The popularity of plug-in electric vehicles has been increasing for the past decade, and as it does more manufacturers have begun to try and throw their own versions into the ring. Companies like BMW and Audi have successfully introduced hybrids into their line-ups, while some companies like Tesla offer only hybrid or fully-electric options altogether. Cadillac joined the ranks with an attempt at a hybrid vehicle and introduced the ELR, which was so bad even Cadillac enthusiasts decided to steer clear.
Introducing the ELR
Cadillac designed the ELR to compete with the Chevrolet Volt, which didn’t really make a lot of sense. The Chevy Volt had a price that was half of the $76,000 that Cadillac attempted to sell the ELR for. The ELR was not only significantly more expensive but it also offered almost no improvements in luxury or performance. The plug-in hybrid ELR, introduced in 2014, could have taken cues from the power and technological advancements of many other hybrids designed at the time, but Cadillac decided to do their own thing – and it wasn’t good.
The ELR had a collective 233hp between the electric motor and the gasoline engine. That might be enough to feel fast in a smaller, lighter car, but the ELR was just as bulky and heavy as any other Cadillac. It was slow and boring to drive, and only had an electric motor range of 39 miles before the car would kick on to the full-gasoline powered engine that offered at disappointed 83hp.
From Bad to Worse
The sorry performance wasn’t the only downfall of the ELR. Originally designed to be the luxury-forward competitor to the Chevy Volt, the ELR actually lacked a lot of the features most people would expect from a Cadillac in 2014.
The ELR also had no sunroof in any version, which was a small part of the dark and dreary interior. The overwhelmingly large windshield did nothing to overcome the drastic blind-spots at every corner of the car. Thick, oversized A-pillars blocked a good portion of the forward view and the rear blind-spots were worse than a convertible Ford Mustang. Cadillac at least had the common sense to put in blind-spot monitoring, but that doesn’t seem to make up for the overall lack of visibility.
The ELR didn’t even compare well to other Cadillacs made in the same model years. There were no automatic wipers, and it lacked the heads-up display owners had come to expect from Cadillac. The abysmal trunk space was made worse by the awkward folding of the back seats, which, although had a 40-20-40 split, could only fold down part of the way and left a large center console standing in the way of just about anything you could want to squeeze into your limited cargo space.
Speaking of back seats, the rear passengers should be no larger than a child, as any teenager or adult would simply not fit. The swooping lines of the car squish the head-room of the backseat if your passengers were even patient enough to squeeze their way back there.
The Cadillac ELR might not have been such a flop if it weren’t for such a high price. If you don’t mind low visibility, lacking features and having almost no space, and don’t mind driving a slow, underperforming plug-in hybrid, the ELR might be the car of your dreams. But chances are for $76,000 you would probably buy just about anything else.