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2016 Cadillac ELR Review

The 2016 Cadillac ELR finishes at the bottom of our luxury midsize car rankings. As you would expect from a plug-in hybrid, it delivers good fuel economy. However, it is hindered by lackluster performance, frustrating tech features, and little usable interior space.

Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage
  • Upscale interior
  • Cramped seating and cargo space
  • Loud engine
  • Dull handling
  • Confusing infotainment interface

New for 2016

  • Final model year of production
  • Slightly more horsepower than previous model
  • Newly standard OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Standard rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone alert




Critics' Rating: 4.7
Performance: 6.0
Interior: 7.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.0
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Cadillac ELR Overview

Is the 2016 Cadillac ELR a Good Used Car?

The Cadillac ELR is not a good used car. It’s easy to see why this car was only produced for two model years and sold abysmally throughout that short lifespan: it has a cramped rear seat, a tiny trunk, and confounding infotainment features. The engine is noisy, and the car rides uncomfortably on rough roads. Driving enthusiasts won't find much to like about the dull handling, either.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 10 Cadillac ELR reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has decades of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Cadillac ELR?

Based on the handful of listings for the 2016 Cadillac ELR on our site, prices range between about $30,000 and $57,000. Its average price is about $44,000. The price you’ll pay depends on the specific vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Cadillac ELR Cost to Own?

The 2016 ELR is more affordable than most of its class when it comes to gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance costs. You can expect to pay around $20,500 for these expenses over a five-year period. In comparison, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt will save you about $4,000 over the same time frame.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New ELR?

2016 was the last model year of the Cadillac ELR, so there are no new models available.

If you decide a new car is right for you, there are a couple of options among new luxury hybrids. The 2018 Lincoln MKZ is a luxury midsize car that starts at $35,605. It's unique in that you can get it with a hybrid powertrain for no additional cost. A base MKZ hybrid is less than a used 2016 ELR, and it will still get you standard features like a touch-screen infotainment system and heated front seats. You'll get much more trunk space with the MKZ, as well as better hybrid combined fuel economy (though the Lincoln has no electric-only driving). A new 2018 Chevrolet Volt (MSRP: $33,220) is also cheaper than the average 2016 ELR. While not a luxury car, it comes with cool standard features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and it's more energy efficient across the board than the ELR.

Going with a higher trim or adding features to a new car like the MKZ Hybrid or Volt will raise the price, but current car deals and our Best Price Program can help lower that price.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Cadillac ELR?

According to J.D. Power, the 2016 ELR has a reliability rating of three out of five. That is considered average for all vehicles across the industry. Most 2016 luxury midsize cars get scores of three or above.

Read more about ELR reliability »

2016 Cadillac ELR Recalls

As of this writing, there are no open recalls on the 2016 Cadillac ELR.

See more information on Cadillac ELR safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Cadillac ELR Is Best?

The Cadillac ELR was only produced for two model years: 2014 and 2016. Of these, the 2016 model is a better choice. Horsepower was bumped up to 233 from the 2014 ELR's 217-horsepower rating, and the car was retuned for better handling and performance. Cadillac introduced Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hot spot in the 2016 model, and it made blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert standard. Those driver assistance features were only optional in 2014 models. 

Choosing between these models may also come down to price – and how you weigh that against the model year improvements. Average listings for the 2014 ELR are around $27,500, and the upper end of its price range is about $33,000. Both of those numbers are well under the average price of a 2016 model.

Compare the 2014 and 2016 ELR »

Which Used Cadillac ELR Model Is Right for Me?

There's only one ELR trim level, and most features come standard. The ELR was originally offered with an optional Performance package, which includes a sport leather steering wheel, performance brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, and sport alloy wheels with performance tires. You may want to look for a model outfitted as such if you prioritize an engaging drive. Other available features include semi-aniline leather seats, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

See 2016 Cadillac ELR trims and specs »

What Does Cadillac's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Cadillac offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles four years old or less and with fewer than 50,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Qualifying vehicles see the original new-car limited warranty extended to six years or 100,000 miles. If the model was sold after March of 2017, the bumper-to-bumper warranty is extended for one year, and there's no mileage cap (powertrain coverage is capped at 70,000 miles). Cadillac CPO models must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Cadillac’s warranty page carefully.

