Cadillac Lyriq first drive: A year early and dollar long at $60K

Cadillac Lyriq first drive: A year early and dollar long at $60K

GM flew us out to beautiful Park City Utah to take a look at the Cadillac Lyric EV last week. It was our first hands-on drive of GM’s first mass-market Ultium drivetrain (with apologies to the 9,000 lb. gorilla in the room, niche HummerEV) vehicle. With Cadillac no longer releasing ICE vehicles and going full EV in just eight short years, it isn’t a stretch to say that the brand is betting the company on the success of its first EV. So, how’d it do?

First of all, the Lyriq is a stunner in terms of outward appearance. It is a Cadillac first and foremost, for better or worse (mostly better). That means the distinctive grill, but with a lighted EV twist in what we imagine will be the theme of Cadillacs to come. There’s also lots of angles and other Cadillac trademark lines on the outside.

Inside it is distinctive luxury top to bottom with premium materials, with lots of buttons and knobs everywhere. But in a perhaps sarcastic nod to Tesla, opening the glove box is a superfluous menu item on the screen. The screen stack is Google for Autos-based, and it is the most refined version we’ve seen, skinned to match the Cadillac theme. Google maps is integrated nicely and will likely be the preferred method of navigation. There’s also CarPlay and Android Auto, which will project your phone screen, but since this was a prototype OS two revisions back from the launch version, it was slightly buggy. We’re told there are improvements coming and OTAs galore.

Above, it is a huge glass roof with sliding shade that makes the already spacious room feel even bigger.

Cadillac has said publicly that it is done releasing internal combustion engine vehicles, and it plans to have converted its whole lineup to electric by 2030. With that proclamation, it lost a significant percentage of its dealerships that weren’t necessarily on board with the rapid (for a legacy automaker) switch to electric.

We’re told the 80% of remaining dealers are “all in” on electrification and will be ready, EV chargers in hand, for Cadillac EVs. That said, GM says it hopes that all updates will come via software over the air (OTA).

After former US President Donald Trump got defeated in 2020, GM’s leadership swung its EV ambitions into overdrive. Part of that was moving the Lyriq up a whole year in development. The team delivered an amazing car, but there are some big things they had to pull (or if you read between the lines, wait on for a future release). In no particular order:

  • SuperCruise doesn’t yet work and will be delivered via software update in the months ahead. We’ve of course used SuperCruise in other vehicles like the CT-6 and Bolt EUV, and it is a treat to use, and there’s nothing to indicate that it won’t work just as well on the Lyriq… but when?
  • The heads-up display is just a warning indicator in the 2023 model year Lyriq. I expect the ones delivered next year will have a full heads-up display option.
  • The door handles are… lacking. In the current form, you must push the door actuator, which is really just a button, and then grab either the side of the door or the handle in a two-step process. In next year’s version, I think the doors will present themselves when opened automatically. Imagine the Mustang Mach-e’s already controversial doors if the button and the handle were moved a foot apart.
  • We were driving the RWD version of the car that wasn’t exactly a screamer with its just under six-second 0-60 time. The AWD version, which chops a second off that with its 150 more horses at only a $2,000 premium, will be the one to get for more spirited driving. The 300hp rear motor was pulled from the HummerEV, so development time was cut (if you ask me throw another one of those bad boys in the front motor for a 600hp vehicle!).

All of that said, this car was still super impressive. It was the quietest car I can remember driving ever. That includes the quietest of Lexuses and maybe even quieter than the Mercedes EQS. The noise- cancelling speakers added, or should I say subtracted, almost all the normal noise you’d hear while driving. If I wasn’t with our video producer Mikey, the lack of sound would have been downright eerie. The speakers, which include those head two in the headrests, are great for music. The noise cancelling didn’t drown out important noise like other cars and honking horns so this is still safe from an auditory standpoint.

Add to that the smooth Cadillac ride and the Lyriq is going to really impress those on long journeys. This fluffy ride is what Cadillac is all about. The back seat is even smoother with a huge space that adults will be super comfortable in. Cadillac told us they really made the back seats the place to be in a nod to the Chinese market where many of the Cadillac customers have drivers. Unfortunately, that pushback of the seat means no third-row seating for those looking to carry a bunch of kids. Still, the back cargo area is plentiful and plenty roomy for the crossover segment. I wouldn’t be surprised if a future model had a third-row option, but no one even hinted that was a consideration.

At over 100kWh of battery and over 300 miles of real range and 190kW charging, this is going to hit all of the right spots in the market.

Cadillac Lyriq wrap-up:

At just over $60,000, this is a phenomenal car. GM/Cadillac did have to cut some corners to get one to us this year, but the final product is still one of the most luxurious EVs on the market. Plus all of the 2023s are already sold and I have a feeling the 2024s reservations are going to go quick as well.

I can’t wait to try the AWD version with Super Cruise for a longer drive. Cadillac when!?!?

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