Overview & Reviews
For shoppers with a green conscience, there's an undeniable appeal to plug-in hybrid cars like the Cadillac ELR coupe. Depending on your driving habits, you may be able to spend your weekdays commuting in all-electric mode, while an onboard gasoline engine gives you the ability to venture far beyond the reach of an extension cord on the weekends. You'll also travel in style in the ELR, which is among the first luxury-brand plug-in hybrids. Its bold design and plush interior will likely pique your interest, even if you've never considered buying a hybrid before.
A two-door coupe, the Cadillac ELR manages to look less utilitarian than other hybrids, while still offering seating for four. Although it's mechanically based on the Chevrolet Volt, you'd never guess that from outward appearances, as the ELR's angular lines, rich leather and long list of standard amenities give it a distinctly Cadillac feel. In our experience, however, the driving experience is just too similar to Chevy's hybrid. The gasoline engine gets noisy under duress, while the ride quality is unpolished for a luxury coupe. Factor in the Cadillac ELR's substantial price tag and very small backseat and trunk and we have a hard time recommending this hybrid coupe in spite of its unusual blend of style and frugality.
Current Cadillac ELR
Introduced for 2014, the Cadillac ELR is a plug-in hybrid coupe. There is only one trim level available and only one available powertrain. The front-wheel-drive ELR is primarily powered by an electric motor that generates 157 horsepower (117 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet of torque. That electric motor is fed by a 16.5-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack, and it provides an EPA-estimated 37 miles of all-electric driving range.
When the battery charge is mostly depleted, an 84-hp, 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine springs to life to power the electric motor and provide as much as 300 additional miles of range. For the most part, the gasoline engine is used as an electricity generator for the electric drive motor, though in some situations it kicks in to boost the car's performance. You'll need to plug into an outlet to do a full recharge of the battery pack. This takes about 4-5 hours using a 240-volt charger.
The standard features list on the Cadillac ELR is long. It includes 20-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power and heated front seats, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen display with the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment interface, a navigation system, and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface. Standard safety tech includes OnStar emergency communications, lane departure and forward collision warning systems, and Cadillac's Safety Alert Seat (which vibrates to get the driver's attention when either of those warning systems is triggered).
An optional Luxury package bundles automatic high-beam control, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert systems, and a different 20-inch wheel design, while a Kona brown leather package supplies premium leather and additional power seat adjustments. À la carte options include adaptive cruise control (with automatic collision preparation) and a glovebox-mounted CD player.
Operating in full-electric mode, the Cadillac ELR is quiet and smooth, though not especially quick for a car in this price range. Once you've depleted the batteries, the gasoline engine switches on and life isn't nearly as peaceful. Cadillac has taken various measures to mask the sounds from the engine bay, but there's no hiding the four-cylinder's raucous power delivery when you're accelerating quickly to highway speeds. And although the ELR rides well on freshly paved roads, the Cadillac's suspension simply isn't able to absorb ripples and imperfections with the sophistication we'd expect in this price range.
Inside the ELR, you're greeted by a well-organized dashboard wrapped in several layers of leather and simulated suede. There's no denying the luxurious look and feel of this cabin, but the CUE infotainment system might detract from your enjoyment of it, as this touchscreen interface is difficult to use and often distracting. Tall drivers will find plenty of headroom and legroom up front, but due to the ELR's dramatically sloped roof line, the backseat is so short on headroom and shoulder room that you probably won't use it very often. The roof also takes its toll on trunk access, as the opening is unusually small, making it difficult to take advantage of the 10.5-cubic-foot luggage space. On a more positive note, the rear seats fold (with a fixed console in between), providing a little extra utility for running errands.
