Published on February 15th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Cadillac ELR Review (Owner Review)

February 15th, 2014 by  

Cadillac ELR Winter Olympics Ad Is Sharp (VIDEO)

As you may have noticed, the forum is a gem for some really interesting and useful commentary, especially regarding the Chevy Volt (duh), Cadillac ELR, and Chevy Spark EV. Of course, being a very specialized forum, there’s a lot in there that isn’t useful to someone who doesn’t own a Volt, but skimming through it all is worth it (to me) in order to find all these interesting stories and reviews I’ve been finding there. No worries — I’ll just keep doing that for you. 😀 Below is an interesting early review of the Cadillac ELR from one of the first owners.

The post that one of the forum members actually put forth was: “So, Blastphemy (or any other owner), let’s cut right to the chase. What is it like to own an ELR?  At stoplights, do people stare? Do BMW owners steal furtive, envious glances at it? When you go the grocery store do people gather around and try to touch it? Does anybody even know what it is? Do people even notice it?  “

Blastphemy responded:

Let me tell you, it’s a very different experience from parking my Volt somewhere. When I’d park my Volt in a parking lot, on the street, in my driveway, etc. I’d occasionally have someone approach me and ask about it. (“Hey, is that an electric car? How does it work?”)

But when I park my ELR in my driveway, neighbors come over and ring my doorbell to ask about it; when I park on the street, there’s usually 2 or 3 people gathered around it when I come back from my errand; and when I park on a parking lot, it’s very difficult to leave since cars keep stopping behind me (while I’m trying to back out) to gaze at it. I’ve had more women come up to me in just this past week to ogle the car and start a conversation with me than ever spoke to me in four years of college! And my wife is standing right there laughing her ass off at all the cougars who don’t even notice her. I gotta see if my wife will let me park this baby at a strip club! lol!! 

As for driving, that’s also a very different experience from the Volt. I don’t even know why Cadillac bothered to include Sport mode since Touring feels every bit as responsive as the Volt’s Sport mode. I think Sport just tightens up the suspension and steering a bit, and perhaps adds a bit more zip to the accelerator pedal’s algorithm…but it’s a lot more subtle than in the Volt.

Everything from how refined the ELR’s deceleration is in ‘L’ to the quieter cabin to the improved sound system just makes every drive a pleasure. And when I transition to Extended Range mode, I usually don’t even notice unless I’m going up a steep hill or matching speed with other drivers on the highway (where the ‘speed limit’ is considered a lower limit out here in Los Angeles – far different from the rural areas in which I grew up where cops would ticket for 2mph over the limit).

The regen paddles are very useful, and when I took out my Volt yesterday for a quick errand I really missed them (already!). I do quibble with how the regen paddles are implemented, but I’ll get used to the deceleration curve eventually. The paddles really should have been made pressure sensitive, so pressing them hard would decelerate the car more aggressively while pressing gently would mimic driving in ‘L’ (or even less). With the current on/off programming, you have to keep pressing and letting go since they start off weak then get very strong, but there’s no middle ground. That pressing-releasing creates a throbbing deceleration instead of consistent, smooth slowing, which could easily cause car sickness in those who are susceptible to it.

I agree with reviewers who complain that the C.U.E. system needs some work (it can be very sluggish at times, and the steering wheel selector can’t be used to navigate items on the main nav screen); it’s annoying that the CTS, ATS, Volt, Spark, Equinox, etc. all come with Siri Eyes Free but the ELR doesn’t; and GM neglected to include a copy of the C.U.E. Infotainment manual with the car; but those problems do not overshadow my enjoyment of the car.

As for distance, I’m getting about the same as I did in my 2012 Volt, about 33-39 miles per charge; but I’m using 12.0 – 12.3 kWh of the battery to do it.

Quote Originally Posted by rickkop View Post
When I see an ELR, I think, there goes a guy with more money than brains.

Hey!  I resemble that remark! lol.

I felt that way too, rickkop, until I drove the ELR for a week. You have no idea how much better this car is than the Volt. At the price I leased it, the ELR is definitely worth it. It’s a shame Cadillac didn’t leave out some superfluous things to get the price down so more people would buy it, but then I couldn’t tell you what those superfluous things are (except, perhaps, the motorized cup holder cover).

I probably should have waited six months or so before grabbing the ELR, but…well, I couldn’t!

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • SnowyOwl999

    Not so sure I’d really enjoy all the attention. Got it when I owned a dark blue 2004 Corvette. Yeah, I can live with it.

  • Shawn Hyman

    Joe, I am not a mouthpiece for GM Marketing. I am an ELR, Volt, and Rav4 EV owner. I can tell you that Blastphemy’s observations are accurate. Our only differences are range. My Volt gets 50, and my Elr is eeking out 46 miles on the battery. I have no hills around where I live. A very well written and accurate observation from an owner. It’s funny to me that the only guys who hate this car are the ones that have never driven it.

    • Dan

      ok so I have a Volt and have driven the ELR. I came away realizing that their toughest customers are going to be the Volt owners because the drive train will be nothing new to them. Sure there is incremental refinement in the ride, soundproofing, features etc. But worth two volts and a trip to the Bahamas…no way. So myself, along with a majority of the journalist who have reviewed (driven) the car can personally validate the views of the guys who have not driven it. I don’t hate the car but in fact love it. I also love the phrase a fool and his money are easily parted…….this is my personal opinion and I don’t aim to speak for anyone else

      • SnowyOwl999

        Maybe you just don’t have enuf money ?

    • SnowyOwl999

      Blastphemy certainly seems to have a LOT of time on his hands to find every little “problem” and document it to death! I will appreciate it if I end up buying one of these. Taking one overnight to check it out. Really don’t care about the lack of power. When I was younger, Yeah, I had to have horses. Been driving my wife’s 2002 PT Cruiser a lot and noticed the 0-60 times for ELR are exact same as the cruiser! I think that explains a lot of the slow sales of the ELR. But you know in today’s traffic that’s plenty!

  • Brandon

    My Smart ED has had regen paddles before this thing. Car is alright, nothing special. Tesla over it easily…. Tesla over any car. And that quote is absolutely perfect. “When I see an ELR, I think, there goes a guy with more money than brains.”

  • Gary Phillips

    I saw this car when I took my Volt for an oil change and it’s quite a looker. Now if you will excuse me I am going to beg for a raise.

    • haha. it is certainly sharp. was interesting to see how much more comfortable & smooth it is from the inside, after this guy’s short time owning it.

      my initial take was, “why would anyone buy this when they can get a Model S?” but i think it is simply another, very different high-end plug-in option that could be a better fit for some people than the Model S.

      (of course, i’d still go with the Model S.)

  • joe

    this response to the criticism sounds like the mouthpiece of gm marketing, not a regular owner.

    • if you go through his history of commentary, think he comes across as a genuine customer.

  • wattleberry

    The braking suggestions are surely the way forward; so intuitive. It’s one of those challenges that, when sorted, will become so routine that everybody will forget there was one.

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