Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cadillac ELR is shining jewel in car world

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

This review originally appeared in the August 2014 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California There are some cars that I call jewels, and for me, that’s a vehicle cruising at such a high level of quality, performance and engineering that everything else on the road shapes up a merely normal.

Or in simpler terms: a car so excellent that I’m wondering why anyone would trust me with it.

I’ve tested some AMG-tuned Mercedes-Benz vehicles that were jewel-quality. A Bentley Continental GT?  Ditto.

And most recently, a new-for-2014 Cadillac ELR.  Sticker price: $81,135.  And worth every penny of that, I tell you.

OK, this is the Caddy with the Chevrolet Volt-sytle plug-in electric, combined with a range-extending, gas-fueled engine seamlessly taking over when the electric juice runs out.  But this ELR is no Volt, like a Space Shuttle is not a VW Bug.

Wearing gleaming “Crystal Red” exterior paint, the ELR delivered to me resembled a purpose-built racing prototype set to qualify for the 24 Hours of LeMans.  Killer Cadillac grille on the front and then rounding out in perfect aerodynamic arc clear to the back end of the vehicle.  It looked fast just sitting there.

The gleaming, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels are spectacular.

Get inside and the audio system projects a heart-stimulating symphonic sound you’d expected to hear in a top-tier military-style video game.  The car all but screams: Are you ready to rock?  Pressing the start button brings silence, but the dash lights let you know the ELR is ready to roll.

If you juiced up the car via a standard electrical outlet, you already have some 24 miles to work with before the gas-fueled engine takes over the power-feeding duties within the complex battery system.  Fully charged and gassed, the ELR has a range of about 340 miles.   Your energy usage is constantly fed to you on the dash.

And wow, does it scoot for a front-driver with a four-cylinder standard power plant.  Yes, there are systems under the hood that I don’t have a prayer of ever understanding, but I happily blasted along in my ignorance and enjoyed the ride.

It steered with magnificent ease.  The interior was quiet as a private reading room in an old-school library.

My ELR was loaded up with a ton of techno goodies, including intelligent headlamps, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-side alert, lane-departure warning system (again, a little touchy for my taste, but it can be turned off), rain-sensing windshield wipers, remote vehicle start and on and on and on.  The owner’s manual is really not enough.  I’d recommend taking a couple of nighttime classes to learn everything the car can do.

Happily, given all that goes with the ELR package, Cadillac loads it up with more than a half dozen warranties covering various components and systems.  Good call, there.

Personally, I had nothing to complain about in my week with the car, just like I’d have nothing to complain about if someone gave me carte blanche to privately play all the Pebble Beach golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula for a week.

You don’t complain when someone hands you a jewel.  And yeah, this ELR is all of that.


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