What Is It?
2014 Cadillac ELR
What's Special About It?
Well that's the question, isn't it?
Financially, this vehicle can't be much of a stretch for GM. After all, the car had a short, 18-month development time and it uses the front HiPerstrut system (HiPerstrut is lighter and has a lower electrical draw than GM's magnetorheological units) and wheels (albeit with a slightly different design) from the Opel Astra GTC. The new rear Watts link is borrowed from the Cruze. The 20-inch Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS tires were borrowed from the 2013 Cadillac XTS and are already tuned by Bridgestone to deliver optimum fuel efficiency and driving characteristics, and the entire powertrain is a tuned version of the one found in the Chevy Volt complete with T-shaped battery pack and the iron-block 1.4-liter gasoline engine.
But because of the ELR's weight (it is a luxury car after all) increased coefficient of drag (.305 vs. .28), increased rolling resistance and unspring weight of the wide 20s, the ELR is going to get worse fuel economy and less range than the Volt. GM is currently estimating 35 miles of electric range in comparison to the Volt's 38 miles. Fuel economy will fall marginally below the Volt's 93 MPGe and 35/40 EPA rating.
What the ELR does have on the Volt is refinement. In true Cadillac style, the ELR features a handsome interior with "cut-and-sew accented leather incorporating sueded microfiber, chrome, wood and available carbon-fiber finishes." GM says that the interior has a handmade feel. The concept's interior is nice, no doubt, but think Audi, not Bentley.
The ELR also comes with Cadillac's CUE infotainment system and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with active noise cancellation. Cadillac says that this system, combined with the acoustic benefits of a coupe instead of a hatch, make the ELR a much different place to spend time than the Chevy Volt. Along with increased quietness, the aforementioned HiPer Strut (traditionally used on hi-po FWD cars from GM) and revised rear suspension have been tuned for "spirited driving," says ELR Chief Engineer Chris Tomason. In fact, the ELR has a "sport" driving mode that quickens the steering and recalibrates the accelerator pedal for more fun.
Cadillac's ELR also bests the Volt by coming standard with the AT-PZEV emissions rating that will allow access to California's ritzy, gated HOV lanes.
Add this up and you've got an extremely attractive, efficient car that builds on and heavily refines the Volt's basic theme. Early rumors are suggesting that the ELR (which will be a limited-production vehicle for GM) will carry a price premium of up to $20,000 more than the $39,145 Volt. We hope not. Official pricing will be announced later this year.
What Edmunds Says: Production begins late this year with an estimated on-sale date of early 2014, but something's telling us there won't be a very long line unless the price is right.
Base Price: $60,000-$70,000 (est.)
Engine: 1.4-liter gasoline engine with 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Gearbox: Single-speed automatic
Power: 207 (total output)
Fuel Mileage: N/A (Lower than Volt's 98 Combined MPGe/35/40 rating)
Dimensions: 186-inch length, 72.7-inch width, 55.9-inch height, 106.1-inch wheelbase, 4,070-pound curb weight