Green Car announces Best Car To Buy 2023 finalist

The Cadillac Lyriq marks the true beginning of a new era for GM and for Cadillac.

GM spent the first quarter of this decade big by restructuring itself around EVs, investing billions in batteries and the supply chain, and revamping manufacturing. And then Cadillac began shipping the Lyriq in July 2022, thanks to accelerated development.

It’s more than the first electric car for a brand that will be all-electric by the end of the decade. It is the first mass production model built around GM’s Ultium propulsion strategy, including a new large-format NCMA lithium-ion cell, an industry-first wireless battery management system, new engine designs and much more.

As such, it’s a harbinger of millions of future GM EVs, and it’s one of our five finalists for Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2023. And we’re happy to report from a few, relatively brief first-time driving experiences that it’s actually very well, and without any glaring errors. The $62,990 price tag also feels like a rare bargain in today’s EV market, for such a substantial vehicle.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

On a series of back roads around Athens, Georgia, and later on some fast-moving highways around Atlanta, our editorial team recently got a chance to get to know the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq a little better and found that it feels more tuned like a big wagon than an SUV . GM followed solid engineering instincts with the Lyriq and didn’t resort to clever steering, air suspension or active damping solutions here. The ride is superb without a hitch, and while the handling won’t disguise the fact that the Lyriq starts at 5,610 pounds, it feels balanced and planted, tracks well on both highways and back roads, and has all the precision you could hope for in a larger, more luxurious vehicle.

In many ways it reminds me of the first generation (2003-2006) Cadillac SRX – the one that took Cadillac’s rear-wheel drive car of the era and turned it into a crossover.

It’s all different – and electric – of course. The 102 kWh single-level battery pack fits on the floor of a vehicle that shows off GM’s expertise in making sleek unibody vehicles. There are no giant cast parts here, because to paraphrase executives, there was no need to reinvent how the company builds body structures.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

The Lyriq produces 340 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque from its rear permanent magnet motor, with a low 11.63:1 reduction gear, and can go from 0 to 62 mph in just under six seconds, according to Cadillac. Four-wheel-drive versions with two motors put out 500 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. And you are allowed to tow up to 3,500 pounds.

The best evidence yet for GM’s Ultium technology is that the single-engine Lyriq achieves an EPA range of 312 miles. The Lyriq is equipped with a heat pump, which may mean that it will reach almost its full range in cold weather. But even in the comfortable 70-degree sweet spot of our test day, we struggled to average 2.5 miles/kwh for a route that mixed just about every type of commuter condition. That pegs its real-world range to considerably less than 250 miles – although we’ll have to drive one longer, on familiar roads, for anything conclusive.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

Cadillac says the Lyriq DC can charge up to 190kW fast, giving it up to 76 miles of range in 10 minutes, but if our less than ideal charging session was any hint, most owners will see much slower. However, charging at home is impressive. For reasons we don’t quite understand (and reasons GM hasn’t been able to explain), single-motor versions of the Lyriq come with a faster 19.2-kw built-in charge, packing up to 52 miles per charge hour (if you lucky enough to have a 100 amp circuit and an 80 amp charger). AWD versions come with an 11.5 kW built-in charger and can add about 37 miles per hour.

The 33-inch curved display that extends from the left edge of the instrument panel to the passenger compartment is impressive. But like many such screen setups, the menu system behind it feels imperfect, with some entertainment and connectivity functionality missing or not fully tracked down.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

Exterior design and styling is a strong suit of Lyriq – from the front end making a different sort of over-the-top statement to the rear window that almost looks like it should be sporting a Saab badge. The interior is a mixed bag, with a center console placement that couldn’t quite warm this tall driver, and a real luxury feel to many of the upper finishes offset by some hard plastic – yes, mainly, we’re talking flimsy , hard tray in the center console that looks like it’s ready for diaper use. Overall, though, the interior feels huge, and when you fold the rear seatbacks down, there’s a total of 60.8 cubic feet of space. Sure, there’s no frunk, but go to the tailgate with the Lightning owner for that.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Lyriq is made in Spring Hill, Tennessee, home to what, like the Lyriq now, was once a really big deal for GM: Saturn.

Will the Lyriq be the start of an all-new lineup of vehicles that will transform GM and the industry? Check back on January 4 when we reveal our Best Car To Buy.

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