GM shows off Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle in Canada as automaker kicks electrification plans into high gear

The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

General Motors is gearing up with its electrification plans to bring 30 new electric vehicles to market by 2025. The latest offering from luxury brand Cadillac is its first all-electric vehicle: the 2023 Lyriq midsize SUV.

GM virtually unveiled the car in Detroit in April and this week brought a pre-production model to Toronto to show off to a small group of reporters. It is the second time that the car makes a trip to Canada. The first was for a photo shoot with tennis star Bianca Andreescu. The Tennessee-built Lyriq will arrive at Canadian dealers this fall.

“Lyriq is first and foremost a Cadillac and will appeal to any customer looking for a luxury SUV and it will be competitively priced,” said Jamie Dewhurst, national marketing and communications manager at Cadillac Canada. Starting at $69,898, the Lyriq costs about $6,000 less than a Tesla Model Y, but about $10,000 more than an Audi Q4 e-tron and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

A huge 33-inch diagonal LED display stretches across the dashboard, angled towards the driver for enhanced visibility.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

The show model, which was not available to drive, is the Lyriq Debut Edition and is only available with rear-wheel drive. An all-wheel drive version is expected to be offered by the end of 2022. The Lyriq uses GM’s new Ultium battery technology, which is cheaper, more powerful and uses less cobalt than the batteries used in the Chevrolet Bolt. A 12-module, 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack and single-engine, rear-wheel drive propulsion system produce 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque with a range of approximately 480 kilometers. If you use a level 2 charger or a 240 volt outlet, it will take between 6 and 10 hours to fully charge. On a DC fast charger, it can reach 122 kilometers in 10 minutes.

At first glance, the Lyriq retains some of Cadillac’s distinctive and bold family features. It features sharp lines and angles, optional 22-inch split-spoke alloy wheels in a polished and gloss black finish and various Cadillac decals. But this is no ordinary Cadillac – the electrification is embossed in the lighting. Approach the vehicle with the remote and the Lyriq comes to life in a symphony of choreographed lighting that begins in the front with the Cadillac decal in the center, extends outwards to the slim vertical LED headlights and then to the rear of the vehicle . It takes about 15 seconds to complete the light show and is a marvel to watch. Inside, the driver’s seat, mirrors and temperature adjust to the driver’s preferred settings as the lighting sequence takes place.

As expected from Cadillac, the interior does not disappoint. It’s luxurious with quality materials and details like intricate laser-etched patterns on the dark ash wood and a jewel-like drawer lined in juniper blue for storing smaller items like cell phones and purses. A traditional start-stop button and horizontal piano keys for the heating and ventilation system are placed within easy reach.

Horizontal piano keys for the heating and ventilation system are placed within easy reach.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

A huge 33-inch diagonal LED display stretches across the dashboard, angled towards the driver for enhanced visibility. Since this is a pre-production model, the screens did not work. It would have been helpful to see the resolution and graphics quality on the navigation and entertainment systems.

A huge fixed panoramic roof makes it feel airy inside, especially in the back seat. The rear seats can be adjusted and folded down for extra payload. There is ample headroom and legroom for passengers up to 1.80 meters tall. The front seats are comfortable and eight-way electrically adjustable with four-way electrically adjustable lumbar, heat, ventilation and massage functions. The front seats also have headrest speakers – part of the AKG 19-speaker audio system. The Lyriq is also packed with technology, including a built-in Google Assistant, over-the-air software updates, adaptive cruise control, advanced park assist and Super Cruise, GM’s semi-autonomous hands-free driver assistance system. It also has a pedal drive and a left paddle shifter to maximize efficiency. The pressure-sensitive shifter provides regenerative braking on demand to help the driver control how quickly the vehicle slows or stops.

Unlike many electric vehicles, there is no trunk in the front. But the rear truck is large and comparable in size to the Cadillac XT5. Behind the rear seat is 793 liters of luggage space; 1,723 liters with the rear seats folded. Buttons in the cargo area also allow you to fold the rear seats down without heavy or awkward lifting. On the right side of the hands-free tailgate, the name “450E” is plastered – 450 for the torque of about Newton meters and E for electric. Lyriq is on the left. The name and spelling are unusual, but meaningful. It’s a nod to Cadillac’s rich connection to art, especially music. Cadillac has appeared in over 3,000 lyrics, ranging from artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin and Rihanna.

The Lyriq is Cadillac’s first fully electric vehicle.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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