Used 2016 Cadillac ELR Coupe

2016 Cadillac ELR
List price range
2016 Cadillac ELR

Pros

  • Bold, contemporary styling
  • luxurious interior accommodates drivers of all sizes
  • low monthly fuel cost if you plug-in regularly
  • sporty power and handling for a plug-in hybrid.

Cons

  • Still has a lofty base price
  • noisy gasoline engine
  • claustrophobic backseat
  • tiny trunk with narrow access
  • touchscreen can be slow to respond
  • continued use of the original Chevrolet Volt powertrain.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Cadillac's 2016 ELR plug-in-hybrid is a good-looking coupe that also bestows green credentials on its driver. But even with this year's updates, the ELR still lacks the refinement and everyday usefulness of other luxury plug-in hybrids and sport coupes.

vehicle overview

Electric and hybrid-electric cars are becoming more common sights in U.S. cities and upscale models of the plug-in hybrid variety can be found in almost all of the European automakers' luxury-car showrooms. Among U.S. car companies, though, there's only one in the luxury coupe segment, the 2016 Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid, a sport coupe that is as chiseled, muscular and handsome as a Hollywood leading man.

The ELR offers all-electric power almost all of the time, with the engine relegated in most circumstances to generating more juice when the lithium-ion battery's initial charge is depleted. The power stored when the battery is plugged into the grid is good for a segment-leading 39 miles of range. After that, a four-cylinder gas engine-generator fires up to supply electric power. A full battery and a full tank of gas will combine to give the ELR an estimated 330 miles of total range. The ELR coupe can be an intriguing proposition if you're looking to make a fashion statement while reducing your environmental footprint. But it falls short of an Oscar-winning performance in either the luxury car or sport coupe categories.

Beneath its hood, the 2016 Cadillac ELR shares its major mechanical components with the previous generation 2015 Chevrolet Volt. The 2016 Volt should be able to deliver close to 50 miles of all-electric range from a completely redesigned powertrain that the Cadillac won't get for at least one more model year. To help make amends, Cadillac engineers plumbed the depth of their programming skills and retuned the ELR's power management software. As a result, the 2016 ELR is a fair bit quicker than the 2014 model it replaces. Cadillac's coupe also has a much richer interior than its Chevy cousin and comes with considerably more standard equipment.

Unfortunately, even with a significant MSRP reduction the 2016 ELR's price tag is more than double that of the Volt's. This makes the raucous drone from the ELR's four-cylinder engine that much more difficult to take once you deplete its all-electric range. Cadillac has tried to mask the engine's coarseness with hydraulic engine mounts, sound-absorbing materials and a noise-cancelling audio system, but it simply isn't enough when you're accelerating hard. Caddy has reworked the 2016 ELR's suspension and we haven't tested it as of this writing. Its predecessor, however, had a serene ride on smooth roads but delivered a surprising amount of harshness for a luxury car over rougher pavement. Beyond that, the 2016 ELR's dramatic roofline creates some major packaging issues: The backseat is small to the point of being almost unusable, and the trunk opening is extraordinarily narrow.

For the moment, the 2016 Cadillac ELR has few direct rivals. If you simply want a plug-in hybrid with lots of electric range, a fully loaded 2016 Volt might be for you. On the higher end, you could consider the Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid, which delivers far more in the way of performance but only 20 miles of pure electric range. If you're a bit more adventurous, the all-electric Tesla Model S is the best pure EV you can buy, or you could go totally wild with the two-seat, aluminum-and-carbon-fiber BMW i8. On the other hand, if a luxury coupe is what you're really after and you don't care about electric drive, the Audi A5 and S5, and BMW 6 Series have plenty of style to go around and can be fairly fuel-efficient, depending on the engine you choose.

Although it's an improvement over the 2014 model, the 2016 ELR coupe doesn't quite have the performance credentials, refinement or day-to-day functionality to justify the asking price.

Trim levels & features

The 2016 Cadillac ELR is a two-door plug-in hybrid coupe, with seating for four passengers. It comes in a single trim level.

Standard features on the ELR include 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, LED headlights with automatic high-beam control, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry and remote ignition. Inside you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power and heated front seats, folding rear seats, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen display with the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) interface, voice controls, a navigation system and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface. Standard safety tech includes OnStar emergency communications with 4G LTE, built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts,
lane departure and forward collision warning systems and Cadillac's Safety Alert Seat. New for 2016 is wireless charging capability for the ELR's battery pack.

