kona brown/black leather interior. I take a vehicle to “The Pirate” every Friday morning, and this week I was fortunate enough to arrive in a beauty.
Both Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray seemed to like the Caddy, and George found favor with the driving environment and dashboard appointments. Matt fell in love with the power retractable assist steps ($1,695.00), and is currently in the market for some to put on his GMC pickup. The Escalade had a lot of other optional equipment on it, which I will go over later, and the base price was $84,070.00.
Cadillac sells around 30,000 of these Escalades each year, and have offered the full-size SUV since 1999. The one I tested came from Automotive Media Solutions in Denver, and total sticker price was $89,360.00. Equipment on hand other than the steps included the Kona brown interior setup ($2,000.00), and ultra-bright 22″ alloy wheels ($600.00). Freight to deliver the Escalade to Denver (from the plant in Arlington, TX) is $995.00.
As a Premium edition of the Escalade, the loaner had pretty much every imaginable option, including rear seat entertainment, 16-speaker Bose stereo, power everything, and 6.2 liter V-8 power plant. An eight-speed automatic is installed, and of course the vehicle is a four-wheel drive design. It was very enjoyable to test, got rave reviews at Pirate radio, and would be certain to please the luxury SUV buyer.
Years ago I owned a 1995 Cadillac (leased, actually) and always admired the six ducks in the logo on the hood and trunk. I have found through research that those birds were merlettes, present on the family crest of Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. That happened in 1701, and Henry Leland named his car after Cadillac when he started his auto manufacturer in 1902. He added the crest in 1905 and the merlettes were arranged in threes to represent the holy trinity.
My latest test car was a Cadillac; an ATS all-wheel drive sedan with the Performance Collection of assets – aluminum pedals, bolstered buckets, paddle transmission shifters, high intensity swivel headlamps, and Bose surround sound stereo. Also present were machined-finish 18” alloy wheels ($800), cold weather package ($600), navigation package with backup camera ($795), thunder gray chromaflair metallic paint ($995), and advanced security package ($395). Those items brought the total M.S.R.P. with freight to $48,375.
Along with those options, the ATS came with Morello red and black leather seating for 5, an 8” full color display, Bluetooth, heated steering wheel/front seats, proximity keyless entry with pushbutton starter, lighted door handles with puddle lights, remote starting, and power mirrors/windows/locks. No moon roof was present, but the buckets were adjustable with 12-way power (10-way for passenger). The Cadillac interior featured carbon-fiber trim on the dashboard as well as the door panels, and it stood out.
The engine in the ATS is a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder with direct injection and 272 horsepower (260 lb. ft. of torque). It’s mated to a six-speed automatic with tap-shift control and the aforementioned paddles. The turbo is a twin-scroll design that can provide 20 lbs. of boost with no turbo lag. Zero to sixty acceleration is reportedly 5.7 seconds and fuel economy is rated at 20-city and 30-highway. It burns premium, holds 16 gallons of gas, and I observed a 23 mpg reading for a week of driving. I drove a V-6 powered, slightly more expensive ATS last year, and my vote goes to this turbocharged 2.0 liter model.
The ride is firm on the ATS and the handling is way above average, and in fact the car feels lighter than its weight of 3,373 lbs. It features magnetic ride control, which reacts to road conditions ten times faster than the blink of an eye. Wheelbase is 109.3”, and overall length is 182.3”.
Styling on the new ATS is excellent, as is the tradition for Cadillacs since the turn of the century. Twin exhausts are mounted below the rear fascia, and the high intensity headlamp/park lamp assemblies have a distinctive look. Wheels are a bright finish ten-spoke design fitted with Michelin 225/40R18 Primacy all-season run-flat radials.
In model year 2000, Cadillac removed the little ducks, er, merlettes from the crest on front and rear of all their models. But I still think the ATS is “just ducky”.
It may not be a good characterization of the Cadillac ATS test car’s color, but the paint on it was extremely white, and attractive. It was a Diamond Tricoat (a three-layer painting process) upgraded color that added $995 to the Cadillac’s window sticker.
The song, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” rocketed to No. 1 in the U.K. in 1967, and without fanfare it reached No. 5 in America, as well. It was the debut number of the British rock band Procol Harum and is now in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The original manager of the group, Guy Stevens, named the group after a friend’s cat (really?). One of the song’s co-writers, Keith Reid, overheard someone at a party tell a woman “You’ve turned a whiter shade of pale”, and he couldn’t get the phrase out of his mind. Procol Harum is one of the most misspelled group names in existence, and in fact I could barely get it registered on this keyboard.
ATS, on the other hand, is easy to spell, but I cannot determine its meaning. Being Super Bowl weekend as of this writing, all I can come up with is “against the spread”. In Cadillac parlance, the ATS is the new compact luxury sedan introduced in August of last year. GM developed the car in their Warren, Michigan technical center and they assemble it down the road in Lansing. It is Cadillac’s smallest offering.
I picked up my test ATS at Ghent Motors early last week, and immediately was attracted to the Morello Red and Jet Black leather interior with carbon fiber trim. This car had the “Performance Collection” of assets – aluminum pedals, bolstered buckets, paddle transmission shifters, high intensity swivel headlamps, and Bose surround sound stereo. Also present were moon roof ($1,050), machined-finish 18” alloy wheels ($800), cold weather package ($600), and a navigation package with backup camera ($795). Those items, added to the aforementioned paint, brought the total M.S.R.P. with freight to $50,830.
The Cadillac ATS is pretty sporty, featuring magnetic ride control, which reacts to road conditions ten times faster than the blink of an eye. It is a technology borrowed from Corvette and by Ferrari. I drove a V6 powered ATS with 3.6 liters and 321 horsepower. Behind it was a six-speed automatic transmission and 3.27 axle ratio (all-wheel drive). Zero to 60 elapsed time is reportedly 5.4 seconds and top speed is 152 mph. Economy? City-19 mpg, and highway-26 mpg.
The ATS features athletic, chiseled styling with the LED running lights glowing out front as well as chrome, dual exhaust finishers emanating a distinctive note in the rear. The alloy wheels are surrounded by 225/40R18 Michelin Primacy all-season run-flat radials. And light stripes are present on the chrome door handles as are puddle lights under the outside mirrors.
With its ATS, Cadillac has targeted BMW’s 3 Series and its nearly 100,000 annual sales figure. I’m sure they are hopeful that the ATS will blast off like Procol Harums’ hit song did in June of 1967. The car certainly won’t “Pale” in comparison to the Bimmer – it may even end up being considered the “Cadillac” of compact luxury sedans.