2014 Cadillac ELR Review
Sep 29, 2014
2014 Cadillac ELR Review
by Mathieu St-Pierre , Auto123.com
The new Cadillac ELR may be all of the above, however, even after returning the car to its rightful owners, I'm still scratching my head. I'm wondering what the ELR's true reason for being is. I keep asking myself the question that's been on many experts' lips since the ELR launched: Why?
Despite the existential nature of this question, I really enjoyed this luxury-coupe-cum-concept-car from the high-end manufacturer. I simply could never suggest that anyone purchase one unless for long-term storage in the hopes that it will appreciate as a classic.
The 2014 Cadillac ELR is an electric car that has more going against it than for it. For the design alone, this is a true chef d'oeuvre, both inside and out. For the remainder, it's a glorified Volt with extra chrome, leather, wood, and big rubber. For $50,000, I'd send all those looking for something cool and different to Caddy dealerships. For $80k, I would not.
What is a Cadillac ELR?
The ELR is a range-extended styling exercise designed as a poster boy for Cadillac's design and technology know-how. The hi-tech learning curve began with the Chevrolet Volt as it is the ELR's base and donor platform.
As a coupe, its appeal for the rich masses is limited and thus makes the ELR a personal luxury coupe for the discerning buyer expecting stares but not necessarily envy.
2014 Cadillac ELR Price and Specs
The reason for referring to the rich masses stems from the fact that the 2014 Cadillac ELR sports a starting (read: base, entry-level) sticker price of $78,250 or nearly $22k more than a Corvette -- just over $41k more than a Volt...
The ELR is front-wheel driven and features a total of three engines. It is motivated by a Voltec 157 hp (115kW), 295 lb-ft of torque (400 Nm). This one drives the wheels while a 74 hp (55kW) electric engine serves as a generator. The ELR is a range-extended electric vehicle. Said range extender is an 83 horsepower 1.4L ECOTEC I-4.
The 16.5-kWh batteries require up to 18 hours to charge at 120 V. On 240, the time drops to approximately 5 hours. Total maximum range is of just under 550 km. EV range is of under 60 km.
Driving the 2014 Cadillac ELR
The 2014 ELR drives as any Cadillac should. In other words, it is quiet and at ease covering distance at just about any speed. The fact that it is an EV adds to the plush experience.
What is (but shouldn't be) surprising is how well the ELR handles. As a low-slung, wide-tracked and low-centre-of-gravity coupe (thanks to the location of the battery cells), the ELR hugs the road with an impressive amount of ease. Front-end grip and crisp turn-in actually make the Caddy feel far sportier than I initially expected.
The ride quality is well judged where comfort remains a priority, but second on the list of the suspension's achievements is maintaining a flat confidence-inspiring drive.
The ELR's instant electric torque makes for a quick take-off. Although the ELR is, on paper (or screen), more powerful than the Volt with which it shares everything you don't see on the Caddy. However, it doesn't feel any quicker than the Chevy.
I found an enormous amount of pleasure driving the 2014 Cadillac ELR around town. I was unable to plug it in for a full recharge while I was at the helm. In a week's time, I covered over 500 km and averaged 4L/100km. Although remarkably low, there's something wrong about having to consume fuel at all after paying $80k all the while being thankful that the range extender did its job otherwise I would have been stranded...
Inside and Out of the 2014 Cadillac ELR
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The 2014 Cadillac ELR is spectacular to behold. The number of visual elements, an unusually high number, immediately point to the fact that the ELR should be a concept car. Its profile, its funky and larger-than-life head- and taillights, and huge satin-finish grille should typically be found on a car nestled on a turntable in the middle of an auto show floor.
The cabin is equally detailed with no less than five textures on the dashboard alone. Fit and finish are very good, however, some portions of the centre stack have larger gaps than I would expect in an $80k car.
The seats are enormously comfortable and I will be honest and say that I did not attempt to sit in the rear. By the looks of it, an adult could sit back there but not for long. The trunk is also tight and will serve for a weekend's trip worth of luggage.
The ELR is fully loaded with, among many other things, Cadillac CUE, which includes a power-flow monitor. In a few words, it works quite well.
Comparing the 2014 Cadillac ELR
This is where the 2014 Cadillac ELR suffers the most. As I note in the video, the Caddy Coupe is up against cars half its asking price with fewer sacrifices including the donor Chevy Volt that retails for less than $37k.
The new BMW i3 is the killer here, in my opinion. It's nowhere near as racy as the ELR but its got the brand and the technology and design, and it's got a $48,950 asking price with the range extender.