An optional Kona brown leather package supplies premium leather and additional power seat adjustments. The new Performance Package includes a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, summer-only performance tires and 20-inch sport alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, and sport-tuned suspension and steering. A downside of this package is that the stickier tires lower the 2016 ELR's all-electric range to 35 miles.

Adaptive cruise control with forward collision mitigation is a standalone option.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 Cadillac ELR improves on its predecessor, the 2014 ELR (there was no 2015 model), with a significant cut in the base MSRP, a nice jump in torque and horsepower, sportier suspension settings, upgraded brakes, a standard suite of driver assistance technologies, a slightly tweaked grille and badge design, wireless battery pack charging capability and an optional Performance Pack.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2016 Cadillac ELR is primarily powered by an electric motor that puts out 157 horsepower (117 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet of torque. That electric motor is fed by a 17.1-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack until the battery charge is mostly depleted and an 83-hp, 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine springs to life to power the electric motor. For the most part, the gasoline engine is used as an electricity generator for the electric drive motor, though in some situations it kicks in to boost the car's performance.

There are Normal, Hold, Sport and Mountain modes designed to maximize the powertrain's performance and efficiency in different situations. The Sport mode has been recalibrated and gives a 1.5-second boost to zero-to-60 mph acceleration, bringing it down to a claimed 6.4 seconds. Total system output in Sport is 233 hp and 373 lb-ft.

Recharging the battery can be done partially while driving (through regenerative braking and the engine generator), but you'll need to plug into an outlet to regain a full charge. Plugged into a 240-volt power source, the 2016 ELR will take about four to five hours to recharge from empty. It can take 12 hours or more on the 110-volt charging cord that comes with the car. Cadillac also has equipped the 2016 ELR to be compatible with the wireless charging system developed and marketed by Plugless Power.

Cadillac estimates that a full charge will give it up to 39 miles of electric range, which is one mile less than the 2015 Volt and not bad given the ELR's additional power, increased weight and wider tires.

The EPA has not yet rated the 2016 Cadillac ELR's fuel-efficiency as of this writing, but with the same powertrain as the previous model it should be about the same 82 MPGe overall and 33 mpg when all the power for the electric motor is coming from the gas engine-generator which, unfortunately, requires premium-grade fuel.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2016 Cadillac ELR include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, a frontal collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system. Cadillac's Safety Alert Seat vibrates to get the driver's attention when those warning systems are triggered. Also standard is a three-year OnStar Guidance plan, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

Optional safety equipment is limited to a forward collision preparation system, included with adaptive cruise control, which can automatically apply the brakes to reduce the severity of an imminent collision.

Driving

In full-electric mode, the 2016 Cadillac ELR has a smooth power delivery and this, along with the coupe's well-insulated interior and standard active noise cancellation system, makes for a quiet ride. But things change once you've depleted the batteries' charge and the 1.4-liter gasoline engine awakens. This engine simply isn't very quiet or refined, and when you're accelerating to pass or climbing a significant grade, its raucous soundtrack upsets the calm in the cabin. Fortunately, performance has been increased and with its zero-to-60-mph time down to a snappy 6.4 seconds, the 2016 ELR is a lot more competitive with other sport luxury coupes.

Cadillac says it has retuned the ELR to provide sportier handling this year. We've yet to drive the new version, but it's fair to assume the 2016 car will be responsive and precise when driven around turns. Potentially more concerning will be the car's ride quality. It's comfortable and composed when you're driving on pristine pavement, but we found the 2014 ELR could be a bit harsh on deteriorating road surfaces.

Interior

Inside the ELR you'll find a handsomely sculpted dashboard and doors draped with multilayered amalgamations of leather and simulated suede. While we like the look of the cabin, the CUE system detracts from its functionality. This touchscreen interface manages audio, climate, navigation and phone functions, but it can be slow to respond and sometimes misses touch inputs entirely. The system's vibrating haptic feedback is meant to make it easier to use on the move, but the sensations can be awkward until you acclimate.

