LOS ANGELES — July 14, 2015 — Competing with Tesla is tough, but Cadillac’s 2014 ELR (and the faster, more efficient and better equipped 2016 Cadillac ELR) is an excellent choice for need-to-go green execs and celebrities who don’t want to run out of watts as this stunning two-door coupe runs on Chevy’s Volt gas-electric plug-in platform. A 2014 Cadillac ELR road test review through LA’s posh Hollywood Hills and EV-friendly West Hollywood.
One of the best things about Cadillac’s 340-mile“extended range” plug-in vehicles – the 2014 and upcoming 2016 Cadillac ELR – is this stunningly-designed super coupe is available more widely than most luxury EVs, especially Tesla. Cadillac boasts its ELR can be purchased “in all major U.S. metropolitan areas.” However, the $75,995 price isn’t one of its best features (includes $995 destination charge but excludes tax, title, license and dealer fees).
Fortunately, the 2014 ELR model qualifies most owners for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 (depending on individual tax liability), which makes the price decrease to $68,495 (again, including the $995 destination fee).
Worried about buying a first gen 2014 ELR? Actually, all Cadillac models come with a fleet of “Cadillac Shield” services including a four-year (or 50,000 miles) “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, an eight-year (100,000 miles) battery warranty, a six-year (or 70,000 miles) powertrain warranty, three years of OnStar “directions and connections,” six years of courtesy transportation (or 70,000 miles), six years (or 70,000 miles) of roadside assistance, remote vehicle diagnostics and a “premium care maintenance” program.
As for safety, there’s another worry that can be laid to rest. The 2014 ELR has a host of advanced “active” safety features including eight air bags, rear “vision” camera, a “safety alert seat,” forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.
But perhaps the best thing about ELR is the exterior. Cadillac calls the ELR’s exterior “provocative.” This car junkie wholeheartedly agrees. And my road test around LA, Hollywood and design-forward West Hollywood confirmed my suspicions that the ELR is a green underdog worthy of more praise for its pure panache.
Plus, the ELR comes standard with Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system. Beaming at you via the eight-inch color “capacitive touch” screen as well as amidst the ELR’s behind-the-wheel digital gauges with ergonomic controls on the steering wheel, CUE is way more than cool, especially with the 2016 model’s OnStar rolling wireless hotspot connection service.
The interior of the 2014 ELR makes you feel alive, sensual, comfortable and exhilarated all at the same time. Build quality inside is superb with its authentic two-tone leather as well as burnished and shiny silver accents. The leather-wrapped steering wheel fits perfectly in your hands and – with all the controls literally at your fingertips or with the sound of your own voice – you feel like you are driving one of the most technologically-advanced machines on the planet.
So, how does it drive? The 2014 Cadillac ELR goes about 37 incredibly smooth-riding miles on energy from its 16.5 kW lithium ion battery pack. Then, this green spaceship glides another 300+ miles (or 82 MPGe) on its 1.4-liter gasoline engine.
Happily rolling around Hollywood’s Hills, we discovered this well-crafted coupe is a delight to drive in stop-and-go traffic, around sage-lined curves and down fast-moving freeways. Surely, the Cadillac ELR is a fun-to-drive and fun-to-own green ride.
Looking Ahead: 2016 Cadillac ELR Improvements
GM has already announced its highlights from the ever-better 2016 ELR. Somehow, GM and Cadillac engineers were able to improve acceleration, electric driving range, torque, handling, steering, braking and even makes your ELR a wireless hotspot.
Most impressive is the 2016 ELR’s “revised” electric drive system, which Cadillac claims “increases horsepower and torque by more than 25 percent with an improved acceleration time, more responsive brakes,” and a “retuned chassis and steering” for better handling. ELR powertrain engineers also added a new “modified Sport mode” that combines both engines to propel this wundercar from 0-60 mph in just 6.4 seconds. The 2016 model is now estimated to go almost 40 miles (EPA estimated at 39) on pure electric power and can be fully recharged using a 240-volt outlet in about five hours or overnight.
Cadillac also added a new optional “performance package,” which further improves handling and braking with its 20-inch sport wheels, front Brembo four-piston brake calipers, electric power steering systems and sport steering wheel with a thicker rim.
Outside, Cadillac updated the already fantastic-looking grille. Inside, the 2016 ELR gets ever more smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay, three free months of OnStar’s 4G LTE “wireless hotspot” connectivity (with wireless charging!), text messaging alerts, Siri Eyes Free (for iPhones 6 & 7 only) and standard turn-by-turn navigation.
Whatever you choose – 2014 or 2016 Cadillac ELR – you won’t regret walking up to this delicious green ride and slipping into the lush cabin surrounded by titillating technology. Nor will you feel guilty about putting this plug-in pedal to the electric motor for drives to work or around town. And just think of it, you CAN drive your head-turning ELR to Vegas. Yes, yes you can.