Cadillac's first pure battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) is the Lyriq. Introduced for limited production in 2023, the midsize crossover is back with an expanded model lineup and availability for '24. Seating 5 passengers and available with rear- or all-wheel drive, Lyriq competes with vehicles like the BMW iX, Genesis GV60, Lexus RZ, Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, Tesla Model Y and Volvo XC40.
Trim levels include Tech, Luxury and Sport. All models get a 102-kWh battery. Rear-drive models have an EPA-estimated range of 314 miles and get a single motor on the rear axle that makes 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive models have an EPA range of 307 miles and get a second motor on the front axle that raises total output to 500 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. All models boast 11.5-kW onboard charging and are capable of DC fast charging at a rate of 190 kW. Optional is a 19.2 kW onboard charger that allows for Level 2+ charging.
Prices start at $58,590 and climb to $71,090 on the Sport. Standard safety features include forward-collision warning with automatic braking, blind-spot warning and intervention, lane-departure warning and mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking and parking sensors. Other standard features include a 33-inch digital display for gauges and infotainment, wireless charging pad, dual-zone automatic climate control and keyless entry and push-button starting. Optional is General Motor's hands-free highway self-driving system called Super Cruise.
Most buyers will be more than impressed with the rear-drive's 340 horsepower motor. Like all EVs, it provides instant throttle response at all speeds, jumps off the line and solid passing punch. It's capable of pushing the heavy Lyriq from 0 to 60 MPH in about 5.8 seconds. Though it trails some EV competitors, in real-world driving, the powertrain proves more than capable. Those needing a bit more oomph will be pleased with the AWD's 4.6 second 0 to 60 MPH time.
In a case of what's old is new again, most EVs offer rear-wheel drive in base trim and the Lyriq is no different. Though snowbirds might fret, remember EVs are heavy and there's a lot of weight at the rear axle, so traction is less of a front-drive/rear-drive problem and more of a tire problem. Thankfully, Lyriq comes with all-season tires that should provide reasonable traction in the snow. Those wanting a bit more security can opt for all-wheel drive. But remember, the tires are the most important factor when it comes to slippery road traction.
Like many EVs, Cadillac's Lyriq has several driving modes. In addition to sport and economy, you can also select one-pedal driving. This all but eliminates the need for the brake pedal and uses the vehicles electric motors to slow the vehicle, which results in maximum battery charging when slowing and stopping.
In terms of range, the rear-drive models get an EPA estimated range of 314 miles and the all-wheel drive version 307 miles. As with gas-powered vehicles, that range depends greatly on driving style and weather conditions. In extremely hot or cold conditions expect overall range to drop by as much as 30 percent. For typical drivers it's easy to meet the EPA's estimates, though for best battery life, owners will want to maintain a charge level between 20-80 percent-only charging to 100 percent in anticipation of long-distance trips.
When setting up the suspension, Cadillac engineers tried to strike a delicate balance between providing a comfortable ride and an athletic driving experience. They mostly succeeded. Lyriq isn't the sportiest EV crossover out there - leave that to the BMW iX and Genesis GV60 - but it's competent enough to be hustled without too much drama. At the same time, it's also got a smooth and comfortable ride that doesn't beat up occupants on rough roads. The steering has a great heft that imparts confidence and there's enough road feedback to help drivers understand what's going on in terms of tire grip. Brakes have a smooth and linear feeling that's to traditional ICE-powered vehicles.
Like all battery-electric vehicles, there's a LOT of weight down low between the axles. That's both a good and bad thing. It's great for creating stable, steady-state cornering and reducing the tippy feeling that sometimes comes in taller vehicles. But it also creates drama in quick changes of direction and when traversing railroad tracks. The heavy battery almost acts like a pendulum swinging backward against the direction of travel when drivers make two changes of direction in quick succession. It's a bit unsettling and it's a trait found on most battery electric.
Lyriq is impressively quiet. There's no motor whine in hard acceleration and wind and road noise are kept in check. There's also a refinement in the sounds that are heard that tells you this is a luxury crossover.
Inside, Lyriq is a deft blend of modern and traditional styles that work to create in interior that punches above its $60,000 MSRP. Switchgear isn't parts-bin and operates with a snick-snick that you expect in luxury vehicles.
The huge, curved 33-inch instrument/infotainment display is crisp and easy to read day or night. Thankfully there are traditional controls for most of the basic functions and drivers only need to dig into the touchscreen menu when doing complex tasks. There is a jog dial on the center console that aids in operation of the infotainment system as well.
Front-seat occupants will marvel at Lyriq's comfortable and supportive seats. There's also plenty of leg and head room as well. Rear-seat occupants are treated to loads of head and leg room as well, though the rear bench is somewhat flat and unsupportive. Entry/exit is a snap thanks to wide opening doors. Outward visibility is good to all directions. Lyriq offers an available digital rear-view mirror. While it can act like a traditional mirror, it's also able to switch to a camara that looks reward and provides a great view that's both unobstructed and clear day or night. Though it takes a bit of time to get accustomed to the slightly different perspective, it's a much better solution - especially when there are rear-seat occupants.
On the tech front, Lyriq can't be beaten. Not only does it offer every conceivable safety feature, a gorgeous digital display, and over-the-air updates, but it can be had with Super Cruise. GM's highway, self-driving system is unmatched in performance and reliability and significantly reduces highway-driving fatigue-whether you are cross-country cruising or rush-hour slogging.
Interior storage is great with several large open and covered bins throughout. The cargo area trails some competitors by a bit but is large enough for most uses. The rear seats fold and there's an underfloor storage bin. There's no front-trunk storage area, though Cadillac would be wise to put a small bin on top of the electronics to store the portable 110-volt charger.
Bottom Line - Though Lyriq took a long time to finally hit dealerships, the wait proved more than worth it. While some competitors offer vehicles that feel like battery powered versions of ICE vehicles or other-worldly tech mobiles, the Lyriq comes off as a luxurious and polished and well-designed battery-electric crossover. Its instantly familiar driving experience won't scare away first-time EV buyers, but it's integrated tech will more than appeal to early adopters. The range is impressive, charging speeds are good and the overall package comes in at a very attractive price.