No One Hit Wonder For Cadillac
Well, hello and welcome to the start of the 42nd season of MotorWeek. We’re glad to have you with us.
Our timing finds us on the brink of Cadillac’s total transition to being a fully electric brand. But in order for that to happen, there has to be a first, and it’s the Cadillac LYRIQ EV SUV. So, is this the start of something truly special or just the same Cadillac tune updated for a modern audience?
Well to us, the 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ is indeed the start of a whole new Cadillac. It’s official: no more new vehicles with internal combustion engines will be coming from the brand. It’s all EV from here!
Cadillac has clearly embraced the gravity of the situation, building one of the best-looking Cadillac’s we’ve seen in a long time. GM’s Ultium platform, which we first sampled under GMC’s Hummer EV Pickup, allows for a super long, low, and classy form. Fronting that is an illuminated grille and LEDs that put on a choreographed light show unlike anything else on the road. Obviously, a lot of attention was placed on aero; but it was done in a beautiful way that doesn’t make it look like a priority. For the initial run of 2023s, your only choices to make are if you want 20 or 22-inch wheels, and which exterior and interior colors you want.
The, for now, rear-wheel drive only LYRIQ’s 102-kWh battery pack claims a good range of 312-miles. The single rear motor rates 340-horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque. A dual-motor all-wheel drive LYRIQ with 500-horsepower arrives early next year. As for keeping it on the road, Cadillac offers a 19.2-kW at home charger which feeds an impressive 52-miles an hour into the battery, and they’ll even give you a $1,500 credit towards installation; DC fast charging can deliver up to 76-miles in 10-minutes.
If you remember the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid, one if its unique features was a regen-on-demand brake paddle behind the steering wheel. Well, the LYRIQ has that, too, only it’s been upgraded to provide a more progressive feel. And rather than rely on suppliers for the braking system, Cadillac brought it all in house to ensure the blending of friction and multiple regen brake settings deliver as natural a feel as possible.
Everything inside the LYRIQ’s cabin is new, unique and, yes, special. Nothing is shared with other GM models. The attention to detail is quite noticeable, as is the giant 33-inch curved LED display. And unlike other mega digital dashes, it is indeed all one configurable screen, not separate individual screens behind one piece of glass. Material quality is exceptional, as is the 19-speaker AKG sound system. There’s real wood but just simulated leather for the time being. But, they’re not going all vegan, as leather will eventually be available. Ambient lighting is well integrated into everything, not just added to it.
But, this is not just some luxurious techno showpiece, it is a utility vehicle designed to get people through their daily tasks. So, it’s very roomy feeling in all 5 seating positions, with lots of storage space around the cabin. A great 28.0 cubic-ft. in back, too, plus underfloor space, and seats that fold with just a push of a button to expand to 60.8 cubic-ft.
EVs are amazingly quiet as they are, yet Cadillac felt a need to take an extra step. LYRIQ has a new generation Active Noise Cancelling system. It further hushes road noises that are usually disguised by engine and exhaust sounds.
Ride quality is supremely smooth. It seems to glide down the road like Cadillacs of old. Yet with a 0-60 time of about 6 seconds, it’s eager to get through corners. A long wheelbase provides lots of stability, and drive modes effectively tailor the experience. The latest Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system will also eventually be available.
Of course, all of this tech and luxury won’t do much for Cadillac if it’s not attainable, and amazingly, Cadillac has priced all rear-drive 2023 LYRIQs at just $62,990. You can spend twice that that on an Escalade or Tesla Model X. When all-wheel drive arrives, it will add just $2,000. For ’24, a base model also arrives, dropping the entry-point to just $60,000. And, all will be assembled in GM’s old Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
So, LYRIQ is clearly more than just a new arrangement of the same old tune. It is a whole new Cadillac with luxury and tech far above anything else in their current lineup. Yet, at the same time, more obtainable than many of those same vehicles. Well, at least as far as pricing is concerned, because if you are interested in obtaining one; know that all 2023s have already been sold, with Cadillac now taking orders for 2024s. And with more fantastic-looking EVs on the way very soon, we’re pretty sure the 2023 LYRIQ will not be a one hit wonder for Cadillac.
Battery Pack: 102 kWh
Motor Setup: Single Rear Motor
Torque: 325 lb-ft
EPA: 312 miles