Cadillac’s CPO program is OK, according to our analysis, but several luxury carmakers offer better programs. These include Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, and Acura.

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How Safe Is the ELR?

The 2016 Cadillac ELR did not undergo any crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Standard driver assistance and advanced safety features in the 2016 ELR include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and a safety alert seat, which vibrates to alert the driver of potential hazards. Available features include adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

See ELR safety scores »

2016 Cadillac ELR Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Cadillac ELR or 2016 Tesla Model S?

The 2016 Tesla Model S is a luxury electric car that's leaps and bounds better than the ELR. The all-electric Model S can seat five or seven, and its hatchback body style gives it a lot more cargo room than the ELR. Depending on the trim (which corresponds to battery size), the Tesla can travel between 210 and 315 miles on a single charge. You won't have the option of backup gas power, but keeping the Model S juiced shouldn't be an issue. Its combined mpg-e ratings range from 89 to 104, depending on the battery. Inside, the Model S has futuristic technology, like a humungous tablet-like touch screen and advanced safety features that make the car nearly self-driving (the Autopilot system). When you do control the car yourself, you'll enjoy deft corner-carving abilities and blistering electric acceleration.

Which Is Better: 2016 Cadillac ELR or 2016 Chevrolet Volt?

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt has a variation of the same electric propulsion system used in the ELR. The Volt can go up to 53 miles on electric power, and it gets up to 106 mpg-e. Along with its extended-range gas engine, the Chevy Volt gets a combined 42 mpg. The Volt-based ELR, on the other hand, has an electric range of 40 miles, 85 mpg-e on electric power, and a combined 32 mpg on gas power. The ELR has a nicer interior, but both cars have limited rear-seat room and a small trunk. Unless you really prioritize the luxury atmosphere of a Cadillac, go with the Volt. It'll also likely save you money – average prices are around $25,000, much less than what you'd pay for an ELR.

Compare the ELR, Model S, and Volt »

2016 ELR Performance

How Does the 2016 Cadillac ELR Drive?

The Cadillac ELR produces a combined 233 horsepower from its four-cylinder gas engine and two electric motors. Power delivery is great under the electric motors, but the gas engine is noisy when in use. The front-wheel-drive ELR has four driving modes – Tour, Sport, Mountain, and Hold – that affect throttle response and suspension settings. The car's ride is generally comfortable, but it doesn't handle rough roads very well. The ELR's handling is also vague on winding roads.

Does the 2016 Cadillac ELR Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Cadillac ELR coupe gets great fuel economy for a luxury midsize car: 85 mpg-equivalent combined under electric power and 32 mpg combined under gas power. The ELR can go up to 40 miles on only electric power, and the gas engine helps it go farther once the battery is depleted. The ELR's battery takes between 13 and 18.5 hours to charge using a 120-volt outlet or five hours using a 240-volt charging station.

Read more about ELR performance »

2016 ELR Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 ELR Seat?

The 2016 Cadillac ELR seats four people. The front seats are comfortable and spacious, but the rear seats are undersized. Because this is a two-door coupe, getting into and out of the second row can be tough. The sloping roofline also limits rear-seat headroom.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Cadillac ELR?

The ELR coupe has a full set of LATCH car-seat connectors for each of its two rear seats.

2016 Cadillac ELR Features

The 2016 ELR has an attractive interior that's filled with premium materials. Most features are standard, so you likely won't have to hunt for anything you want. Amenities include Bluetooth, three USB ports, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, navigation, Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, and 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot. The CUE infotainment system responds slowly to inputs, and the touch screen's haptic feedback feature doesn't work very well. To make matters worse, the CUE system controls most of the cabin tech, so you can't avoid using it.

See 2016 Cadillac ELR specs »

Read more about ELR interior »

2016 Cadillac ELR Dimensions

Cadillac ELR Cargo Space

The ELR has a smaller trunk than many other cars in the class, offering just 10.5 cubic feet of space.

2016 ELR Length and Weight

The 2016 ELR is 15.5 feet long and weighs 4,065 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Cadillac ELR Built?

The 2016 Cadillac ELR was assembled at General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly factory in Hamtramck, Michigan.

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