2014 Cadillac ELR, an extended-range hybrid, is the most
premium Cadillac on the market, including far more upscale
features as standard equipment than any other Cadillac to
has entered the electric-vehicle fray for 2014 with the
introduction of the ELR four-passenger coupe, which uses a drive
system nearly identical to that of the similar Chevrolet Volt.
give General Motors its own answer to the increasingly popular
Tesla Model S all-electric car, the ELR (Electric Long Range)
can go up to 37 miles on battery power alone, with a full
charge. But unlike the Tesla, the ELR can go an additional
300-plus miles on gasoline, using its 1.4-liter four-cylinder
engine to run a generator to power the car’s electric motor.
longest-range version of the Tesla, whose prices are similar to
those of the ELR, can go up to 265 miles on a full charge of its
battery pack. But then it must be recharged from an external
power source for several hours before it can go that far again.
ELR, if it runs out of battery power, the gasoline engine kicks
in, and it can be refueled in minutes just like any other
gasoline-powered car. Of course, you won’t be getting the
fuel-economy advantages of battery power at that point. The car
gets a combined 33 mpg when running on the gasoline engine,
according to EPA estimates, way down from the 82 mpg-equivalent
when operating solely on battery power.
the battery can be fully charged in 12.5-18 hours with the
included 120-volt charging system, or in about five hours with
an optional 240-volt charger. The point of the ELR and the Volt’s
systems, though, are that if you don’t have the time to
recharge the battery, you can keep going on gasoline power.
overnight using 120-volt household current, we were able to get
enough power into the battery to run our test vehicle about 30
miles in EV (electric vehicle) mode. The onboard
distance-to-empty computer told us we had about 300 miles left
on the gasoline engine once the battery ran down. There is a
separate meter that shows remaining EV range.
holds just 9.3 gallons of the required premium unleaded fuel,
which limits the range to much less than we’re used to on our
own vehicles. My Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, for instance, can
go well over 500 miles on a tank of gas — but it has a
the same 9.3-gallon tank on the Volt, so both it and the ELR
have the shorter range. But it takes just a quick stop at a gas
station to go another 300 miles or so.
with the Volt, though, the ELR doesn’t seem to be as
practical. It has just two passenger doors instead of the Volt’s
four, and while both vehicles are technically designed to seat
up to four people, the ELR’s dual rear captain’s chairs don’t
offer much leg and knee room—especially if there are big
people up front who need to ride with their seats all the way
back on their tracks.
also quite a chore for an adult to get into and out of the ELR’s
back seat through the front doors.
But if you’re
not putting adults in the back seat regularly and want a truly
cool car loaded with luxury and high-tech features, the ELR
might be for you. You’ll certainly have plenty to talk about
wherever you take it.
certainly a beautiful vehicle, and it turns heads wherever it
goes. It has its own take on Cadillac’s modern art-and-science
design theme, which combines dramatic curves with chiseled
creases to create a compelling exterior appearance.
the car is loaded with luxurious touches, including very
comfortable heated leather bucket seats up front that include
16-way adjustment on both sides (eight power adjustments for the
seats themselves, four power for the lumbar support, and four
manual for the headrests). There is a memory for the driver’s
seat, but not the passenger’s.
rear seats are separated by center consoles, and the rear seats
fold flat (a 40/40 configuration) to allow for cargo use.
price includes 20-inch ultra-bright machined-aluminum wheels
with all-season tires. But our test vehicle came with a Luxury
Package that also brought midnight-silver premium paint for the
wheels, along with Intellibeam headlights, and the rear
cross-traffic alert and side blind-zone alert systems.
had two other packages, as well. One included a Kona Brown
exterior with jet-black accents and a full-leather interior with
20-way adjustable front seats (10 power for the seats, and two
extra manual adjustments for thigh support).
package added adaptive cruise control with automatic collision
preparation and intelligent brake assist.
options, total sticker price of our car was $82,135, including
freight. You’d still have a very nice ELR without those
extras, but I suppose many buyers in this price range wouldn’t
balk at paying for the options.
front-wheel-drive layout includes an electric drive motor that
turns out 181 horsepower, but also a quite respectable 295
foot-pounds of torque — which helps give the ELR plenty of zip
for startup and freeway merging.
is 106 mph, and the ELR can go from zero-60 mph in 8.8 seconds
using battery power alone, or in 7.8 seconds when operating in
extended-range mode, GM says. No reason was given for the
difference, but it must have to do with more power being
generated for the electric motor when the gasoline engine is
is quite a bit less than what has been published for the Tesla
Model S, which can go from zero to 62 mph in about 4.4 seconds.