Drivers of all sizes will find plenty of headroom and legroom up front. The rear seat has become largely ceremonial, though, as shoulder and hip room are extremely limited and the sharply sloping roofline puts the squeeze on headroom as well. The ELR's roof also intrudes on the trunk opening, which is reduced to an awkward vertical slot (imagine loading videotapes into a VCR). Cargo capacity comes in at 10.5 cubic feet, which is less than most plug-in hybrid competitors and luxury coupes alike. Each of the rear seats folds down (with a fixed center console in between), giving you a little more flexibility when running errands.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Cadillac ELR.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

The perfect electric personal luxury coupe v.2
Eric Rotbard, 05/09/2016
Having leased a 2014 Cadillac ELR (and 2011 Chevy Volt before it), the bar was already set very high. Contrary to the comments of many online detractors, the ELR is -not- simply a dressed up Volt. As any EV advocate should tell you, the fact that the Volt and ELR have the same powertrain configuration does not mean they are the same car. That would be like arguing that any internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) is the same as any other because they both have similar engines and transmissions. In an EV, what is a battery but the EV analog to an ICEV gas tank? No one would argue two cars are the same because they have the same gas tank. And the electric motor (be it in a Tesla, Leaf or Volt) is very similar in design from the original EV1 days, so it is more of a one size fits all part far more than the engine and transmission which need to be properly mated to the vehicle application. Lastly, the ICE in the Volt and ELR are designed primarily to provide electricity rather than mechanical energy (although it does that too in limited circumstances). What differentiates the Volt and ELR, then is the software and performance tuning (and the fact that the electric motor is more robust to handle the extra hp and torque). The Volt and ELR provide vastly different driving experiences. Other than the fact that both are silent, you would never confuse driving one for the other. I had previously said that the 2014 ELR was the perfect electric personal luxury coupe. It may not be as fast as a Model S, but it had plenty of torque. Also, whereas the Model S is beautiful, practical, spacious sedan, the beauty of the ELR is that it is the opposite: it is designed to be a personal car first and foremost, not a family car. It is not practical, nor is it intended to be. The 2014 ELR was -exactly- what I wanted: a personal car that can transport my family in a pinch. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful expressions of automotive design in history, both inside and out. I thought I could not be happier with the 2014 ELR... ... until I drove the 2016 ELR. Cadillac increased its performance, refined its handling, upgraded its CUE infotainment system with faster processing, more features, and enhanced the interface, and lowered the price. I had to have it, so I managed to transfer my 2014 ELR lease, and leased a new one. After having an ELR for 2 years, I still enjoy simply looking at it. The new '16 ELR is the perfect expression of Cadillac's Art & Science design theme, and is an absolute joy to drive. I cannot praise it enough.
You Should Road Test a 2016
SAM, 06/06/2016
There are great deals available. The ELR is discontinued and will certainly become a collectors item. As battery technology improves, it is conceivable ELR battery replacement will become available. This is a car to keep... My 2016 Sport is fast, comfortable, provides great MPGe and is an overall thrill to drive all the time. Cadillac has no idea about marketing and have made a huge mistake by ending its life. I took it to a Cadillac event in NJ recently and everyone was incredibly impressed. Every new Caddy should have a plug-in option and offer technology upgrades as they become available, similar to Tesla. Also, the idiot auto bloggers and journalists haven't a clue when it comes to what people want. It is not always about 0-100. There is not 1 test on a 2016 ELR I can find.
Dr Tasso Pappas recommends 1 a day 4 work and play
Dr Tasso Pappas, 09/17/2016
In over 30000 miles I have fallen in love with this auto. These are the most comfortable front seats I have ever seen!,,, The headrests are the best in my 20 years of many new and used cars. I commute 1000 a week and with using my level 2 charger overnight I average 54 miles per gallon. The stereo sounds amazing. The CUE system beats that of my Buick and my Yukon. The ElR. Is an impressive vehicle. The seats are simply the best in comfort of any vehicle I have owned. Although the lack lateral support, the comfort is a 10. The ride is a good balance between sport and cruising. No issues besides a need to replace the intellibeam sensor. We also own a BMW i3 and GM's quality and implementation of hybrid technology is dramatically better. Great vehicle.
Best car I've ever owned!
Lance Jordan, 06/30/2017
This car is hands down the best car I've ever had. I have gotten up to 50 miles on an electric charge. I average around 40mpg or more on the generator, no range anxiety of that of a Tesla. It has a super high end interior, the bose system rocks and the seats are comfortable. Its has ever tech feature you need. The acceleration is strong on the low end. The weight distribution is good, since the weight of the batteries are in the center of the car. Handles like a dream, stops on a dime. The styling is a thing of beauty. I love the car, no complaints whatsoever.
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Features & Specs

MPG
N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 4
1-speed direct drive
Hybrid
N/A
See all Used 2016 Cadillac ELR Coupe features & specs
More about the 2016 Cadillac ELR
Used 2016 Cadillac ELR Coupe Overview

The Used 2016 Cadillac ELR Coupe is offered in the following styles: , and 2dr Coupe (gas/electric hybrid DD).

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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Cadillac ELR?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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