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Cadillac Optiq EV starts at $54,000 and aims to appeal to young hipsters

Cadillac seems a little too traditional to pin its driving prowess on electric vehicles. However, that hasn’t stopped the General Motors brand from launching (or at least showing off) four all-electric vehicle models by 2022.

The latest is the 2025 Optiq, a midsize crossover that may finally attract the young, trendy customers Cadillac has been craving. With a starting price of $54,000, it’s the cheapest in the EV lineup, and its design has enough features to make it stand out from the crowd.

In other words, the Optiq is designed and priced to be the entry-level offering for the Cadillac brand. Opticsno OptSo don’t be like me and embarrass yourself in front of the suits in Cadillacs.

Nuts and Bolts

Image Source: Cadillac

Today, there’s only one all-electric Cadillac on sale, the Lyriq. The Escalade IQ will arrive later this year, and the stunning (and massive) Celestiq is available to customers only by request.

Scheduled to go into production this fall, the Optiq is a Lyriq electric crossover that’s small enough to be considered a compact SUV.

Built on GM’s Ultium platform, the model features an 85-kWh battery that Cadillac says will give it up to 300 miles of range. However, the 400-volt system can only charge at 150 kW. That’s faster than the Mercedes-Benz EQB, but the brand’s Lyriq can reach 190 kW, and even low-end models like the Kia EV6 can reach over 200 kW. Regardless, Cadillac says the Optiq can add 79 miles of charging range in 10 minutes and charge from 20 to 80 percent in 26 minutes. That’s not bad, but there are faster options.

Charging at home should be pretty quick, though. The standard onboard charger is rated at 11.5 kW, and buyers can opt for an onboard charger that goes up to 19.2 kW. Keep in mind, though, that the big charger requires 80 amps to get all that juice, so you’ll need a pretty beefy plate.

Cadillac Optiq aims to boost sales

One thing is for sure, the Optiq is a good-looking car. I liked the Monarch Orange color of this demo car, and Cadillac says it will also offer Brilliant Blue and Red in addition to the more traditional white, black, and gray exterior colors. This demo car had a black roof, but the Optiq will come standard with a body-colored top.

Designers added some cool texture to the rear side windows by printing a series of horizontal design lines on two pieces of glass and laminating them together. This effect echoes the look of the LED taillights, giving the rear of the vehicle some interesting visual movement.

Image Source: Cadillac

Speaking of lights, Cadillac really paid a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the design aesthetic. Sure, they’re all vertical, but the taillights actually align perfectly with the slight camber of the rear wheels, and both the front and rear lights do a little choreographed dance as the driver approaches or moves away from the car. It’s a clever design.

Inside, the innovation continues with the dashboard and center console sections made from 100% recycled material. Using fiber on the center console instead of some kind of plastic or metal is a unique choice, but it really works. It’s great to see soft-touch materials in the most unexpected places.

Additionally, the console’s horizontal surfaces are covered in a clear, high-gloss finish that both protects the console and provides a pleasant sensation to my ears when I tap my nails on its surface. It’s an ASMR lover’s dream.

Cadillac Optiq Storage and Technology

Storage is plentiful, including space under the center console, but I was surprised to find a small compartment below the row of HVAC controls, just in front of the center console but not connected to it. Its ambient lighting can be changed as needed, which is just a small detail I didn’t expect. The ambient lighting continues onto the laser-etched trim panel above the HVAC buttons.

This base demo model also came with a panoramic glass roof and a standard 19-speaker AKG sound system with Dolby Atmos. I didn’t audition any tunes, but the immersive audio experience should provide a high-level, distortion-free listening experience no matter what your preference.

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The large 33-inch diagonal screen houses the infotainment system and digital instrument cluster.

There are a couple of GM quirks here. First, there’s no physical headlight switch. Instead, you have to tap on-screen icons. Fortunately, they’re on the far left of the screen and always visible, so you don’t have to dig through menus. Second, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available. The good news is that the system uses Google built-in, which includes Maps and Assistant. I haven’t tried hands-free texting with Google Assistant, but Google Maps can access the Optiq’s charging status, predict range at the end of a trip and suggest charging stations.

Every Optiq comes with a robust suite of safety features, such as blind-spot steering assist, automatic parking, forward collision alert, and adaptive cruise control. GM’s Super Cruise hands-free/heads-up semi-autonomous driving assist system with lane-change assist is available free of charge for the first three years after purchase.

Image Source: Cadillac

I’ve only seen a static demo of the Optiq, but I’m excited to see this EV on the road. Cadillac recruited the guys who developed the chassis for the excellent CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing sedans and Escalade V to bring some fun-to-drive performance to the all-wheel-drive Optiq.

The car’s twin electric motors are capable of pumping out a Cadillac-estimated 300 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Those are decent numbers, but remember that electric cars are heavy, and the Optiq tips the scales at a whopping 5,192 pounds. I wouldn’t expect it to rocket in a straight line, but I expect it to corner.

I was disappointed that GM’s excellent Magnetic Ride Control wasn’t available on the Optiq, but Cadillac says the passive dampers provide a controlled ride in corners while reacting quickly to mitigate high-frequency events like broken pavement or bumps in the road. There’s a Sport mode, and the company says the dual-compound all-season Continental Cross Contact tires, with stiff sidewalls and tread, split the difference between range and grip. There are three levels of brake regeneration, with the strongest providing 0.4G of deceleration to bring the Optiq to a complete stop. The driver can also use the paddles on the left side of the steering wheel to enable regenerative braking.

At first glance, it appears to be a welcome addition to Cadillac’s electric vehicle lineup, with attractive looks, a superior interior design, and a lively driving experience.

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