Even before Cadillac let me drive around in its fancy new Lyriq SUV, the public was sometimes clamoring to pick one. The first orders sold out in just a few minutes, and in the same way, the orders sold out after the full model year was released. It’s a blind gamble for the average person, but after driving Lyrics, I think these guys are close to hitting the jackpot.
Before we talk about the Lyriq, let’s talk about Cadillac’s remaining unibody crossovers, the XT4, XT5 and XT6. Honestly, everyone is lukewarm. Their interiors are uninspired and rely heavily on some of GM’s other cars, either electric switches or technology. The car itself doesn’t drive well. They face very strong and frustrated competition. The automaker seems to know this because Cadillac tackled all of these issues in a major way at every stage of the Lyriq’s build.
As for the Lyriq, Cadillac told me to take a closer look at the GM parts box and was immediately annoyed. The automaker is back on the drawing board in the Lyriq’s cabin, and the results are amazing. Each contact is brand new and has more pinch than any other GM product. The simple cut looks like a knurled climate vent handle. Big enough to hold at least one suitcase, the bottom is lined with blue leather, as is the pop-up compartment under the thermostat. The window switches look better than the window switches on German cars. The steering wheel and trunk behind it are also unique. It won’t be unique as long as all these fancy new pieces will match future Cadillac models, but it’s good to see the automaker finally settle for something other than the Buick Plus.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop at the key. Considering that the Lyriq starts at around $63,000, the cabin feels like a bargain. Sure, there are a few bits of hard plastic on the bottom of the Cadillac, but overall the Cadillac has outdone itself. The exposed porous wood trim on the door panels features laser-cut triangles and 28-tone ambient lights twinkling from the back. The leather is soft and the second row seats are comfortable and supportive. AKG’s 19-speaker sound system delivers incredible fidelity “No one will listen to music at such a high level”. The USB-C port on the bottom also has a brushed metal cover.
Cadillac could easily take the multi-panel OLED display from the new Escalade, beat it on the Lyriq and call it today. Instead, the automaker introduced a new monster: a one-piece 33-inch LED display. It can display over a billion colors, and thanks to the Unreal Engine, the graphics are very sophisticated. There’s also a dial controller and quick access buttons on the center console if you’re touch-enabled but want to skip fingerprints. Half of the meter clusters can display range, speed and power usage in two different ways, but can also display a full-screen map with step-by-step instructions.
Most dashboard screens are rectangles hidden within a more interesting shape, but the Lyriq screen is made for this app.
Did I mention Lyriq Navigation is Google Maps live? Because usage here is as easy as on your phone. Google’s integration penetrates the entire infotainment system, introducing the Google Assistant and the Play Store, similar to what GM did for another new car in 2022. The quick access dock at the bottom right of the screen lets you browse various settings to reduce distractions. . Apple CarPlay wireless and Android Auto are also standard, and a USB-C port and wireless charging keep everyone in top shape. The only real gripe I have here is that the screen is the only way to open the glove box. No display overhead, but I honestly don’t need it.
Lyriq is very gentle and calm. There aren’t three air suspension compartments or magnetic shocks under the body, but that’s okay. Because passive dampers work equally well at eliminating everything but the toughest road asymmetry on my test rig. 22-inch wheels and Michelin 275/40R22 low profile tires. Active noise cancellation controls unwanted road noise and wind noise for up to 80 mph. After that, Lexus was still quiet. All this glitz might lead you to believe the Lyriq leans like a revolving odyssey, but that’s wrong. GM’s Ultium EV platform keeps the weight light and low, so you have less body rolling through the switches.
The driver’s bumper has a Lyriq charging port. Just press the Cadillac badge and the panel slides down.
A 102 kWh battery cell is integrated into the underside of the Cadillac, giving an EPA estimated range of 312 miles in a rear-wheel drive configuration. The pack is recharged at speeds up to 190 kW using a DC fast charger. Charging at home will be a little slow with the built-in 7.7kW drip charger that adds a few miles per hour of range from an average 120V outlet. Connecting the Lyriq to the 240 volt AC adapter simplifies things, providing 11.5 kW for the 4-wheel drive model and 19.2 kW for the rear wheel drive model. The latter is enough to add a range of 52 miles per hour. This means that when you have to go to work in the morning, it will take longer to charge overnight.
340 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque may not seem like much, but it’s enough to get the Lyriq moving fast. The throttle is tuned for smoothness, but switching to sport mode from the infotainment screen slightly improves responsiveness. Lyriq powertrains aren’t here to roast the rubber and leather dust in a 7-Eleven parking lot, they’re here to destroy hell.
The Lyriq isn’t trying to be an SUV. Tour mode is where this car really shines.
If you slow down, Lyriq gives you options. The single-pedal ride comes in two different power points, and I prefer it on the strongest setting, allowing for serious deceleration if you misjudge your stopping distance. However, there is an on-demand pressure-sensitive paddle to the left of the steering wheel, allowing for additional dial adjustment. This is a neat addition. It doesn’t change the rules of the game, but diversity is the spice of life.
In terms of exterior aesthetics, the Lyriq is a little exotic, but for the 2022 Sedna, it’s great – this SUV fills every corner. The big ‘s front grill turns into a backlit mustache at night, with some fun animations when the car is locked and unlocked. Given that the XT4, XT5, and XT6 can be confused with each other in most cases, it’s good to see Cadillac move away from the cookie cutter mold.
The Cadillac Lyriq is a fresh start for a brand that desperately needs to differentiate itself from the family. If that’s a harbinger of what’s to come, then the competition should stay on top. Sleeping in a Cadillac is no longer an option.
Editor’s Note: Travel costs associated with this story are borne by the manufacturer, which is common in the automotive industry. The judgments and opinions of Cnet executives and employees are ours, and we do not accept paid editorial content.