Let’s be honest. I’m never all that excited about cars that 99.999% of the people on this planet should buy. Instead, I belong to the 0.001% of the population that loves gas guzzling, unreasonably expensive and incredibly unreliable cars that irritate spouses.
I’m the kind of guy that environmentalists, conservationists and significant others love to hate. In fact, when a girlfriend or boyfriend sees me with their loved one, they try to get rid of me as fast as humanly possibly in order to shield them from my unwanted influence.
Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t work.
What can I say – I was born this way. When I’m around people that even have the slightest interest in cars, I instantly feel compelled to encourage them to make one of the worst decisions of their life: drop thousands of dollars into something which will essentially be a worthless piece of junk many years from now.
Recently, I found that not one, but two of my friends were about to purchase new used cars. One of them had an older 2003 Altima that was ruined by someone flooring the gas in “R” thinking the transmission was in “D”, and the other one was just itching to buy a car because of a new job that would pay him lots of money.
I thought to myself: yes, this is the perfect opportunity – I will convince one of them to buy a 911 Turbo S and the other a CTS-V and then I’ll get to drive their cars whenever I want. Hahah. I’m a genius!
However, I completely and utterly failed to achieve my objective. Instead, both of them decided to err on the side of being practical and invested their hard earned cash into properties. Then, of course, they spent a reasonable sum of money on a car.
Imagine that – spending money on appreciating assets instead of depreciating assets?!?!
What were they thinking?
Of course, I’m glad they didn’t listen to me because both of them ended up purchasing two excellent vehicles. One of them bought a 2013 Cadillac ATS and the other bought a 2013 Infiniti G37, both certified pre-owned with less than 30K miles and in pristine condition.
Through some odd coincidence, they happened to get cars that are remarkably similar in terms of what their specs are and paid roughly the same price!
2013 Cadillac ATS – 3.6L V6, 321 hp, 274 lb-ft of torque; weighs ~3400 lbs; loaded with all the goodies like sunroof, navigation etc.; 4-yr 50K factory warranty + certified pre-owned warranty up to 100K miles. Negotiated price ~ $27K
2013 Infiniti G37 – 3.7L V6, 328 hp, 269 lb-ft of torque; weighs ~3600 lbs; loaded pretty much with the exact same things as the ATS, 4-year 60K mile warranty + a certified pre-owned as well with a warranty up to 100K miles. Negotiated price ~ $26K
Let’s start with the ATS, shall we?
The ATS is the car for the salesman
The ATS looks like something a sales person would pull up in. You can totally picture a guy getting out of the car ready to sell you Cutco knives so that you can cut your shoe into two pieces.
Seriously, if you were expecting sales people to show up to your office to sell you widgets, wouldn’t this be the car that they would be driving??
I would consider the looks somewhat edgy with the headlights being my favorite part of the design. It’s clear that Cadillac is desperately trying to shed its image as the ultimate car for the newly retired 65 year old gentleman about to head to the golf course – but for now I don’t think it has quite succeeded.
I just can’t see the design being appealing for most younger folks, although people who have always been fans of Cadillacs probably love the new design now more than ever.
Even though I failed at persuading my friend to get a CTS-V, the ATS is actually offers incredible value.
For most people, it is kind of ridiculous to get a CTS-V when you can get a perfectly reasonable and quick CPO 2013 ATS for $27K with an excellent warranty.
But where’s the fun in that!??
Oh wait. He does have two kids.
The ATS will work well for as long as his kids are young. Once they’re bigger, they will hate to be in the backseat because it’s so cramped! For the practical 4-door sedan that this is, there is almost no room to fit comfortably back there for anyone that’s above 4 ft’ 3″.
If the front passenger and driver push their seats back all the way, your legs will definitely be squished if you are unlucky enough to be back there at which point you would agree with me that he should’ve definitely purchased the CTS-V instead.
The interior certainly looks nice from a distance but there is just way too much shine in the cabin. The shiny black finish in the center stack, the shiny wood grain and the shiny dash cumulatively give off a cheap vibe.
The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) is a disappointment. There was way too much lag on the touch screen when you try move around icons or change radio stations. It’s not very intuitive and in general very frustrating to use.
I guess I’m spoiled by Apple. The smoothness of the scrolling and the bullet-proof user interface built for dummies makes it a pleasure to use their products. It feels like CUE has tried to copy Apple’s interface but unfortunately it is not even close.
There were a couple cool things about CUE though: one is when you touch the various controls on the center stack, climate control for example, you’ll feel a vibration to indicate that you’ve engaged that specific functionality.
The other is a hidden compartment. Thanks to all the electronics Cadillac uses in CUE, there is not a need for a whole bunch of mechanical parts, which means there’s actually some unexpected storage space.
All you have to do is touch the fake chrome at the bottom of the main panel at which point it lifts up dramatically revealing a very useful space for your phone, sunglasses and whatever deep, dark secret you want to hide in there.
Driving the ATS
The car felt solid with great handling in “sport mode”. Power was adequate with no problems accelerating up to speed, especially when merging on a freeway.
It’s a perfectly fine sedan that’s powerful, quiet and luxurious with the glaring flaw being a lack of enough legroom in the backseat. If you’re planning on having normal sized people back there, they will generally be unhappy.
Buying the 2013 G37 for $26K was a great deal. It had new tires and brakes on it and was covered under full warranty in addition to having the certified warranty up to 100K miles or 6 more years.
My biggest gripe with the car is that even after all these years, almost nothing has changed with the looks. Infinti has managed to keep the exterior basically the same for the past 500 years and so everything about it looks dated. This means that when you buy the 2013 G37, you can’t help but feel that you’re purchasing a car that’s 10 years old even though it’s only a two year old car.
If you can get past the dull exterior, however, you will find the rest of the car quite impressive.
The Interior Restores Confidence
I found the interior to be not only more aesthetically pleasing than the ATS, but everything was intuitive and easy to use. The touch screen worked so much better and using the buttons made me feel like the CUE system in ATS was far too gimmicky.
I remember how Infinti interiors used to be when they were largely the same and just as cheap as Nissan’s many years ago. But the interior now is a far cry from Infinti interiors from the past; the quality is much improved.
By the way, the G37 suffers the same backseat problem as the ATS! So much for practicality because it is a tight squeeze in the back as well.
Driving the G37
The G37 is a lot of fun to drive. The handling is sharp and precise and you can actually hear the engine! Even though it’s not the best noise and actually sounds worse at higher rpms, hearing something of what’s moving the car forward is better than nothing. The ATS was too quiet and so I welcomed some engine noise with the “G”.
The ride was perfectly balanced and it was fun tossing this thing around turns and tackling some of the curvy roads around town.
The ATS is definitely more refined and luxurious than the G37 but CUE sort of kills any sort of enjoyment you might get from using all the technology Cadillac has incorporated. Although, the G37 is louder and harsher to a certain extent, I still found it to be more of a driver’s car with a much better interior. So from the perspective of a driver, I think the G37 is a better buy.
But either way, at these amazingly reasonable prices, both cars are great value for the money. You can’t go wrong!