A hybrid coupe with a high charge
With solid engineering behind its electric drivetrain and Cadillac’s cutting-edge Art and Science design, the ELR holds promise. But it was relegated to a very distant last-place finish at the Car of the Year contest. A handful of judges enjoyed driving the plug-in hybrid coupe; the rest found fault with it. Many were vicious in their criticism, excoriating the car for a rough and sluggish performance, uninspired interior, or lackluster fit and finish. Many compared it unfavorably to another GM electric car, the Chevrolet Volt (which finished last in the 2012 Car of the Year competition). They cited similarities to the Volt’s platform and performance and questioned why, at $75,000, the ELR costs roughly $40,000 more than the base price of the quotidian Chevy. Comparisons with the prices of the Kia K900, the standard version of the Maserati Ghibli, and other European offerings also did the ELR no favors.
Our judges may have responded more positively to the ELR if Cadillac offered it for less money—or offered more car for the same price. Either way, such negative reactions from such seasoned luxury-car buyers suggest that Cadillac should do more than just move its marketing mavens from Detroit to Manhattan to better connect with the customers they need to impress.
CONFIGURATION: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive extended-range electric coupe
ENGINE: Electric drive unit and a 1.4-liter gas-powered electric generator
TRANSMISSION: Multi-mode electric transaxle
POWER: 207 hp at 4,800 rpm
TORQUE: 295 ft lbs instantly
CURB WEIGHT: 4,070 lbs
ZERO-TO-60 MPH: 7.8 seconds
TOP SPEED: 106 mph
BASE PRICE: $75,000