Review: 2014 Cadillac ELR – Electrifying Luxury


The 2014 Cadillac ELR luxury sports coupe is a blend of Cadillac’s “Art & Science” philosophy, which dictates a stunningly elegant, yet edgy design language, with industry-leading extended range technology in an electric-based vehicle. The ELR’s styling is based on the Cadillac Converi Concept show car, displaying a new and exciting proportion for the marque, as well as a new design theme for the interior that is sure to define the direction of Cadillac models of the future, showcasing an elegant ambience, state-of-the-art technology and highly crafted fit and finish.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2014 Cadillac ELR $75,000 $79,700 181 e-motor / 295
EPA Rating As Tested Range Curb Weight LBS
  32 mpg / 82 MPGe N/A 2,700

The ELR Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) technology delivers a full driving range that exceeds 300 miles, combining the energy of pure electric driving with an efficient range extending generator in the form of a1.4-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine with a continuously variable intake and exhaust phaser and sequential multi-port fuel injection with electronic throttle control. The electric driving capability comes from two electric motors with 117-135 kW of maximum drive power; 55 kW generating power, and 162 kW total system power. Horsepower is rated at 84 @ 4,800 rpms (gas) and 181 hp for electric. Torque is rated at 295 pound feet. There is a Lithium-ion rechargeable energy storage system with multiple linked modules in a 5.5 foot long. T-shaped, glass-filled polyester structural composite with an aluminum thermal radiation shield and steel tray. The gas engine and electric motors are mounted up front and drive the front wheels through a planetary gear set.

Cadillac ELR Engine
Cadillac ELR Engine

An exclusive Regen on Demand feature enhances the ELR’s operational efficiency in combination with selectable drive modes, allowing the driver to temporarily regenerate energy from the ELR’s momentum into electricity that can be stored in the battery pack for future utilization. Regen on Demand is engaged by steering wheel paddles converted from conventional paddles for traditional performance cars. Electric vehicle range anxiety is eliminated through EREV.

The new ELR delivers a bold, athletic, forward-leaning profile that emphasizes Cadillac’s new, progressive theme as part of Cadillac’s design evolution. It carries over almost unchanged from the 2009 Converj concept. The dramatic overall wedge shape is reinforced by a prominent, sweeping bodyline accented by 20-inch wheels that push out to the edges of the body. Vertical headlamp and taillamp elements display Cadillac’s signature for the ELR, day or night, front or rear – a brand design cue since 1948.


Airflow is managed to help the vehicle slip through the air for minimal drag, with aerodynamics playing a critical role in the design with features such as a flush front fascia and grille – with active shutters behind the grille opening – as well as tapered fascia corners that enable air to move easily around the car reducing drag. At the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler also aid in managing airflow. The windshield and back glass feature an aggressive rake, helping to reduce turbulence and drag, contributing to the ELR’s 0.305 coefficient of drag. Additional exterior styling details include: door handles hidden in recesses behind the doors; the charge port is located on the driver’s side front fender; lights on the side mirrors pulse green while the battery charges and go dark when charging is complete. The ELR is available in the following exterior colors: Black Raven, Radiant Silver Metallic, Graphite Metallic and Crystal Red.


Moving to the inside, luxurious appointments, ideal proportions in a flowing and ergonomically executed cockpit incorporating the latest technology interface were top priorities for the ELR interior design. A continuous feature line from the instrument panel through the doors to the back glass was created to establish a complete and harmonious cockpit environment.

The ELR’s 2+2 layout showcases carefully selected materials, including available carbon fiber and ultra-premium Opus semi-aniline leather seating. The interior color palette consists of Medium Cashmere and Jet Black.

Cadillac’s CUE with Navigation is an integral component of the ELR’s driving experience, displaying energy usage and charging options in addition to the standard infotainment options, such as phone contacts and song information.

CUE pairs entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customized information, natural voice commands, fewer buttons and larger icons. A motorized faceplate for CUE pivots upward at the touch of a button, revealing a concealed storage compartment with a USB that accommodates smartphones and other electronic devices and personal items. The steering wheel includes a five-way controller to navigate the cluster display, vol­ume control, cycle through favorites, voice recognition, phone hang-up and more.

The Cadillac ELR provides an engaging driving experience, supported by the EREV propulsion system. Its 295 lb.-ft. of torque is roughly 12 percent more than the 3.6L V-6 in the SRX. The ELR’s Sport driving mode also contributes to its responsive driving experience, automatically reconfiguring the accelerator pedal response to provide quicker torque application and more sensitive feedback to driver inputs through altered suspension and steering settings.


