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John Diether
Automotive Editor - July 31, 2015

2016 Cadillac ELR OVERVIEW

After sitting out the 2015 model year entirely, Cadillac's resident EV bounces back with performance and technology upgrades as well as a lower price. The changes are designed to position the ELR as mainstream luxury-sport coupe that doesn't need to rely solely on its electric power to woo buyers.

What's New for 2016

The ELR receives a significant boost in power, along with upgraded suspension and braking systems. Standard equipment now includes wireless charging capability and a suite of driver assistance technology. Despite all these improvements, the MSRP has dropped by $10,000 to $65,995.

Choosing Your Cadillac ELR

The ELR is primarily powered by a 157-horsepower electric motor that gets its juice from a lithium-ion battery pack. After about 39 miles of driving, a gas-powered generator kicks in to keep the motor humming (and mildly assist with propulsion at times). With the generator in use, expect around 33 mpg in combined driving.

With a fully charged battery and full tank of gas, you're good to go for 330 miles. Bringing a fully depleted battery back to life takes about four hours on a 240-volt outlet. The ERL is now compatible with the wireless home charging system offered by Plugless Power ($1,940).

The front-drive ELR comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and selectable driving modes to help you get the right mix of power and efficiency in different conditions. The Sport mode has been recalibrated this year to draw 233 horsepower from the motor, enough to reduce the sprint from to 0 to 60 mph to a healthy 6.4 seconds. An adaptive suspension system and 20-inch wheels complete the mechanical setup.

The ELR comes in a single trim level with all the expected Cadillac features such as leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power adjustable steering wheel, keyless access and ignition, and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with Bluetooth and satellite radio. Standard technology includes navigation, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and LED headlamps with automatic high-beam control. Upgraded leather seats (Kona Brown only) with additional adjustments are available for $2,450.

The newly available Performance package ($1,295) provides a sportier suspension setup, summer performance tires, Brembo brakes, and a sport steering wheel. With so much equipment now standard, individual options are limited to adaptive cruise control with automatic braking ($1,995) and a sueded microfiber steering wheel ($395).

CarsDirect Tip

The ELR is obviously a better buy than ever before, and easier to configure, too. The new Performance package is a tempting bargain, but its grippier tires reduce the electric range by four miles, which makes it a nonstarter for many EV buyers.

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