The Cadillac Optiq EV starts at $54,000 and is designed to hook young hipsters

Cadillac may seem too traditional to limit driving to electric vehicles. And yet, that hasn’t stopped the GM brand from launching, or at least showing, four all-electric vehicle models starting in 2022.

The latest is the 2025 Optiq, a midsize crossover that could finally attract the young, hipster customers Cadillac craved. With a base price of $54,000, it’s the cheapest of the EV lineup, and its design has enough special touches to set it apart from the rest of its portfolio.

In other words, Optiq is designed and priced like a gateway drug to the Cadillac brand. and is pronounced opticsNo Opteekso don’t embarrass yourself in front of Cadillac suits like I did.

Nuts and bolts

Image credits: cadillac

Today, there is only one all-electric Cadillac, the Lyriq, on sale. The Escalade IQ will arrive later this year and the impressive (and large) Celestiq is being offered to customers by inquiry only.

The Optiq, which will go into production this fall and slots below the Lyriq electric crossover, is tiny enough to be considered a compact SUV.

Built on GM’s Ultium platform, it has an 85 kWh battery that Cadillac says has a range of 300 miles. However, the 400 volt system can only charge at 150 kW. It’s faster than the Mercedes-Benz EQB, but the brand’s Lyriq can reach speeds of 190 kW and even down-market options like the Kia EV6 can reach speeds of over 200 kW. Still, Cadillac says the Optiq can add 79 miles of charge in 10 minutes and go from 20% to 80% state of charge in 26 minutes. It’s not bad, but there are faster options.

However, charging at home should be quite fast. The standard on-board charger is 11.5 kW and buyers can opt for a massive 19.2 kW on-board charger. However, keep in mind that the large charger needs 80 amps to push out all that power, so you’ll need a pretty beefy electrical panel.

Cadillac Optiq designed to boost sales

One thing’s for sure: the Optiq is attractive. I love the Monarch Orange color of this demo model, and Cadillac says it will also come in bright blue and red, as well as the more traditional white, black, and gray exterior colors. The roof on this demo model is black, but the Optiq will come standard with a body-color roof.

Designers added a cool texture to the rear quarter-pane window by printing a series of horizontal design lines on two panes of glass and laminating them together. The effect echoes the look of the LED taillights and brings an interesting visual dynamic to the rear of the vehicle.

Image credits: cadillac

Speaking of lighting, Cadillac really gets into the nitty-gritty of developing its aesthetic here. Sure, they all have an upright stance, but the taillights are actually in perfect alignment with the slight camber of the rear wheels and both the headlights and taillights do a little choreographed dance as drivers approach or leave the car. It’s a nice touch.

The innovations continue inside with the use of 100% recyclable materials that cover part of the dashboard and center console. It’s a unique option to use fibers in the console and not some type of plastic or metal, but it really works. It’s great to have a soft-touch material where you least expect it.

Additionally, the horizontal surface of the console is covered in a high-gloss clear finish, which protects the console and brightens my ears when I click my nails on its surface. This is any ASMR lover’s dream.

Cadillac Optiq Storage and Technology

There’s plenty of storage space, here including a space under the center console, but what surprises me is a small cubby under the row of HVAC controls, just forward of the center console but not connected to it. Your ambient lighting can change as you wish and it’s just a small detail that I wasn’t expecting. Ambient lighting continues on a decorative laser-etched panel just above the HVAC buttons.

This base demo model is also equipped with a panoramic glass roof and a standard 19-speaker AKG audio system with Dolby Atmos. I wasn’t able to sample any songs, but the immersive audio experience should provide a high-end, distortion-free listen, no matter what your track.

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

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

Every Optiq has a robust set of safety features such as blind zone steering assist, automatic parking, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. GM’s Super Cruise hands-free, look-up semi-autonomous driving assistant with lane change assist is free for the first three years of ownership.

Image credits: cadillac

I only got to see the Optiq as a static demo, but I’m a little more than excited to get this EV out on the road. Cadillac recruited people who developed the chassis of the excellent CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing sedans, as well as the Escalade V, to hopefully bring a fun-to-drive element to the all-wheel-drive Optiq.

The car manages to generate a Cadillac-estimated 300 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque with its dual motors. That’s a decent amount, but keep in mind that EVs are heavy and the Optiq tips the scales at 5,192 pounds. I don’t expect it to be a rocket in a straight line, but I hope it can carve a corner or two.

GM’s excellent Magnetic Ride Control isn’t available on the Optiq, much to my disappointment, but Cadillac says the passive dampers provide a controlled ride through corners while reacting quickly to mitigate high-frequency events like broken pavement or potholes. road. There’s a Sport mode and the company also says the Continental Cross Contact dual-compound all-season tires have a stiff sidewall and tread that splits the difference between reach and grip. There are three levels of brake regeneration, the strongest providing .4G of deceleration, which brings the Optiq to a complete stop. Drivers can also use a paddle 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 lineup with great looks, exceptional interior design, and a potentially lively driving experience.

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