Consumer Reports Says 2015 ELR Induces ‘Sticker Shock’

Readers here have commented that Cadillac’s Volt-based 2015 ELR looks good, but costs too much, and so perhaps you’ll feel validated that Consumer Reports agrees with you.

Without mincing words, after its first 10 days driving the $76,000 Caddy due for production this month and first deliveries in January, CR says it’s “priced out of its league” and gives its editors “sticker shock.”

And, says CR, it’s hard to categorize the Volt-based car which features some notable improvements but ultimately is not different enough from the $35,000 compact car upon which it is based.

“That’s $40,000 more than a Volt! And for that kind of scratch, you could buy a car in a whole different league,” opines CR, “like an Audi A7 TDI or Tesla Model S. That leaves us wondering, who will buy this car?”

The ELR shares the Volt’s 16.5-kwh battery, will go 35 miles on e-power alone, and is a coupe rather than a four-door.

“But, ultimately, driving the ELR feels rather ordinary,” says CR, “It lacks the zip one might expect from a high-priced coupe. Being a rolling sculpture, visibility is very limited.”

To its credit, the ELR seems to make more sense as a coupe, however, says CR. It makes no pretense toward ultimate practicality like the Volt does.

Its rear seats, while benefitting from fine materials and careful craftmanship, are better suited for small people, especially children, says CR’s editors.

“They are a lot tighter than the rear accommodations in the Volt,” says CR, “already not suitable for adults.”

Also sort of going for the ELR is it is “a lot nicer than the Volt” The ELR benefits from the latest acoustic research to hide the fact that it has a gas engine, not to mention it’s a nicely appointed ride.

“You can barely hear the gas engine when it comes on,” says CR. “The steering is tight and responsive, although saying it’s as agile as the new CTS would be wrong. The interior is beautifully finished and sumptuous. Even Cadillac’s dreaded CUE infotainment system is less frustrating and more predictable than the sea of jumbled flat-surface touch buttons in the Volt, and the graphics are slick.”

Consumer Reports’ first drive review is not a full-on road test, but we can already predict how the ELR will fare given one CR tester said the ELR “is a $75,000 version of the Chevrolet Cruze (on which the Volt and the ELR are, indeed, based). Ouch!”

More benignly, CR says driving the ELR merely makes its editors miss the Tesla Model S “which is a lot quicker, sportier, and roomier, and gives you a whole lot more electric range.”

General Motors itself has said it does not expect to sell these cars in bunches like bananas so we shall see.

The car is an attractive drive in the eyes of most, if not all beholders. It does have all the advantages of the Volt’s powertrain. Its owners will benefit from white glove customer service too, so we shall see.

GM has said the car is positioned as a tech halo to adorn its corporate image.

Unsaid is whether GM will develop more down-market derivatives of the Voltec technology. If this is the crown jewel, are there smaller diamonds in the works that reviewers will not scoff at and people who don’t have money to burn would like to buy?

Consumer Reports