By on February 7, 2013

TTAC writers will stoop to any trick to get access to cars. This may be my last post at TTAC because I bribed my way into the ELR and may be removed for ethics violations (a Diet Pepsi was involved.) Fresh off its début in Detroit the ELR may be old news, but since none of the TTAC staff had seen one in the metal, I knew my duty.

Is it a “Cadillac Volt?”  Yes. But what that means is thankfully different now that GM seems to be shunning badge engineering. So it’s a Volt with a different body, different interior, different infotainment systems, a more powerful motor and plenty of tweaks, so it’s not really a Volt at all.

What do you need to know?

It’s a two-door, two-plus-two coupé that places style and efficiency on the same high pedestal. Power is up from 149HP to 207 while torque takes a more modest increase from 273 to 295. Cadillac hasn’t released any weight numbers but we were told that the weight would be largely the same as the Volt since the battery pack is essentially the same. The ELR seems to focus more on handling than economy with wide 245-width rubber all the way around on 20 inch rims.

Did you sit in it?

That’s where the soda bribe came in. The interior is oddly enough the best that Cadillac has made yet. It shares the steering wheel design with the XTS and ATS but the cheap plastic airbag cover is replaced by a leather/suede version. The dashboard is full of angles as you would expect from Cadillac but the materials choices are higher than expected for the most part. As often happens things get a bit less harmonious down on the center console but on the whole it’s a marked improvement.

Cadillac hasn’t announced the important things like sale dates or pricing yet, but you can be sure with wide rubber and a lead foot that the ELR won’t have the same range or economy as the Volt. Does that matter? No. This is what GM should have built first, luxury buyers are more likely to want to pay for gasoline/electric novelty.

 

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41 Comments on “Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Cadillac ELR...”


  • avatar

    #1 For what this thing is gonna cost, you could just as easily buy a premium CTS-Coupe or a used CTS-V (with the premium coupe being the better choice).

    #2 Glad to see all the upcoming Caddies will have CUE because finally Cadillacs will have an interior befitting their price.

    #3 When it comes to performance vs. cost, Cadillac has given me every reason right here to BUY A MODEL-S INSTEAD.

    • 0 avatar

      I would have preferred a sedan to a coupe. Don’t four doors outsell two by a significant margin?

      I agree with the author (and have said this many times) that the Volt should have been a Cadillac.

      BigTruck, overall I’m almost certain I would prefer a Model S myself. But how do you know it’s more cost-effective? Do you have any idea what the final price would be?

      The low-range Model S at $60k doesn’t strike me as a particularly usable car, unfortunately. If I feel that I need at least the range of the 85kwh model, it’s very expensive, and the Cadillac has a chance to be competitive due to its range-extending ICE.

      D

      • 0 avatar

        The Model S’ problem is that the $55,000 version is only a 160 mile range. Thing is, if you are buying a car like this and have a garage to charge it – it could fit your budget if you never drive more than 100 miles a week.

        My suggestion: if you ever go on a road trip – RENT A CAR. Or, use a second car/suv for road trips.

        When Tesla is able to offer a 300 mile range for less than $50,000, then they’ll have a serious contender.

        The Tesla is pretty weird because of the fact it has no range extender. If it did, it would KILL THE VOLT and LEAF.

        If i were over at tesla, I’d use the “frunk” for an optional range extending generator and allow you to choose whether it was a diesel, Compressed natural gas or gasoline generator depending on where you live and what you have access too. The Fisker Karma’s problem was that it was too small and cost WAY too much. Had the Karma had the interior space of the Jaguar XJ, it would have been a Winner.

      • 0 avatar
        Nicholas Weaver

        Agreed. If the base model Tesla Model S had a $5K optional range extender (e.g. what BMW is doing with the i3) with a 2-3 gallon gas tank, I’d have my order in already.

        As is, I’m waiting to see how the ELR and the i3 stack up: I want a plug-in car, but it needs a gas engine to travel distance.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “I would have preferred a sedan to a coupe. Don’t four doors outsell two by a significant margin?”

        I agree but as Alex pointed out they were trying to differentiate it from becoming a ‘Cadillac Volt’ so the coupe was a nice touch. Plus since some consider the Volt a toy because of its relatively high price tag, this one is definitely a toy at 70K (I believe) boys with toys are looking for style not practicality.

    • 0 avatar

      A Model S with everything a serious buyer would want is a $90k-ish car. It’s a fantastic ride, but it’s not really in this car’s class.

      If I wanted a very comfortable, good-looking car for a longish commute, this would be an intriguing choice.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Re #1

      The ELR has a significantly better interior and IMO is prettier. Pricing hasn’t been released yet, so we don’t know how much more it will cost than a CTS coupe. Also the ELR is more “special” due to its powertrain and rarity.

      Re #2

      I hear CUE has some issues, but considering it’s a first-gen system, it could be worse. I enjoyed the haptic feedback from the buttons in the ATS.

