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Car Report: Cadillac ATS coupe has style; Ford introduces a new van

Monday - 8/25/2014, 9:13am  ET

The ATS is fun to drive, with plenty of style. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

WASHINGTON -- The Cadillac ATS coupe is fun to drive and has impressive styling.

I drove the Cadillac ATS sedan in 2013 and was impressed by the sporty fun-to- drive car. The new coupe is still just as fun to drive, and maybe a little more so, as the base 2-liter turbo-charged four-cylinder engine gets a little more grunt with a manual transmission. (There is also a 3.6 liter V6 that has some good punch and a nice sound, but it's only available with an automatic, a real bummer.)

The styling is a high point. It's very classy, yet still very "Cadillac," with more of a new CTS front-end treatment.

The new coupe looks more aggressive than the ATS sedan, and it should, as it only shares one or two panels. Everything else is unique to the coupe: The Dockspot portable device inductive charging station, which wirelessly charges your devices, is a big addition, as well as Onstar with 4G LTE & Wi-Fi. It works well and I used my tablet to complete work while in the passenger seat.

A coupe should be fun to drive, and the ATS coupe delivers. My driving partner for the day had some nice back roads to explore, and it seemed the ATS, with the available Magnetic Ride Control, kept the car planted and more willing to be pushed with less body roll. You might want to test-drive an ATS equipped with the system and without it, and decide for yourself.

The front seats are comfortable, and the higher-level trim packages (there are four from which to choose) provide even nicer surroundings. Even the base trim level gets the handcrafted cut-and-sewn interior. Cadillac has really upped their game.

The 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe is available any day now, and will start at around $38,000. It can be had with either rear-wheel drive or AWD for year-round use.

Transitioning to the Transit

For more than three decades, the Ford E-series vans have been popular large cargo or passenger vans, but the market was mostly in North America. The new 2015 Ford Transit is replacing the E-series. The Transit has been around a very long time as well, and it's already sold in more than 110 markets.

The Transit takes over for the E-series and does a good job. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

The first thing I noticed is the size of the new European-looking Transit. It's bigger than the outgoing E-series and has two size options, including the extended length and high roof model that's tall enough for people more than 6- foot-tall to walk in the back.

Also, you get new choices of engines -- the V8 and V10 engines are gone, replaced by a base 3.7-liter V6 with the option of a 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6 from the F150 truck, or a new 5-cylinder turbo diesel that's a good choice for economy and very quiet.

The interior is set up for work, has durable materials and a car-like dash similar to the Ford Focus with easy to use heating/AC controls, plenty of storage and a back-up camera available. I drove cargo and passenger versions of the Transit and found them very easy to drive; even the largest wagon with 15 seats was easy to maneuver.

All the cargo vans I drove had half a payload in the back, and the Ecoboost V6 and Diesel pulled like it was empty. Even the base V6 didn't seem underpowered. The new Ford Transit, built in Kansas City, starts under $30,000, and it looks like a more efficient, and in some cases a much larger, replacement. It could be a good fit for larger fleets or a small business looking for just one van to do it all.

Editor's note: Mike Parris a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI, FMI or Event solutions for the purpose of this review.

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