The 2014 ELR isn't the most expensive Cadillac--that's the Escalade SUV's job. But its pricetag of $75,999 before any federal or state tax credits and rebates has evoked some low whistles, for its $35,000 boost over the Chevy Volt and for its lack of a few luxury options, nixed due to weight and power-draw concerns. There's no sunroof, no head-up display at all, and with its few available options, the price soars to nearly $80,000.
Still, Cadillac says it's in the same arena as the Tesla Model S, BMW 6-Series, and Mercedes-Benz CLS for a reason--while adding that those tax incentives can drop the net price even lower, if you live in the right state.
For that price range, the ELR is trimmed out sumptuously in attractive leathers and suedes, all the usual power features, ten-speaker Bose audio, and safety features like forward-collision alerts and a lane-departure warning system that buzzes the seat cushion to cue you back in between the stripes.
The ELR has a TFT display instead of gauges, and those screens can be cleaned up of ancillary information nicely by toggling through the steering-wheel controls. It's a welcome step down the road of information de-cluttering.
Navigation is factored into CUE, the Cadillac User Experience, which also governs the car's audio, phone, climate, and efficiency-monitoring systems. Most can also be controlled or accessed via steering-wheel buttons or by voice command. As we've found in other Cadillacs, CUE looks fantastic, but gets tripped up not infrequently by its haptic inputs and by long strings of inputs. Wave a hand in front of the screen and the displays brings up favorites or access to other areas of control--and sometimes, it actuates those systems when you hadn't planned.
Navigation in particular is a repeated sore point: we've seen CUE drop its routing, losing its place on the map at critical junctions. We love its clean look and the way it dominates the cabin--but like almost every other infotainment system we've sampled in this mini-era of the past five years, CUE feels like it needs more processing power and a little more redundancy to make it wholly useful.