Cadillac ATS, Ram 1500 named 2013 North American Car/Truck of the Year

Article by Anita Panait, on January 15, 2013

A jury of automotive journalists has named the Cadillac ATS and Ram 1500 as 2013 North American Car and Truck of the Year respectively. The Cadillac ATS bested fellow 2013 North American Car of the Year finalists Ford Fusion and Honda Accord to grab the plum, while the Ram 1500 won over the Ford C-Max and Mazda CX-5 in the Truck of the Year finals.

The car of the year accolade received by the ATS marks the first for Cadillac and fifth for General Motors. For the third time, Chrysler Group grabbed the Truck of the Year plum. In a statement, Bob Ferguson, GM vice president, global Cadillac, remarked that the accolade was a meaningful honor for the entire Cadillac team, including those involved in building the ATS in Lansing, Michigan, as well as their designers and engineer. He quipped the ATS is the result of incredible commitment and focus – “the only method for creating a great performing luxury car.”

The decisions for the awards were handed by 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada, representing magazines, newspapers, Web sites, TV and radio. They have to judge the entry vehicles according to innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.

Seven carmakers had multiple nominees for the awards. Ford Motor Co. had four nominees -- the Ford Fusion, Escape and C-Max and the Lincoln MKZ. Nissan North America had three -- the Nissan Altima and Pathfinder and the Infiniti JX35. General Motors had two -- the Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Malibu, while Toyota Motor Sales also had two -- Toyota Avalon and Scion FR-S.

Chrysler Group had Dodge Dart and Ram 1500 pickup; American Honda had Honda Accord and Acura RDX; and BMW had the 3 series and X1. Other entries for the awards were the Subaru BRZ, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Santa Fe and Audi Allroad. Hyundai won the North American Car of the Year award in 2012 with the Elantra, and in 2009 with the Genesis.

The Art & Science design language of Cadillac is well-known to many but with the new 2013 ATS, this is interpreted under a new proportion. It allows this most compact of Cadillac models to customize the refinement cues and signature styling to its advantage. Despite the changes, the 2013 ATS remains to honor, and at the same time move forward, the technological elements and the extra attention to detail that the brand is celebrated for.

The interior is now more driver-focused and complements well the elements of the exterior. Use of crafted materials plus technology integrated help strengthen the driving experience associated with the ATS. The goal of the design is to make sure that performance driving was intuitive and effortless. This refers to almost everything on the inside from how the shifter is positioned to where the pedals have been placed.

Performance seats are made available and they have power-adjustable bolsters which ensure that lateral support is optimized when undergoing high-load cornering. Enhancing the intuitive feel of the interior further is the instrumental panel that wraps the doors as well. The mid-instrument panel has a center stack which goes to the center console.

By making use of the LED lighting on the gauge cluster, it is easy and clear to look at the information regardless of what the light condition may be. Adding in the ambient lighting, this helps highlight the functional elements of the doors and even that of the console. Going to the exterior, the 2013 ATS has that strongly planted stance made possible by the wheelbase, measuring 109.3 inches (2,775 mm), and combined with the front and the rear tracks being wider.

Enhancing this impression are the short overhangs and the tight sheet metal which looks as if they have been wrapped tight across the tires. Fitted as standard are the 17-inch wheels though customers will be offered with the 18-inch versions as an option.

The active grille shutters, illuminating door handles, vertical lighting elements, and even the signature LED lighting detail on the front, all combine to showcase the function and the technologically innovative style of the ATS. Its grille shutters in particular are able to close upon reaching a certain speed on the highway which helps lower the aerodynamic drag and with it improve the fuel economy.

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