      Re #3

      You have me there. I saw a Model S on the road yesterday and it was as if time had slowed. I haven’t seen the ELR in the flesh, but we’ll see how its price compares to the S, as well as its availability (isn’t there a lengthy waiting list for the Tesla?)

  • avatar
    Dynasty

    Exterior is gorgeous.

    But I don’t think I would want to sit in that interior everyday. Too many angles on everything.

    Visibility looks poor.

    Am I the only one who thinks the cockpit feel most all car interiors now have is past its prime?

    • 0 avatar

      Dynasty

      If you buy a “luxury car” everything should be wrapped in “once-living” material. In my XJ-L it’s wood, chrome or leather all around. You see no plastic whatsoever. I think it feels absolutely fantastic, but the problem is wood and leather are COLD in the winter. So you’ve also gotta have packages for a heated steering wheel, heated/cooled seats (front and back), etc.

      I visited Aston Martin (Rosylyn) thinking about going for a used DBS or RAPIDE (<$150,000) and I was shocked to find out the overall design of the car was very much like the Jaguar, but the material feel wasn't as good. You’re paying for those big engines. This is likely due to Ford ownership and overall design before Jaguar and Aston Martin were sold off. I don't expect to see plastic in a car that expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        Chrome was once living? :)

      • 0 avatar

        E46M3

        LOL- NO…but you get my point.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        You should have got the winter package. By the time I brushed the snow off my XJ this morning, the wood wheel was toasty, the wipers were defrosted and the seat was warm. I like that it can all be done with just one buttom too.

      • 0 avatar

        I have the winter package and heated windshield. Heated/cooled/massage seats all around – plus the tray tables.

      • 0 avatar
        Buzz Killington

        Plastic was once living. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        *Correction: If you buy an old-school, aspirational “Luxury” Car, everything should be wrapped in dead stuff. Traditional definitions of luxury almost exclusively come down to two things – an excess of space, and that space being dressed in materials that generate a pleasant tactile response.

        I am reminded of the Audi A8 commercial that tries to make a distinction between “Classical” Luxury, and “Modern” luxury. I feel like right now, it very much comes down to generating the illusion of space with efficient driver packaging.

        In a decade or two, it will be nice to see if attitudes born in the 70′s have finally gone the way of the dodo, and we can get away from dead trees and animals. But I generally like alcantara and soft finished aluminum anyways, so what do I know.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Of course everything needs to be wrapped in leather and wood.

      I meant the tight quarters without any knee room.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Gorgeous? That gigantic fake grill is the epitome of tacky, and those lights stretching to the A-pillar…

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        In profile and the rear 3/4, the car looks awesome, but yes, the grille treatment looks like a magnified Matchbox car. I suppose that it’s aerodynamically superior, but the Caddy eggcrate grille just begs for actual openings.
        The interior is rather busy, with all of those different materials and textures competing for comprehension, but at least it’s not boring.
        The (battery housing) drive tunnel is so high that I’d need 45 inches of legroom (and the wheel would have to telescope appropriately) to feel comfy.
        All-in-all, it’s still a damn cool car, I get what Caddy is up to – it’s an “in your face”, an “I’m American, take-it-or-leave it” statement that borders on hubris… but it’s an efficient ride with a super high-tech drivetrain, which grants it forgiveness in my “eco-weenie” brain.

        Damn, where will I get the moolah for this? :-)

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        @shaker

        Caddys gigagrills are fine and dandy on a SUV, I do think that they should have put some effort into finding an alternative for “sporty” cars and EVs. Now it almost looks ford super duty ridiculous (not really, nothing looks that cheesy).

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I saw this car at NAIAS, it wasn’t bad at all.

    The only thing though that I thought of was this…

    The Volt is based somewhat on the Cruze, which replaced the Cobalt, which replaced the Cavalier. The ELR is based on the Volt.

    So does this this make the ELR the true successor to the Cimarron???

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I think they need to extend the headlight bezels further down the sides of the car.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Center console looks like a cheap PC you’d see at Costco.

  • avatar

    Speaking as a former 2004 CTS owner; I love the exterior styling of the modern Cadillac design. A lot. But the reason I am a former owner is that the interiors were very duh. And if you drive in them a lot, it gets to you. A 2004 Malibu had more features than my CTS did of the same year; including rear-passenger air vents, let alone rear-seat radio/audio controls that the Malibu had.

    I see a lot of nice updates in this ELR that are a long time overdue. However, I’m not sure what to make of that center console. It looks very plug & play, and not refined enough. I do like the dashboard display.

    And judging from the exterior photos with the people standing next to the car, the size of it seems rather compact?

  • avatar
    raincoaster

    The first shot makes me think of one thing. ALIEN

    –> http://i.imgur.com/MLnKNg9.jpg?1

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Who’s going to buy this?

    They target market for electric cars is affluent professionals on the coasts. They’re not going to go for a Cadillac: a Tesla is sexier and has more cachet, while the Prius is unbeatable for conspicuous non-consumption.

