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

Cadillac may seem a bit too traditional to hang its driving cap on EVs. And yet, that hasn’t stopped the GM brand from rolling out — or at least showing off — four all-electric vehicle models since 2022.

The latest is the 2025 Optiq, a mid-size crossover that could finally snag the young, hipster customers Cadillac has longed for. With a base price of $54,000, it’s the cheapest in the EV lineup, and its design has enough special touches to stand apart from the rest of its portfolio.

In other words, the Optiq is designed and priced as a gateway drug to the Cadillac brand. And it’s pronounced Optick, not Opteek, so don’t go embarrassing yourself in front of the suits at Cadillac like I did.

Nuts and bolts

Today, there is only one all-electric Cadillac — the Lyriq — that is for sale. The Escalade IQ is coming later this year and the stunning (and large) Celestiq is offered to customers by inquiry only.


The Optiq, which is slated to go into production this fall and sits under the Lyriq electric crossover, is diminutive enough to be considered a compact SUV.

Built on GM’s Ultium platform, it sports an 85 kWh battery that Cadillac says is good for 300 miles of range. However, the 400-volt system can only charge at 150 kW. That’s faster than the Mercedes-Benz EQB, but the brand’s Lyriq can reach a rate of 190 kW and even down-market options like the Kia EV6 can reach speeds of over 200 kW. Regardless, 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 quicker options out there.

Charging at home, however, should be plenty speedy. The standard onboard charger is 11.5 kW and buyers can opt for a massive 19.2 kW onboard charger. Keep in mind, however, that the big charger needs 80 amps to push all that juice, so you’ll need a fairly robust electric panel.

Cadillac Optiq designed to drive sales

One thing is certain, the Optiq is a looker. 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 of this demo model is black, but the Optiq will come standard with a body-colored topper.

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

Speaking of lighting, Cadillac really gets into the nitty-gritty when developing its aesthetic here. Sure, they all have a vertical, upright stance, but the tail lights are actually in perfect alignment with the slight camber of the rear wheels and both the front and rear lights do a little choreographed dance as drivers approach or walk away from the car. It’s a neat touch.

Innovations continue inside with the use of 100% recyclable materials covering part of the dash and the center console. It’s a unique choice to use fibers on the console and not some kind of plastic or metal, but it really works. It’s great to have a soft-touch material where it is least expected.

Further, the horizontal surface of the console is covered with a clear, high-gloss finish, protecting the console and making my ears happy as I click my fingernails on its surface. This is an ASMR lover’s dream.

Cadillac Optiq storage and tech

There is plenty of storage, here including a space under the center console, but what surprises me is a little cubby under the row of HVAC controls, just forward of the center console but not connected to it. Its ambient lighting can change according to whim and it’s just a neat little detail I wasn’t expecting. The ambient lighting continues on a laser-etched decorative 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 didn’t get to sample any tunes, but the immersive audio experience should provide high-level, undistorted listening no matter what your jam is.

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

There are a few GM quirks here. Firstly, there is no physical headlamp switch. Instead you have to tap icons on the screen. Fortunately they are located on the left-most part of the screen and are always visible, so you don’t have to go rooting through menus. Secondly, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available. The good news is that the system uses Google built-in which includes Maps and Assistant. I haven’t tried Google Assistant for hands-free texting, but Google Maps can access the Optiq’s state of charge, predict range at the end of a trip and suggest charging stations.

Every Optiq gets a robust suite of safety features like blind-zone steering assist, automatic parking, forward collision alert and adaptive cruise control. GM’s Super Cruise hands-free/eyes-up semi-autonomous driving assistant with lane-change assist is free for the first three years of ownership.

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 street. Cadillac recruited folks that 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 eke a Cadillac-estimated 300 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque out of 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 ship in a straight line, but I am hoping 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 the twisties while reacting quickly to mitigate high-frequency events like broken pavement or bumps in the road. There is a Sport mode and the company also says the dual-compound all-season Continental Cross Contact tires have a stiff sidewall and a tread that splits the difference between range and grip. There are three levels of brake regeneration, the strongest providing .4Gs of deceleration, bringing the Optiq to a full stop. Drivers can also use a paddle on the left side of the steering wheel to enable regenerative braking.

At first glance it looks to be a welcome addition to Cadillac’s electric lineup with great looks, an exceptional interior design and potentially a lively driving experience.