Cadillac ATS Wish List Item No. 4: Ventilated Front Seats17
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.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
When the ATS was first announced, this was the most glaring omission to me, and immediately took it off the list of vehicles I’d consider. At the time, neither BMW nor Benz offered ventilated seats in their comparable vehicles (3 series, C class). But Cadillac has this awful habit of benchmarking the current version of the vehicles of their competitors, and for whatever reason think that the competition will just stand still.
And it doesn’t. The C class now offers ventilated seats.
Cadillac, as the up and comer, is again behind. To be sure, ventilated seats — specifically the lack thereof — aren’t the reason why ATS sales are in the crapper. But it’s a death by a thousand cuts.
Cadillac totally needs to up their game. And I realize I’m going to get a bunch of dislikes to this comment . . . . Mainly from folks who live in the Midwest and who can’t afford Cadillacs. If Cadillac is to succeed — and I want them to — they need to think these things through better.
I up voted you, and totally agree.
But why dog the Midwest :)? My neighborhood’s full of Beemers and Mercs and Cayennes and Teslas (and Escalades) – but I doubt we’ll be seeing many ATSs given that they’re still playing catch-up.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mike D! That perfectly sums up Cadillac’s biggest issue right now!
Great post Alex. I would also piggyback on this and say heated rear seats should be a part of the heated/cooled front seats package you are creating. The competition has rear heated, and my friends 1998 STS had rear heated seats, which was made 18 years ago. It’s time caddy got with the times.
Thanks for the props! 🙂
I agree, Cadillac need to stop playing catch-up and finally step out ahead. The architecture, chassis, and driving dynamics are all there. Now it’s time to start including and engineering the details.
I’ve been driving Jaguar XEs almost daily for 6 months at work. I’ve yet to see one that didn’t have vented seats. With that in mind it surprises me that Cadillac doesn’t offer them on the ATS.
I handed my 2013 SRX Premium down to my wife when her Pontiac got totaled. I finally got the ATS I had originally wanted. Trouble is it didn’t have the heated and ventilated seats the SRX has. It also didn’t have the lane detection awareness in the mirrors. I’ve had to swallow hard to accept that a $50K ATS Performance with the 3.6L engine doesn’t have these basic luxury features. I could see this on the Base or Luxury models as being an option but not on the Performance or Premium Models. And yes I live a few miles north of Miami and I do miss those ventilated seats. Luckily I love the ATS with it’s great handling, performance and very good fuel mileage.
I bought a 2013 ATS at age 25, just two years ago as a dealer demo with 5,000 miles on it. I also live and work in Minnesota as an application developer so I’m not sure where you get the idea people in the Midwest can’t afford nice things. On one hand I love the car but on the other hand I’m wishing I almost went with a 3 series. I hate the cheap, shiny black plastic around the shifter which is very prone to scratches. Gen 1 CUE is absolutely awful and ventilated seats would have been nice. The new C-class is a beautiful car and it’s hard not to want one.
Yes, CUE gen 1 can use a lot of improvements, though the improvements to the system for 2016 models delivers various very significant benefits:
And yes, the piano black plastic on the center console isn’t exactly a pinnacle in quality nor appearance. I expect this to change for the ATS’ replacement. Even so, the ATS is still the best-driving in the class. What Cadillac needs to do now is focus on the detail of the overall user experience of the vehicle (and its other vehicles, too) and come out ahead when it comes to interior fit/finish and quality.
That said, yes, the new C-Class and 3 Series are nice. But both are newer than the ATS. Automotive leapfrogging for the win!
No ventilated front seats? Huh? As you state, if Cadillac is truly a luxury brand, it seems having them is a no brainer. I seriously hope the 2017 models have them because if they don’t, I’ll have to think about whether I want to drive a car without OnStar, but has all of these key luxury features.
Alex, would you agree that the whole Cadillac lineup to have the auto dimming mirrors on both driver and from passenger as well?
Yes, of course. It’s an upcoming item on the wish list. Stay tuned.
Yupp, it should be. As Chris said, it’s on the wish list. Stay tuned!
Its hard nowadays for any luxury vehicle to have a heads up….Shit a Kia comes with all the luxuries…I can remember and mabe showing my age hear but to have power windows or air conditioning was reserved for strictly the top line vehicles
As far as features are concerned, yes. But the Kias you refer to will never be able to match the driving dynamics of a properly-balanced/engineered vehicle with a RWD layout (like the ATS, C-Class, 3 Series, etc.).
I would absolutely purchase ventilated seats if it were an option. The CTS already has them, so presumably the engineering and test has already been completed. This is a stupidly obvious add given many other cars have this choice.
This actually surprised me.
Remember the time when luxury cars would get the new features and then everyone else would get it several years later?
Those were the times.
Now we Hope the cadillac gets the same features as a chevy a few years later… Because you know, Of course a cadillac can’t afford to add the features that come in those ultra-luxury cars like the Kia Forte (yes- it has ventilated seats), The Ford Fusion (My coworker traded his CTS for a Fusion and is “thoroughly wowed by how much more luxurious it is), the Chevy Malibu (I know Cadillac can’t afford to keep up with big high end brands like Chevy, but maybe they can someday?), and of course the Sonata, Chrysler 200, kia optima, Kia Soul…)
The good news though is the cadillacs are a great budget offering compared to the Soul, Optima, Sonata, Malibu, Fusion, and Forte. If only they could match their prices, I’m sure they could offer features like this.
(I’m a cadillac owner myself…)