The Smoking Tire Pits Chevy Volt Versus Cadillac ELR – Video


There are now over 57,832 Chevy Volt owners in the US.  Most all of them sing words of praise over Chevrolet’s first attempt at a plug-in vehicle.

Chevy Volt Versus Cadillac ELR

Chevy Volt Versus Cadillac ELR

One of those Volt owners is Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire.

Farah purchase the Chevy Volt some 8 months ago and ’til this day he still finds it an absolute joy or, as The Smoking Tire says:

“Eight months ago, Matt got a Chevy Volt as a daily driver, and won’t shut up about how awesome it is.”

The Smoking Tires continues:

“The problem is, it’s rather dull looking, so no one understands how awesome it is unless they drive it. To fix that, GM gave Cadillac it’s own Volt, called the ELR.”

We personally don’t find the Chevy Volt to be dull looking.  It stands out from the crowd and is immediately recognizable.

Moving on.

The Smoking Tire asks this of the Cadillac ELR:

“It looks like the future, but is it any good to drive?”

Here you’ll see The Smoking Tire pit the Chevy Volt against the Cadillac ELR.

The winner?  Well, that sort of depends on the depth of your pocketbook.  Both are brilliant plug-in automobiles, so there’s no loser here.

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22 Comments on "The Smoking Tire Pits Chevy Volt Versus Cadillac ELR – Video"

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Hold mode is not a difference between Volt and ELR. Both have it. Otherwise, I thought it was a nice review.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Volt didn’t get it ’til 2013 I believe, so if he has an earlier MY it wouldn’t have it.

ObPerformance: The Volt would likely have similar if not better performance than the ELR if GM chose to ungimp it, and almost all of that would be in software or firmware. I don’t know if ELR has a shorter final drive (for improved 0-60) but Volt is heavily gimped compared to, say, the RAV4EV which is heavier and has a higher CdA, but has a nearly identically-spec’d electric motor.

HOwever, eRav4 has a much larger battery to support the “repeated” usage of peak power.

I hope some of the ELR features make it to the next gen Volt (i.e. more oomph, regen paddle on the steering wheel). Agree for the most part on the Volt’s refined feel… Focus Electric, to me, feels more refined as far as fit/finish and handling.

The author implied that he has free XM for life in his Volt… is that true? I’m coming up on three months with my Volt, and am being asked to start paying up.

Maybe auto journalists get a comp…?

Highlights the biggest deficiency in the Volt: Cheap and unappealing interior materials like hard plastics.

It’s a classic “old GM” problem, and there is no excuse since even low cost cars like a Ford Fiesta use higher grade interior materials.

And this review also highlights that it shouldn’t cost $75k to fix the interior on an otherwise great car.

Part of the problem is that Matt got the WHITE center console. Really ugly IMO. I ordered the dark center console and it is much nicer IMO. If I remember right I also had to get the leather seats in order to get the dark center console.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I find, especially before GM stopped with the 2-tone nonsense, that the Volt looks best in black with dark interior.

I also think the chromed wheels really pop on black.

So, “hard” plastic is cheap, but “hard” carbon fiber is expensive just b/c it is “carbon fiber”? B/c both of them feels the same…

The first part of the Video Matt does an excellent job of describing the Volt. Much better than any of GM’s advertisements. Later there’s a little foo pah on hold mode but they were comparing a 2012 Volt (which I have) that doesn’t have hold mode. Hold mode didn’t happen till the 2013 MY.

Nice video, but it would have been a more interesting and valid comparison if Matt had driven the ELR instead of the rather clueless other guy whose opinions lacked the depth of experience with either car.

Had my Volt since Feb. This review had several deficiencies IMO, though it was well presented and mostly entertaining. Here are the weak points I saw, mostly on the Volt side… The obvious hold mode error. As “car experts” they should have been aware of that design change. The Volt is ugly and boring? I think it’s one of the nicest looking cars on the road. I like the stripe under the window, and how it aligns with the tail lights. But I don’t like the gray molding at the bottom, so I got the gray Volt that blends with it. Best Volt color IMO. The paddles are the same as putting the Volt in low temporarily or applying the brakes lightly. It’s just a convenient way to apply some regen braking. I can’t believe he praised the Volt center stack, since I think it’s the weakest part of the car. The UI is terrible with way too many buttons and too much redundancy. I don’t understand why everyone is so down on “hard plastics” lately. I don’t rest my head on those plastics, so I don’t care if they’re hard or soft. They didn’t explain why/how the ELR is… Read more »

Agreed the Volt is one of the nicest looking cars on the road. Very good looking car. Although the rear end is a little high and doesn’t quite match the front end.

