2023 Cadillac Lyriq proves ambitious but sloppy on first ride

What is the Lyric?

The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq is the brand’s first all-electric vehicle and the forefront of a lineup of new EVs from parent company General Motors. It is significantly larger than the Chevrolet Bolt and has a long, wagon-like profile. Think of it as slightly longer but also slightly shorter than a Subaru Outback. In addition to being all-new, the Lyriq introduces a new generation of battery technology and Cadillac’s latest technological features.

The limited-edition Lyriq Debut Edition starts at $59,990, while the more mainstream versions start at $62,990 (both prices include destination). Within Cadillac’s SUV range, it sits between the mid-sized XT6 SUV and the Escalade.

What is the power and range of the Lyriq?

The first Lyriqs to go on sale will come with a 100 kW battery pack and an electric motor that drives the rear wheels. This combination produces 340 horsepower and an EPA-estimated range of 312 miles. That range estimate is comparable to what you get from the Tesla Model Y Long Range (330 miles) and BMW iX (324 miles) and more than the Audi e-tron (222 miles) or Jaguar I-Pace (234 miles) . We need to run the Lyriq through our standardized Edmunds series test, but once we do, we’ll know more about how the Lyriq fares in real riding.

There will also be a twin-engine Lyriq. This model has four-wheel drive and an estimated power of about 500 hp.

How does the Lyriq drive?

First, note that what follows are our first impressions after riding the 340 horsepower Lyriq Debut Edition. Acceleration is firm but controlled. You get the feeling of instant torque that has become synonymous with electric vehicles, yet it’s dosed smoothly rather than in aggressive bursts.

The brakes are easy and comfortable to operate and a one-pedal drive setting is available, which automatically brakes the Lyriq to a stop when you release the accelerator. It’s a major plus for EV owners, who often view single-pedal driving as an attractive feature and an important part of the electric experience. As an added bonus, you can also squeeze the left steering wheel paddle to apply extra braking force — like a bicycle’s handbrake — if you’d rather avoid the brake pedal altogether.

The rest of the driving experience is comfortable, albeit rough, around the edges. The Lyriq is easy to operate, starts quickly and feels especially agile at low speeds. Like many EVs, it has a tight turning radius that makes parking and U-turns easy. But there are frustrations along the way. The steering feels little communicative and lacks directness. Maybe Cadillac tuned it this way to convey comfort or luxury, but to us it makes the Lyriq lazy in response to your commands.

The SUV also noticeably shifts its weight too often. Despite Cadillac saying that the center of gravity is low due to the battery pack under the floor, the Lyriq never feels quite confident in its stance and sways side to side, especially when running around corners. Finally, you’ll hear road noise through the cabin, and some speeds also produce wind noise – not uncommon for EVs without the white noise of an engine, although some isolate the driver better from such unpleasantness. Otherwise, the ride is smooth and pleasant on different road surfaces.

How is the interior of the Lyriq?

The interior of the Cadillac Lyriq makes a great first impression. The front seats have plenty of room and the interior features an attractive mix of leather, wood and metal that will set the tone for electric Cadillacs of the future. The view from the driver’s seat is dominated by a continuous 33-inch screen that curves over the dashboard, and climate switches are the only hard buttons inside.

Cadillac paid impressive attention to detail throughout the interior. This focus includes everything from laser etching into the wood door panels to interesting metal structures and controls with grippy knurling. It offers the sleek, state-of-the-art cabin space with a tactile nature that some rival EVs lack.

Spending hours on end in the Lyriq reveals some unappealing materials, such as hard faux-metal plastic accents, a solid rubber dashboard that tends to put accumulated dust on the entire screen, and an annoying glare of reflective aluminum. below the screen that can temporarily blind passengers. All in all, the combination of space and sophistication of the Lyriq presents itself well given the price.

How’s the Lyriq’s technology?

The Lyriq has a long list of advanced technical features, but there are caveats. Two highlights are an impressive head-up display and the hands-free driver assistance feature known as Super Cruise, although neither was available for testing during our time in the Lyriq. These features will not be included in 2023 vehicles delivered to customers, as the Lyriq release has been pushed back nine months ahead of its original expiration date. The head-up display will debut on 2024 models instead, and Super Cruise will ship via an over-the-air update by the end of 2022, Cadillac says.

The huge touchscreen serves as a gateway to perform almost all vehicle functions – from selecting drive settings to opening the glove compartment. The screen directly in front of the driver can be controlled with buttons on the steering wheel, but some commands need to be performed by touching the driver’s left hand, which takes some getting used to. Another pain point is that due to the continuous screen, some screens will be blocked out of view depending on your handlebar placement.

The center screen itself is bright and clear, providing an engaging display of numerous maps, functions and menus. Google Assistant is included, enabling a number of voice commands that understand natural speech quite well. You can operate the screen via touch or via the centrally mounted rotary knob. Unfortunately, this can be inconvenient. The dial feels a little too small and is set too far back compared to comparable systems, although this may be desirable depending on the driver. Some menus and features are also buried deep in the interface and can be hard to find, let alone navigate to. Cadillac tries to solve this problem by making many icons configurable so that you can place them wherever you want. You want to try it out before you buy it.

How much storage space is there in the Lyriq?

In terms of cargo space, the Lyriq falls at the top of electric mid-sized SUVs. It comes with 28 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is more than the Genesis GV60 EV at 24.0 cubic feet, but less than the gas-powered Cadillac XT5 midsize SUV of 30.0 cubic feet. It resembles the Tesla Model Y, although Tesla does not release comparable figures. The storage in the Lyriq is long and deep, partly due to the sloping roof which contributes to the limited height inside. The width of the opening is also narrow. There is a shallow storage area under the floor where you can store charging cords and a luggage cover, as well as other small items.

There is also no front case, or frunk, available with the Lyriq. Not every EV comes with a frunk, but electric vehicle owners consider it a benefit of the ownership experience, especially with the Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E. All in all, the Lyriq offers a handy boot for luggage, groceries and light camping gear – especially if you fold down the rear seats. But more overall space was sacrificed in the name of that elongated styling, and the lack of a frunk may be disappointing to some potential buyers.

What about charging times and battery life?

The Lyriq comes with a 19.2 kW on-board charger that provides a range of up to 52 miles per hour on a compatible Level 2 home charger, which is significantly more powerful than the on-board chargers on most other EVs. For example, the Model Y has a built-in 11.5 kW charger. But you’ll need to have a pretty robust home power source installed (including a 100 amp circuit breaker) to take advantage of the Lyriq’s maximum capacity. For fast charging at public stations, Cadillac says the Lyriq can handle up to 190 kW from a suitable charging station and has a range of up to 120 kilometers in 10 minutes. This is quite fast and comparable to the DC charging speeds of the BMW iX.

Notably, Cadillac also says its Ultium batteries — built in conjunction with LG Energy Solution and similar to those used in the GMC Hummer EV — can withstand an impressive amount of stress. Engineers said Lyriq owners can confidently charge up to 100% without significantly degrading the battery, which is designed to last longer than the life of the vehicle itself. And while the charging rate should gradually drop past 80%, they say it won’t be slower than in some electric vehicles.

Edmunds says:

Our first corner behind the wheel of the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq was enough to grab our attention. The Lyriq delivers a premium look and feel for the price, with ambitious range and battery capabilities in the fledgling luxury EV space. The driving experience leaves much to be desired, but we look forward to conducting a full performance and range test soon.

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