Used Cadillac ELR Models
The Cadillac ELR is all new, but buyers interested in purchasing a plug-in hybrid car with similar electric-only range may want to check out the Chevrolet Volt, which went on sale for 2011 and provides much the same driving experience.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 7 of 7.00
Wow - Get One If You Can Find One - 2014 Cadillac ELR
By BigW - November 6 - 5:34 pm
I'd never bought an electric car before, so I researched the heck out of this thing before I bought it. I probably read every review and watched every video review out there. Then I went out and drove the car. Going in, I expected it to be very much a mixed bag, with some big compromises I might be able to live with given the heavily discounted price. What I found instead was an absolutely stellar car that just didn't fit the conventional narrative and has really slipped through the cracks. Is it a modern sports car? No. But it has plenty of power, nice handling, etc. The disconnect between what some reviewers said and the car's actual performance was breathtaking. In the kind of driving we all do in the real world, it will give you absolutely nothing to complain about. It looks like it ought to be able to take on a Porsche 911 and it isn't that fast, but that is the only way in which the driving dynamics will disappoint you. Is it a eco-warrior statement car? No. No one will actually realize that you are driving something that is better for the environment than a Prius. So people who want to wear that on their sleeves will hate it because it doesn't make an eco-statement. Also, it is far too plush and luxurious to give off that "I'm sacrificing for the good of the planet" vibe. Is it a traditional luxury car? Not really. It is much more sporty and nimble than a traditional luxury car. The ride is smooth and well-composed, not floaty at all. However, the interior is all luxury car, and the levels of quiet are better than any luxury car I've ever seen. What it really is, is a car purpose-built for the real and relatively uninteresting driving we actually do in the real world. You don't need a huge V8 to putter along in commuter traffic. You don't need a bone-crushing suspension that handles well but beats you up every mile when you only see those twisty car commercial roads in car commercials. In the real world, quiet matters. In the real world, power matters but only up to a point. In the real world, handling and ride quality need to be thoughtfully balanced. In the real world, you shouldn't waste gas getting to work, even when it is cheap. The ELR does every one of those things well, all while looking absolutely amazing. Yes, the backseat is tiny. Yes, it should not have sold for $80k initially. But that is about as far as the legitimate criticisms go. With gas prices low, these things are selling for absolutely absurd prices. They are very rare, so finding one can be a challenge. But if you land one, you will end up with an amazing bargain.
The Ultimate Commuter Car - 2014 Cadillac ELR
By profrob - October 30 - 12:33 am
The ELR makes my commute so much nicer. It is quiet, it is smooth, it has an amazing sound system, and it's economical. Without too much effort, I can make my 40 mile round trip on electric only. This isn't a fun car you want to rip up mountain roads in that's not what it's designed to do. It's designed to cart you around town in a quiet, luxurious cocoon that is still responsive and fun to drive. Having the engine backup is vital. There's no way I could do an EV with less than 100 miles of range without being constantly paranoid that I'd run out of juice. The ELR solves that problem. You can milk the batteries for all they've got, then the motor kicks in to keep you going.
ELR beats Tesla S hands down!! - 2014 Cadillac ELR
By rowley123 - June 13 - 8:08 am
I wanted a luxury electric car and thought Tesla was the way to go UNTIL I saw the CADILLAC ELR. This car is the way to go if you are looking for a high end electric car that is fun to drive and practical. The all electric cars concerned me since you HAD to plan a long distance trip around charging. The ELS, however has a 9 gallon gas tank there to power the generator to make more electricity- how awesome is that!!! (It is NOT a hybrid with a gasoline engine). My only fault is with the rear seat size - but lets face it, the population that drives an ELR is not running kids to dance lessons - you are way past that! (or have a mini van for the "family car".)
Love it! - 2016 Cadillac ELR
By Jeff Bauman - May 16 - 12:56 pm
I knew this would be an awesome car. Mis-understood by the market. I have owned several Cadis. This one has the nicest interior. Show stopping exterior. There is lots of talk out there about lack of horsepower. I am thrilled with the "pick-up". Being electric, the torque is really awesome! I can punch holes in traffic easily and I leave everyone in the dust at stoplights. Does NOT feel underpowered at all. My commute to work allows me to use electric only. WOW!
Electric Luxury Roadster...the ELR is all that - 2016 Cadillac ELR
By Steven Long - February 4 - 2:31 am
Quite simply having owned BMW's, Corvette's etc (I love these cars BTW)....The ELR is the greatest car ever. Show stopping styling, luxurious interior, innovative technology. I regularly have strangers ask what it is. Several people have photographed it. In the first 1200 miles I have put on it. my gas consumption is is 0. Need I say more...get one while you can!
ELR - 2016 Cadillac ELR
By Clifford Reid - March 19 - 9:19 am
ELR is the future. Great two door commuter car or for the weekend. Inside comfort is nice. I like the combo of touch screen and buttond. Seats are very comfortable. I think a price of $60 k to $65 k is fair for this 2 door luxury futuristic coup.
You Should Road Test a 2016 - 2016 Cadillac ELR
By SAM - March 28 - 6:24 am
There are great deals available. The ELR is discontinued and will certainly become a collectors item. As battery technology improves, it is conceivable ELR battery replacement will become available. This is a car to keep... My 2016 Sport is fast, comfortable, provides great MPGe and is an overall thrill to drive all the time. Cadillac has no idea about marketing and have made a huge mistake by ending its life. I took it to a Cadillac event in NJ recently and everyone was incredibly impressed. Every new Caddy should have a plug-in option and offer technology upgrades as they become available, similar to Tesla. Also, the idiot auto bloggers and journalists haven't a clue when it comes to what people want. It is not always about 0-100. There is not 1 test on a 2016 ELR I can find.