Optiq: Cadillac’s Smallest EV Looks Like It Means Business


The hand-built-to-order Celestiq indicates that Cadillac is in the middle of a revitalization, a return to its roots as the standard of luxury for the world. How much of that intent trickles down into its smallest, most affordable vehicle, the Optiq? We won’t be able to answer that question until we drive the car, but that was the question in our minds earlier this month, when Cadillac showed off the little electric crossover for the first time.

Cadillac is aiming the Optic at well-heeled older millennials. The Celestiq and the Escalade IQ are the twin flagship models of the brand; in contrast, the Optiq is designed to be a customer’s first electric car—and the first luxury car that those 29-to-39-year olds buy with their own money. (If you’re looking for your first EV, and you want to spend far less, keep an eye out for our review of the Equinox EV.) Cadillac will sell the Optiq around the globe, in over 10 different markets, including Europe.

Cadillac will offer no front-wheel-drive Optiq: Dual-motor AWD comes standard. Cadillac estimates driving range at 300 miles. Output is 300 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. The battery pack has a capacity of 85 kWh and, when hooked up to a DC fast charger, can gain as much as 79 miles of range in about 10 minutes. Cadillac has more to say about bidirectional charging at a later date: While typically vague, that statement does not eliminate the possibility of V2H charging, so we’re reading it “yes, but not now.”

Inside, the Optiq immediately feels and looks different than its GM platform-mate, the Blazer EV. (Both are assembled in Mexico, with LG-sourced batteries built in Tennesee and Ohio.) Chevrolet left a lot of room for Cadillac to wow customers who have between $55,000 and $65,000 to spend on an electric crossover: Give up the eye-watering performance figures of the most expensive Blazer, the SS, for an Optiq, and you’ll gain an airy interior finished in brushed aluminum, fabric, an unusual but cool veneer made of recycled newspaper and tulip wood, and a leather-esque material that is so much more convincing than the Ecotex that Chevy uses. In the Optiq we sat in, that hide alternative was dyed a fetching shade between blush and ochre. Cadillac calls it Autumn Canyon.

2025 Cadillac Optiq Autumn Canyon interior
It may not be cow, but the leather-esque material is in all the right places: Below the dash, extending forward on the sides of the center console, and even on the button for the storage cubby on the center console.Cadillac

Interior engineer Cameron LaCourt pointed out the location of the instrument panel: His team took pains to place it as low as possible in the cabin. We have yet to drive the Optiq, but we expect that the driving position will benefit from that work. A few other areas he and his team sweated: The map pocket, which extends all the way to the passenger-side door, and the location of the speaker, which is high in the door to make room for extra storage lower down.

The mix of high-and low-gloss textures is tasteful: We especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of fabric next to brushed aluminum on the passenger-side section of the dash. The impression of quality is only solidified as you look closer: The pattern of perforation on the seat is varied. Felt lines the interior of the glovebox. The grilles of the AKG speakers are etched aluminum. (There are 19 in total. Cadillac’s decision to offer Dolby Atmos in many of its EVs is one of the reasons that smartphone tethering had to go; the advanced nature of the audio projection meant that it needed more proverbial horsepower than a phone could provide.) The textured metal knobs that open and close the shutters of the climate-control vents are elegantly tucked between the leather upper and fabric lower of the dash, and each rotates with satisfying weight and click. The buttons to control temperature, direction, and fan speed of the climate control are made of metal, rather than gloss black plastic, as in the Optiq’s bigger sibling, the Lyriq.

2025 Cadillac Optiq infotainment screen
No “buttons” hiding behind the right rim of the steering wheel. Yay!Cadillac

The iDrive-style “multifunction controller” carries over from the much more expensive Celestiq and is placed behind a knurled dial that you’re supposed to roll (or press) with your finger. Lovely and ergonomic, just as it is in the Lyriq, who donated its 33-inch LED screen.

The size, color, and general aesthetic of the icons on the touchscreen reminded us of the one from the Equinox EV and the Silverado EV. We’re looking forward to spending some time with one and seeing whether Cadillac organized the submenus more logically than Chevy did: From first glance, useful shortcuts to frequently used functions like one-pedal driving and drive mode, are more prominent and more conveniently located.

2025 Cadillac Optiq
The wheels are available in 20- and 21-inch diameters and clad in all-season tires. The suspension centers on passive dampers that accommodate three pre-set modes and one customizable one.Cadillac

From the outside, the Lyriq looks unmistakably like a Cadillac: Continuity of design has been very important to Cadillac for a long time, and you only have to glance at the Lyriq and Celestiq to see the brand is still very good at it. Even the choreography of the LED modules in the headlights and DRLs and grille is similar. The Optiq looks somewhere between a rakish XT4 and a shrunken Lyriq with a little less going on. For reference, the wheelbase is six inches shorter than that of a Lyriq. The windshield rake is aggressive, second in severity within Cadillac’s offerings only to that of the Celestiq. The angle of the windshield forced the engineers to use butterfly-style wipers—a part unique to the Optiq—rather than traditional ones that swipe side to side in parallel. 

As with GM’s other new products that offer Super Cruise, you only get the system free for so long before you must purchase a subscription. (The system is active for the first three years of ownership at no cost.) Nobody knows what inflation will be like in three years, but right now, Super Cruise costs $25 a month. Automatic Lane Change is a one-time, $500 purchase. Judging from the subscription bundles available via Onstar on Cadillac’s site now, you’ll also need to pay up for extended use of Google services, like Google Maps and Alexa voice control: Right now, that “App Access” package costs $15 a month. It should be noted that the practice of requiring a subscription for nice-to-have options is now firmly ensconced within the luxury segment; Mercedes-Benz and BMW both offer similar packages.

2025 Cadillac Optiq rear seat glass roof
All the windows, apart from the sunroof, are acoustic laminate glass; the fancy roof is tempered glass. And yes, it does come with an electronically operated shade!Cadillac

Given its refrain of “entry-level luxury EV,” Cadillac is clearly, proudly excluding Tesla from its competitors. From our first impressions, that swagger appears to have been earned. We love seeing Cadillac with some main-character energy … and we hope that the driving experience of the Optiq proves this car worthy of being on such a stage. 

2025 Cadillac Optiq


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    Use of Optiq can cause sudden blindness, loss of money, loss of job, cramps, constipation or diarrhea. Use only as directed by your eye doctor. I hope those “well-heeled older millennials” have good health insurance.

    Hard to get excited over another Caddy Toaster. I want more V-series fun myself.

    Well, that’s the car I was waiting for until I found out it’s FWD or FWD biased AWD. Was this to save four feet of copper wire? What is it with GMs 45 year obsession with FWD? Don’t they get it? FWD sucks. No one wants it. With EVs, it’s just as easy to build it RWD, you know, like the Lyric? No sale! I will keep waiting.

    FNJ. It will be FWD. AWD will be optional but will be front biased which means it will operate as a FWD until you hammer the throttle or get stuck in snow. There’s no excuse for building any EV like that. The Lyric is RWD with optional AWD that’s RWD biased. The Lyric is a bit big and expensive for my current liking which means I’ll have to keep my Tesla. Tesla doesn’t build FWD crap.

    Another waste of good styling on a EV lot anchor while the money maker XT4,5 & 6 languish without updates.

    Apple Carplay/Android Auto have been removed in favor of a Google subscription service. Literally no one wants this. My EV money will be spent elsewhere.

    Can anybody explain to me how not using real leather in vehicles is saving cows? Cows are raised for meat and milk with leather being a side product. Unless we all stop consuming beef, the hide is wasted. How is a man made chemical product better than a natural one?

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