"The Cadillac design team has done a masterful job of translating the Converj showcar into a production reality. And you would never suspect a Volt connection because, visually, there isn't one. Zero panels are shared, so this is far more than just a Cimarron-like badge job... it has a knockout interior."
"...the dictates of Converj showcar styling produces rear three-quarter visibility that borders on dreadful, and the trunk opening doesn't have much of a horizontal dimension. Loading luggage is much like stuffing videotapes into a VCR."
"...the backseat has become largely ceremonial. The rear cabin is 4 inches narrower at the shoulders, 2.6 inches tighter at the hips and there's 1.3 inches less rear headroom compared to the less-than-spacious Volt."
"The spell is broken at mile 38 when the gasoline engine comes to life. We were never fans of the 1.4-liter, iron-block, premium-swilling, 84-hp gasoline engine in our own 2011 Chevrolet Volt test car, and it seems even less tolerable in this pricey machine. Not that Cadillac NVH engineers haven't tried to mask it. Sound-absorbing materials abound, and the powertrain sits in hydraulic mounts. The standard 10-speaker Bose stereo employs active noise-cancelling that emits an auditory antidote through the speakers. This all works reasonably well on flat ground, where demand is low. But the raucous nature of this aging power plant truly comes to the fore when accelerating briskly or climbing..."
"The ELR's hindquarters soldier on with the Volt's simplistic semi-independent torsion beam axle, but a Watts link from the Chevy Cruze has been added to improve lateral stiffness and toe control. We always wondered why our Volt lacked this feature, frankly, but at the ELR's rarefied price point this setup comes across as unsophisticated."
"A trip through the Malibu mountains shows the steering to have appropriate heft and reasonable response, but something is missing. We never feel the urge to push harder, squeal the tires a bit or court the ire of local law enforcement. Similarly, the ride is serene when the road is smooth, and there's precious little bob and weave, but tiny ripples and nearly unseen imperfections make their way through unfettered. This does not feel like $75,000 worth of ride and handling."
"And at the end of the day it's not that quick, not that engaging to drive. Cadillac would like us to think of the ELR as a 6 Series or Tesla Model S competitor instead of a hyper-expensive Volt, but that's how it drives, for the most part. The 2014 Cadillac ELR is stunningly beautiful from most angles. Photos truly do not do it justice. In the end, though, the 2014 Cadillac ELR displays far more show than go. At this price stratum we expect both."
"Cadillac's CUE infotainment system with navigation is standard. The capacitive touch and haptic feedback flat-panel display occupies all of the vertical real estate in the center stack. I have experienced CUE in the ATS, CTS and XTS - the identical system in the ELR is equally as frustrating to use as the buttons are difficult to actuate and slow to respond, while the gloss black surface quickly becomes covered in fingerprints."
"Face-to-face with Cadillac's newest, it is hard to not be impressed with its appearance. The coupe has a wonderful stance, excellent proportions and the full LED exterior illumination looks spectacular. Even the mirrors, which are the most obvious change from the concept, seemed perfectly sculpted and the design team has artfully integrated the turn signals into their housings (the same LED strips illuminate as charge indicators when the vehicle is plugged-in)."
"While Cadillac has thoughtfully put four seats inside the ELR, only the front are fit to be occupied by an adult (the automaker acknowledges its 2+2 configuration). I found both the driver and front passenger seating position exceptionally comfortable, with plenty of leg, shoulder and head room for my six-foot two-inch frame. I climbed into the rear seats, which are comfortable buckets for the lower half of the torso, but I was unable to sit upright without my head pressing awkwardly, and uncomfortably, against the roof. Overall, the choice of materials, fit and finish seemed very good - 'world class' is a well-deserved and appropriate description."
"Unfortunately, after 28 miles had passed beneath the ELR's nearly flush belly pan, the lithium-ion battery pack was exhausted and the combustion engine fired up. The ensuing racket shattered the silence. The soundtrack from the gasoline-fed four was hurried, anxious and unrefined... The engine droned annoyingly for the next hour as I played on the famed Mulholland Highway, going up and down the windy canyons like a slot car."
"Even though we had started on a good note, in the end, the Cadillac ELR left me frustrated and disheartened. While its sleek sheetmetal and luxurious appointments had my heart racing, its lack of innovation where eyes don't peer is inexcusable in the premium segment. There are many impressive pure electric and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles on the market today (the Tesla Model S and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, for instance), and just around the corner (the Audi A3 e-tron comes immediately to mind), but the ELR isn't one of them. GM's misstep is that the company is peddling the Chevrolet Volt's five-year-old E-REV technology in its brand-new 2014 Cadillac ELR, and then asking $75,995 for the privilege. The company is clearly hoping the coupe's exquisite styling will overshadow its uninspired powertrain, but in this case, its beauty is only skin deep."
"But while alternative energy car fans are ripping it apart for being slow and priced like a Tesla Model S at $75,995, GM probably is not sweating it and says it intends to sell perhaps 3,000 units in North America per annum."
"And, according to Automotive News, the car does offer value and 'puts to rest the notion that the coupe is a tarted up Volt' with superb luxury and a better driving experience."
"When we had the Karma for a week, it was not quite like the paparazzi were after us, but it was like living in a rarified air in a world where people do judge things (and people) by their looks.... whether the ELR can muster as much cachet does remain to be seen, given the Karma was not quite like anything else. The Karma was flawed but its design was an undiluted expression from one who'd penned two James Bond cars. Many agree the Caddy is pretty, but it shares family elements and eventually the wow-factor wears off even the most chic designs."
"If you pass on the ELR, you wonít be the only one. For folks looking for a neat looking electric car that is not all show and no go, there is the Tesla Model S."
"Tesla is in business to make its car the first of a new line of performance sedans and it does want to sell as many as it can build. It's been selling as many units as the Volt month after month though it costs twice as much, but donít make the mistake of thinking GM is fretting overly much."
"In fact, the ELR turns out to be a plug-in hybrid. It's the Chevy Volt in a fancy suit."
"The general consensus is that the ELR is a nice car, worthy of the Cadillac name. But so is the similarly sized Cadillac ATS sedan, which is roughly half the price of the ELR... stepping up from an ATS to an ELR really isn't going to feel that different."
"...the ELR comes with something that the ATS can't match, and that's green-car cachet. GM seems to be betting that some of the folks who are willing to pay up to $100,000 for a Tesla Model S might be intrigued by a sharply styled Cadillac that is also a plug-in hybrid. But here's the thing: The Tesla is a landmark car, a hot American-made luxury sports sedan that is also the best-yet battery-electric car. It's stylish and fast and fun and super high-tech and as green as cars get. Isn't it fair to argue that if Cadillac wants a piece of that action -- especially at a Tesla price -- they're going to have to come up with a car that's as impressive as the Tesla?"
Car and Driver
"But once the charge in the batteries has been consumed, that 1.4-liter lump kicks in and, droning away, heads for its torque peak. Such a drone may be tolerable in a Volt, but this is an $80,000 luxury coupe; it should feel slicker, less harried, and more sophisticated."
"As a plug-in hybrid luxury coupe, the ELR is something unique in the market. And as pure automotive sculpture, itís utterly gorgeous. But it doesnít push the technological frontier forward or deliver the sheer driving joy that has made new Cadillacs such as the ATS and CTS so compelling. And thatís frustrating."