    Most of the private buyers who really and truly WANT a Cadillac are either A) old, B) residents of middle America, or C) all of the above. Thus far, not many of them have been swayed by electric propulsion.

    • 0 avatar
      Ciriya.com

      Living in the Bay Area (Priusville), the Prius is about as conspicuous as a Corolla. I could certainly see this selling to people who want that range extender but don’t want a Volt, and who realize that the Karma is a turd, but also don’t want to drive something that’s exactly like its non-plugin counterparts (Fusion and C-max Energi, Prius Plugin).

    • 0 avatar

      The gas backup gives the ELR a huge advantage over the Model S.
      It takes just 3 minutes to fill the gas tank.
      It takes at least 30 minutes to get a decent charge from a supercharger station – ASSUMING YOU CAN FIND ONE.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That’s a really busy instrument cluster, but it’s because you’re keeping track of two fuels.

    My Leaf’s is OK (still distracting, though). I think the best EV gauge cluster is the Fiat 500e, which is amazing considering how bad the gauges are in their gas-powered car.

    Nice pics, Alex – way to go with the Diet Coke.

  • avatar
    amca

    I get the feeling on the interior that now they have conquered fit and finish, they’e decided to a LOT of it. Lots of pieces and materials, all harmonious and beautifully fit together.

    The final effect is going to have to be seen to be judged. I’m thinking this is an extremely desirable car.

    All this debate about Teslas overlooks one thing: they are Tesla’s first real car (the Roadster was a Lotus). GM has a century of learning tiny tricks about building cars. It shows off in the fact that even a beat to shit GM will keep running badly than most cars run period. Teslas are likely to have lots of little problems as they age. And maybe some big ones. Teslas are interesting, but buying one is still taking a leap.

  • avatar
    360joules

    I think if bigtrUckseries and I were in an enclosed space for too long, it wouldn’t be pretty. But having clicked on his links over the years I understand that he operates automobiles in an environmentment foreign to mine. Cars that can accelerate quickly, that are well isolated from detiorated pavement, in punitive tax environments (tolls, tax, fees) and your average cruise was done in 5-10 miles- I get where he comes from. My wife & I have a smooth 10-20 mile commute & every few weeks drive 200 miles and every few months drive 600 – 1,000 miles….it’s a different world.

    • 0 avatar

      360 Joules

      Here in NYC, we enjoy mostly warm summers, springs and falls. Winter has become milder and milder (thanks Global Warming/Climate Change) and getting off-lease luxury cars, or competitive lease luxury cars makes driving nice very easy.

      I’m 6’6 and when I was in college, I played Defense Noseguard. If you saw my CTS-V Coupe video, you’d know I was estatic just being able to fit in it.

      Any car I can fit in that goes 0-60 in less than 6 seconds automatically gets 3/5 starts from me!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “The design and materials are at least as good as others in the segment…Interior styling and handling are clear strengths.” – MK, 07/23/12

    “The XTS has GM’s best interior ever.” – ALD, 10/31/13

    “Inside, the XTS is more inarguably [sic] attractive…GM’s interior designers clearly sweated every last detail.” – MK, 01/29/13

    “The ATS wears, hands-down, the best production cabin GM has made.” – ALD, 02/06/13

    “The interior is oddly enough the best that Cadillac has made yet.” – ALD 02/07/13

    Assuming the best interior GM makes is the best interior Cadillac makes (and vice versa), it would seem that Cadillac’s interior excellence is improving exponentially.

    It took about three months for the ATS to supplant the XTS for the best interior, but it only took the ELR a DAY to supplant the ATS!

    At this rate, if only the CTS were available for viewing, I’m sure it would supplant the ELR in time for lunch…

  • avatar
    mklrivpwner

    Is it just me, or are there more switches, toggles, and buttons than NASA’s launch center…

    I count 13 on the door alone (of course one of them may actually be a cluster of switches disguised as a single button)…

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    What is everyone’s problem with 2-doors these days (or just this site, since I haven’t seen so many complaints anywhere else)? Families don’t buy this! Have you ever sat in the back of a car this size, such as an Impreza? It sucks no matter what. You guys sound like my wife. Needs a 4-door just so it’s easier to throw shopping bags in the back seat because she forgets there’s a trunk for this purpose.

    If I needed to carry people in the un-usable back seat in a rare instance, then asking them to scurry behind the seat isn’t much more of a stretch. The sacrifices some of us will make for a nice-looking coupe shape, and the freedom of not having a pillar next to your head.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Love. And I suspect it will be over priced (translation, won’t be able to put one in my garage).

    Be one Hell of a commuter car/long haul combo for my universe. But I’m guessing $60K before ‘guberment handout to the rich.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Man, if they can get this below $50k. Like, $45k MSRP, and make it so you can actually find them at that price. It will NEVER sell like the Prius, but you could get started cutting off the 3-series/A4/C-class hybrids.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It’ll be 60, no way would it be down in the 45 range.

      How much was the 02 ETC before it was cancelled? This will cost MORE than that.


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