SG Behind the Wheel: Cadillac ELR
The electric car gets a makeover
Last weekend I had the opportunity to drive the 2014 ELR, Cadillac’s new premiere luxury electric vehicle. A descendent of the Chevy Volt, the ELR is an electric hybrid couple – combining a pure electric driving system with a gasoline engine.
The Stuff I Loved:
- The mileage! The fuel economy is insane – 82 MPGe. The electric-only range is 37 miles. 37 miles! Without ever touching the gas tank.
- While it looks like a sports car, the ELR doesn’t feel overly masculine. I could definitely see a guy or a girl – or a couple – happily owning and driving this car.
- It fits a LOT of stuff. We had a bike in the back, two weekender bags, and a hefty amount of groceries. You wouldn’t think it from such a small car, but the trunk could definitely handle a lot of junk.
- People that know cars…know this car. On our way out of town, we got stopped a few times in parking lots by folks asking if this was an electric car, and wanting to quiz me on how many miles it got in the city, on the highway, where the charging station was, etc etc. How they knew I don’t know. But it was fun to talk cars with strangers …up to the point that my limited knowledge of the ELR (and cars in general) ran out, after which point I just sort of shrugged and smiled.
- Its low-end acceleration. I know most of you guys would mark this in the “con” column, but I like when a car doesn’t jerk forward, tires peeling out, when you tap on the gas pedal. It still does zero to 60 in about eight seconds, which someone had to tell me is actually not fast at all for such a little car, but is a second faster than what the Volt could do, so don’t count out electric cars’ ability to add horsepower quite yet.
- In addition to the brake pedal charging the battery pack, the steering-wheel-mounted paddles allow you to manually engage the propulsion system’s electric mode, which is fun in a video game-kind of way. Can you stop before that stop sign without ever putting pedal to the metal? Let’s find out!
The Stuff I Loved a Little Less:
- The display. Something called a “CUE System,” the whole thing was a little funky – for the life of me, I couldn’t tell if it was responsive to touch or manually pressing the buttons, so I just kind of slapped at the dash when I wanted to change the radio station or toggle over to the navigation.
- Awkward door handle design. Instead of handles you grabbed onto and twisted, there was a small button that you sort of had to flip your hand upside down to engage in order to open the car door. I’m sure I’d get used to it eventually, but all weekend I kept forgetting, sitting there momentarily, flummoxed and trapped, before remembering the wrist yoga needed to spring myself.
- The seating arrangement. There was a back seat, but almost no leg room to speak of. I’m glad we had bags back there and no humans. They would not have liked the 2-hour trip.
- The price tag. This is not a cheap car. At $75,000, you need to be very committed to the future of the electric car to opt in.