2015 Cadillac ELR Review


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2015 Cadillac ELR Overview

For those environmentally conscious commuters who want some posh in their green-leaning ride, Cadillac’s 2015 ELR might be just the thing. Introduced for the 2014 model year, this 4-passenger compact coupe, mechanically similar to Chevy’s ground-breaking Volt, offers plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency backed by the plush factor consistent with a Cadillac. Suave, sophisticated looks and traditional Caddy ride comfort come standard with this state-of-the-art country cruiser. But bring plenty of cash to the showroom, as this handsome high-end extended-range hybrid doesn’t come cheap.

For 2015, few changes are slated for the ELR, although a larger and more powerful gas/electric drivetrain is expected to grace both the ELR and its Volt cousin for the 2016 model year. Fans of both the Volt and the ELR can expect the present 16.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack to be boosted up to 17.1kWh, adding a few more ponies to the combination of an inline 4-cylinder (I4) gasoline engine and the electric generator. Those up-powered versions of both could be available as early as mid-2015. Stay tuned.

In any case, for the upcoming model year, Caddy's ELR coupe, available in a single Base trim and only with front-wheel drive (FWD), boasts a 157-hp electric motor complemented by the already mentioned 84-hp 1.4-liter gas-powered 4-banger. A single-speed direct-drive transmission manages this power, which comes mainly from the electric generator, thus placing the I4 in the subordinate role of feeding juice to the battery pack.

Look for a total of 241 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from this confluence of gas and electric go-power, resulting in surprisingly potent acceleration from a stop, as well as some 37 miles of range using electric power alone. Regenerative braking along with judicious use of the I4 keep the electric generator purring. When the trip is done, simply plug in the ELR to either the standard 120-volt receptacle for a fully recharged battery in about 12.5-18 hours, or install the available 240-volt charging system for a completely recharged battery in about 5 hours.

The folks at Cadillac, simplifying the ordinarily convoluted math inherent in converting gas-electric power to traditional fuel-efficiency figures, tout the 2015 ELR as capable of 31 mpg city/35 highway, which isn’t exactly revolutionary. However, 4 selectable driving modes—Tour, Hold, Sport and Mountain—allow drivers to configure power and gas usage to the mood and maneuver of the moment. Conservative driving habits, finally, can result in a total range of approximately 340 miles.

Posh, however, is what this plug-in Caddy offers over its more pedestrian Volt compatriot, starting with its standard 20-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler and heated power-adjustable mirrors.

Inside, look for leather upholstery; leather, alloy and wood cabin accents; heated power-adjustable front seats and split-folding rear seatbacks, with the latter complementing the rather stingy trunk space (10.5 cubic feet) that remains endemic to battery-toting hybrid vehicles. Of course, full power accessories return for 2015, as do cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a remote garage door opener, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. Additionally, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and dual-zone auto climate control remain standard, along with memory for driver's settings.

Standard techno-goodies, meantime, include hard-drive-based navigation, Bluetooth-interfaced OnStar Directions and Connections services and a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a memory-card slot and USB ports. All of this, by the way, remains once again under the direction of the standard CUE (Cadillac User Experience) 10-inch touchscreen infotainment display.

Notable options include the Luxury Package, sporting upgraded 20-inch wheels, IntelliBeam headlights, blind-spot alerts and rear cross-traffic warnings. Further available equipment includes adaptive cruise control and upgraded leather upholstery, while an optional CD player can be located in the glove box.

Standard safety equipment aboard the 2015 ELR includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights and turn-signal-integrated mirrors. Additional standard safety stuff includes adaptive LED headlights, OnStar emergency communications and alerts, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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