Sport mode is one of four driver-selectable for a variety of driving styles and conditions. The others are: Tour mode; Mountain mode; and Hold modeDriving confidence is further enhanced by advanced suspension and damping systems, including Continuous Damping Control. The ELR rolls on 20-inch wheels with specially engineered low-rolling-resistance tires designed to balance control and cornering capability with efficiency.


The ELR is capable of delivering a GM-estimated range of roughly 35 miles of pure electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. Charging the ELR’s battery can be done with a 120V electrical outlet or a dedicated 240V charging station. The ELR may be completely recharged in about 4.5 hours using a 240V charging station, depending on the outside temperature. Owners can manage and monitor the ELR online or with their smartphone and RemoteLink, a mobile app powered by OnStar. The ELR’s battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Cadillac ELR Battery Pack
Cadillac ELR Battery Pack

My test pre-volume production 2014 Cadillac ELR wore a Radiant Silver metallic exterior and featured a Jet Black interior with Carbon Fiber and polished wood trim accents. The base price was set at $75,000 while option packages and destination charges raised the final tally to $79,700.

SUMMARY: The 2014 Cadillac ELR is essentially Cadillac’s rendition of the Chevrolet Volt, but with more expressive and appealing styling, luxury appointments and enhanced power and performance. It is also more costly than the Volt, but it delivers more as well.

The ELR comes with a host of safety technology, features and equipment in an exceptionally attractive package. The ELR is a beautiful automobile regardless of its propulsion. The torque of it electric motors delivers quite a punch, either off the line or when already moving. The quality and comfort of the ride is firm, but totally acceptable and not at all harsh.

The handling feel from steering to braking is positive and sporty, and the Regen on Demand through the paddle shifters, effectively delivers the sensation of engine braking at one’s fingertips, with out the necessity of shifting gears, since there really aren’t traditionally definitive gears.

All in all, the 2014 Cadillac ELR delivers and ergonomically sound solution to electric propulsion, with a means to eliminate electric range anxiety In an ideal scenario, with a short commute, say in the 35-mile range, with the resource to recharge at each end, there would be no need to engage or rely on the gasoline engine. The ELR is decidedly expensive, even after potential rebates and tax credits, but it definitely delivers more elegance and style than the majority of its competitors.

The Cadillac ELR is manufactured at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, the world’s only automotive manufacturing facility that mass-produces extended-range electric vehicles for global markets in 21 countries. It is also home to Southeast Michigan’s largest photovoltaic solar array. The 264,000-square-foot feature generates up to 516 kilowatts of electricity – enough to charge 150 ELRs per day.

On The Fast Lane Car’s rating scale of:

• Buy It.

• Rent It

• Lease It.

• Forget It.

Buy It if you can afford it for a stylish extended range electric (hybrid) luxury vehicle.


Take a look at this fun and informative TFLcar mashup video review with the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Camry:


Base Price $75,000. Price as Tested: $79,700.


Base Price:                           $75,000.

Price as Tested:                   $79,700.


Engine Type and Size:       1.4-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder with continuously variable intake and

exhaust phaser and sequential multi-port fuel injection with electronic throttle control.

Two electric motors – / 117-135 kW max drive power; 55 kW generating power. 162 kW

total system power.


Horsepower (bhp):              84             @ 4,800               rpm (gas) / 181 hp electric.

Torque (ft./ lbs.):                 295

Lithium-ion rechargeable energy storage system with multiple linked modules in a 5.5-foot long. T-shaped, glass-filled polyester structural composite with  aluminum thermal radiation shield and steel tray.

Transmission:                    Planetary gear set.

Drive Train:                         Front mounted engine and motors / Front-wheel drive.

Suspension:                       Front – HiPer Strut with continuously variable real-time damping and driver-selectable

                                               modes, specially tuned coil springs with side load compensation, direct-acting hollow

stabilizer bar and hydraulic ride bushings.           

                                            Rear – Specially adapted compound crank with Watts link; double-walled, U-shaped profile

at the rear; specifically tuned coil springs, hydraulic bushings; shocks with continuously

variable real-time damping and driver-selectable modes.

Brakes:                            Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS; electro-hydraulic; fully regenerative to maximize

energy capture; and dynamic rear brake proportioning.

Tires:                                Bridgestone Potenza 245/40 R20 mounted on 7 slotted blade-spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase:                     106.1            inches

Length Overall:             186.0            inches

Width:                               72.7             inches

Height:                              55.9            inches

Curb Weight:                4,050            lbs.

Turning Circle:               38.4            ft.

Fuel Capacity:                   9.3            gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:  32 mpg combined / 82 MPGe (EV mode).

Drag Coefficient:             0.305

0 – 60 mph:                       7.8       seconds (EV mode) – 7.8 seconds Range Extending mode.


Review by Arv Voss, Auto Impressions