Loved this review. My Volt’s interior…it leaves much to be desired – but I don’t care. It’s what’s underneath that matters. I expected some cut corners for Volt due to it’s pricepoint and knowing the engineering it took to get it to do what it does.

My next Volt? I’d expect no clunk – clunk shifter out of the eighties and some more refinement.

i like the “clunk-clunk shifter from the 80’s” as it controls a primary function of the car. It is also self-selecting, meaning that it also indicates what mode the car is in.

I dislike the “puck” flimsy selector on the Leaf and the Prius.

I do agree that the Volt’s interior was intentionally cheapened, that GM can and should do better, and that they do not have to wait for the new gen. to do that.

I second that opinion. From the 80’s? Try from the horseless carriage days. It’s still around because it IS still functional. I typically keep my right hand resting on the shifter as I drive, clicking between D and L in order to manage the regen as traffic and road conditions vary.

The ELR’s paddle-controlled regen might change my mind, however.

I suspect the traditional shifter was used to make the Volt feel “normal” to someone coming from an ICE with automatic transmission. That’s also why it starts moving in gear when you take your foot off the brake. And why it applies some regen braking when you take your foot off the “gas pedal” at higher speeds.

After sitting in an ELR and walking around one.. I can honestly say I like the Volt better in most aspects. I think the ELR has a really nice looking side profile, and I like the faster acceleration. But otherwise, everything else I prefer the Volt.

Looking at the video still i’d take the Volt over the ELR no hesitation. The ELR is the exact same thing as the Volt and Cadi begged Chevy for the Voltec drivetrain so they could simply get some green credit. I would not support Cadillac ever. Plus you’d be a fool to buy this over a Model S.

There was a guy that had an ELR at Supercar Sunday, it was pretty nice but the guy was an absolute dick. He had the charge port open driving around to let people know its “electric” and talked down on the Volt when i mentioned it to him like he had some sort of hierarchy car. 40 miles of electric isn’t exactly something to be “bragging” about. Other than that its just a refreshed CTS.

Calling Volt “ugly” is just stupid when there are LEAF, i-Miev and Prius holding up the ugly flags…

For a car that cost $60k to make, with subsidies, $40k to sell, the Volt is short on many features. EVs been around for a long time. Most of SF bus system are EVs going back to the 50’s. I agree about the center cluster buttons and redundancy but moreso the placement of the buttons are completely useless. Its like a designer who is a Luddite built this car. Don’t compare this to Toyo RAV4EV. Compare to Nissan Leaf which has more than 20 miles more in capacity. And, don’t say it’s a weight difference when you know it’s not. It has more battery capacity in a far smaller car. Also, GM is still in cahoots with BigOil. The ICE could have been made far, far more efficient. If any of you had to rent an electric generator you would know for sure what I am talking about. Bad GM, bad boys, keeping to face to the teet of Big Oil. Who puts the power button right next to the drive button that gets used heavily? Really?! I’ve shutdown the car on the highway keeping may eyes on the road. Put the freaking power button where the key would go… Read more »

Entertaining comparison. But did anyone else notice how Matt bags on EVs like the LEAF and cites their limitations, yet he claims to be getting “125 mpg” in his Volt, has only filled up the tank 4 times, and would have gotten “well over 200 mpg” if he hadn’t lent the car to friends?

In order to get that kind of mileage he must have been driving within the Volt’s limited range EV mode most of the time. And had he not lent it to friends he would be driving in EV mode almost all of the time.

So although he won’t admit it he’s actually hauling around an engine that he doesn’t use. Dude, you should have gotten a LEAF or Focus Electric as it would have served your driving habits better and cost you less!