Radiant Silver Metallic, Adaptive Cruise Control ($1,995 -- includes full-speed range-adaptive cruise control), Luxury Package, ($1,695 --- includes 20-by-8.5-inchultra-bright machined aluminum wheels with Midnight Silver premium painted pockets; IntelliBeam headlamps; side blind-zone alert; rear cross-traffic alert)
Naturally aspirated, port-injected inline-4, gasoline with auto stop-start
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake and exhaust-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
84 @ 4,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
Planetary gearset CVT with direct drive and blended modes
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
There are several different modes you can fiddle with in this car, but most of them make little difference. We started with a full electric charge for the first runs. The very first run was in Normal with ESC and TC on. Turning off ESC/TC and switching to Sport mode made...pretty much zero difference. Power braking (overlapping throttle and brake) also does nothing to improve times. What did make a difference was putting the ELR into "Hold" mode, which brings the gasoline engine into play, and this was good for a 0.8-second improvement. Later, after we ran the car fully out of electric juice, we ran some more acceleration runs and our best run here was within 0.01-second to 60 mph, although quarter-mile times and trap speeds were ever-so-slightly better when the car had some battery power left. There's little technique nor driving skill needed to launch this car, because even with traction control turned off it never even came close to chirping the tires.
The ELR proves why panic-braking tests are good for showing a car's instrumented stopping distance, and whether it exhibits pedal fade or not, but tells you little about how the car is out on the road in normal conditions. Because out on the road the ELR shows the wonky, hard-to-modulate hybrid braking characteristics we've always despised, making it hard to judge exactly how much pedal pressure you need to come to a smooth stop. Yet in our panic stops the pedal was firm, had a normal amount of travel and the car had well-controlled nosedive. We noticed a minor amount of side-to-side squirm due to the relatively low-grip tires. But the pedal remained consistent throughout. The first stop was the shortest at 116 feet. The third and fifth stops were the longest at 121 feet, while the sixth and final stop was 119 feet.
Slalom: The ELR actually does pretty well through the slalom, almost as sporty as it looks. What's interesting here is how eager it is to oversteer (swing the tail out): wasn't really expecting that. The key to a good time is to keep the aggressiveness of your turns to a minimum, because quick, hard turns bring the tail out, which then causes the stability control system to get in the game. Temper your aggression and the stability system will stay fairly hands-off. The steering is pretty quick and offers some semblance of feel, certainly more than we remember in the Chevy Volt. Skid pad: Grip level from these tires is only OK. In this lower-speed setting the ELR shows nowhere near the sporty characteristics it exhibited in the slalom. For the most part it's a constant battle to keep the front tires from sliding across the pavement. Changes in throttle have some effect, but not much. When left on, the stability control system cuts throttle and adds brakes, but not to the point that you can just keep the throttle pinned all the way around the circle. We could not beat the stability system's lateral g figure with all systems switched off. We had to settle for a tie.