This article is part of the GM Authority Wish List series for the Cadillac ATS — a collection of changes, updates, and modifications we’d like to see made to the family of compact luxury vehicles. The purpose of the Wish List is very simple: to create awareness of the issues we have found with the vehicles so that Cadillac can address them in the future, whether via a refresh or a next-generation model, all in an effort to make the best luxury cars on the market, bar none.
The GM Authority staff has collectively spent a significant amount of time with the ATS, both as drivers and as passengers, in both Sedan and Coupe body styles, with all four engines, all five trim levels, and with various degrees of features and equipment. In other words, this wish list is not the result of a knee-jerk reaction after a day or two with the car. It’s the result of living with the cars, sometimes for several months. In fact, one of our founders happens to own an ATS (2015 2.0T Premium, six-speed manual).
We should note that at times, the Wish List series might appear like nitpicking, as it will point out the smallest features, characteristics, or components. If it seems that way, it’s for a reason, since we believe that the devil is in the details, especially when it comes to prestige luxury vehicles. As such, we honestly believe that addressing these issues will improve the product, grow the brand, and — ultimately — lead to an uptick in Cadillac sales. And as journalists who also happen to be GM and Cadillac enthusiasts, few things would make us happier. If nothing else, it would result in a Cadillac we’d be proud to buy, to own, and to show off to anyone willing to look and listen.
Keeping in mind that this wish list is by no means in order, here goes the fourth item on our wish list: heated and ventilated front seats.
The Cadillac ATS Sedan and Coupe already offer heated front seats. Once reserved exclusively for luxury cars, today the feature can be ordered on even the most affordable mainstream vehicles. What the ATS does not offer, however, are ventilated front seats. And it really should.
The practical reason to offer vented seats is really quite simple: the ATS is a luxury vehicle, and ventilated front seats are a luxury. Case and point: those who have had the please of living in a hot and humid climate (such as Miami, Florida) should be intricately familiar with the following scenario: a person gets all dressed up, gets into a vehicle (in 90-degree heat) to drive to their destination, and upon arriving, realizes that he or she has a wet back (thanks, humidity!). From there, the person has a difficult choice to make: either wait a few minutes for his or her back to dry off, or risk showing a wet (lower) back to the crowd. This happens with a t-shirt as much as it does with a suit, thanks to the hot and humid climate. Heck, it also happens in most other locales on a hot summer day. The entire ordeal could have been easily avoided with ventilated seats. A luxury feature in a luxury car.
On a more theoretical level, the reason to offer ventilated seats is that the ATS will soon be the only vehicle in the compact executive class not to offer the feature: the 2014 and newer Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers it, so does the Lexus IS, which has offered heated and vented/cooled seats for roughly a decade. The highly-competitie segment does not stand still, and Cadillac needs to get out ahead of it while it can. Coincidentally, the all-new 2016 Chevy Camaro, which shares the Alpha platform with the ATS and CTS, will also offer vented seats. So should the ATS.
What we wish for: the additional of the ventilation function to the ATS’ front seats, perhaps as part of the same package that adds heated front seats.
Why we wish it:
Reason 1: ventilated seats make the drive more comfortable while preventing wet lower backs, especially during hot days and in humid climates.
Reason 2: the competition offers the feature, while Cadillac — the contender in the luxury segment and in the compact sport-luxury class — does not.
Who to look to for examples: Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus IS. Or, better yet, Cadillac’s own CTS.