That makes the Tesla the sporty one of the two — but remember
that once its battery runs down, you’re stuck for a few hours.
that the ELR provides "programmable charging schedules and
energy-efficiency reports" that can be accessed online and
through smartphone applications.
and handling of the ELR are more impressive than its
acceleration. The car has advanced chassis and suspension
systems that include a special strut arrangement up front, and
continuous damping control. It feels like a sports car at times,
and the ride is cushy, but without being spongy.
an exclusive regeneration-on-demand system that uses the vehicle’s
momentum to help recharge the battery — similar to the
regenerative-braking systems included on hybrid vehicles such as
the Toyota Prius. The driver engages the system using
steering-wheel paddles similar to those used to manually shift
automatic transmissions on other vehicles.
the ELR’s range is designed to be long enough for most
consumers to complete their daily commutes on battery power
alone. The extended range would therefore be used mostly for
weekend drives or over-the-road trips, or any other days when
extra driving would exceed the EV range. The ELR’s range on
battery power is about half of what the typical Nissan Leaf
driver would expect. But like the Tesla, the Leaf relies on
battery power alone, with no extended-range feature.
the ELR’s enhanced low-emissions system meet California’s
criteria for using the vehicle in carpool lanes with only one
other standard features are LED headlights, daytime running
lights and taillights; cut-and-sewn accented leather seats;
interior trim that uses sueded microfiber, chrome, wood and
optional carbon fiber; and the Cadillac CUE audio and
connectivity system with navigation.
system works using natural voice recognition, capacitive touch
and hand gestures, and would take some getting used to. That’s
something I didn’t have time to master during my weeklong test
of the ELR. Without knowledge and practice, controlling the
audio, navigation and even the HVAC systems can be difficult and
distracting, as there are no simple buttons and switches for
included safety features are the Safety Alert Seat, which
vibrates under the driver when the vehicle is getting close to
hitting something; and Forward Collision Alert and Lane
There is a
standard premium Bose 10-channel audio system with active noise
cancellation. With an iPhone connected to the system, my own
music choices sounded phenomenal throughout the car’s
windows/mirrors/door locks are standard, along with a remote and
pushbutton start. Trunk space is limited to just 10.5 cubic
parts of the electric drive system, including the lithium-ion
battery pack, are covered by a warranty for eight years or
100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
assembles the ELR in its Hamtramck plant in Detroit, which also
makes the Volt.
8.3 (of a possible 10).
package: Compact, two-door, four-passenger, electric motor and
four-cylinder gasoline powered, extended-range plug-in hybrid,
New for 2014, the ELR is Cadillac’s take on the Chevrolet
Volt, using a similar drive system, but with substantial
differences in styling, along with the addition of luxury
amenities. Like the Volt, this is an electric
motor/battery-powered car that comes with a gasoline engine to
run an electric generator to keep it going when the battery runs
down. It’s stylish and quite high-tech, but also more
practical than battery-only cars such as the Tesla, its major
Back seat is a tight fit for adults; too expensive to attract
mainstream luxury buyers.
Electric motor (drives the wheels exclusively); 1.4-liter
four-cylinder gasoline engine powers an onboard generator to
provide electricity to the motor when the lithium-ion battery
pack runs down.
Continuously variable automatic
181 horsepower/295 pound-feet
weight (base): 4,050 pounds
front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock
volume: 10.5 cubic feet
air bags: Front seat-mounted; roof-mounted side-curtain for both
stability control: Standard
capacity/type: 9.3 gallons/unleaded premium required
fuel economy: 31 mpg city/35 highway/33 combined (running on
gasoline only); 82 mpg-e combined (battery power — gasoline
range/ total range: 37 miles (battery power only, full charge)/
340 miles (battery and gasoline, with full charge)
as tested, including destination charge: $82,135