In 2014, I spent some time touring in the USA, visiting friends, family and some of the places I used to know from when I lived there.
For the last two weeks of this trip, I hired a Cadillac ATS. It didn't give quite the same 'user experience' as my ETC, having a 4 cylinder engine and being more like a large Vauxhall in character than a Cadillac. It wasn't easy to get a comfortable driving position and it felt a bit cramped inside, but it did do a reasonable job of carrying me and my luggage all over the place without any fuss. Starting in Washington DC, it took me all around north Virginia and Maryland, then down to Ocracoke Island at the far end of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, back across the southern edge of Virginia up into West Virginia, around that state and finally back up to Washington again.
It had run-flat tyres, which gave a better ride than I had expected. This was a useful feature, as some the more remote roads travelled were more like off-road trails than tarmac. The in-car entertainment and digital services were presented via a shiny touch-sensitive interior panel that looked and felt cheap and didn't always sense the finger pressure and swipes necessary to operate it. It also ended up covered in fingermarks! At least they were all mine...
Here are some thoughts on its good and bad points:
It was a Cadillac!
Digital radio that worked
Reasonably frugal - 35-40mpg
Reliable in service
Adequate luggage space for one person
It was a Cadillac!
4-cylinder engine that was quite noisy but didn't have much 'go'
Uncomfortable driving position
Poor luggage space for more than one person
Touch-sensitive panels for ICE a bit 'hit or miss'
Shiny panels ended up covered in finger marks
Here are a few pictures to give an all round view of the car, with a bit of scenery as well:
At the Udvar-Hazy Space Center, Dulles, VA
Crossing the Potomac at Whites Ferry, MD
At the Family Drive-in theatre, Stephen's City, VA
On the ferry to Ocracoke Island, NC
Overlooking the New River Bridge, at New River Gorge, WV
Exploring the old coal camp at Nuttallburg, WV
Would I hire one again? No. It didn't offer a premium experience to match the premium price paid for having it. I would have been better off with the large Volvo SUV offered as an alternative, but I wanted to see what a new Cadillac was like in its native country, having experienced the 20 year old model in the UK. At least it was nice to be driving one and it did get a certain amount of respect when on the road and parked, so perhaps the marque is still appreciated well by the home audience.
Still, along the way, I was able to pick up some new keys and service parts for the ETC from Jim Stutzman Cadillac in Winchester, Virginia, which was a very pleasant experience. I had ordered them all via email with Bill Ebersole, their senior Parts Advisor. He ordered them in for me and I didn't have to pay a cent until I collected them. I'd say they are Highly Recommended, if anyone needs new Cadillac parts and can pick them up in person.