During our recent visit to Detroit for the inauguration of the new Cadillac House at Vanderbilt, where patrons can customize their $340,000 flagship Celestiq electric sedans, Cadillac pleasantly surprised us with a sneak peek at their latest offering: the all-electric Optiq sub-compact crossover targeting the lower end of the brand’s price range.
“This will serve as Cadillac’s entry-level EV,” Michael Simcoe, General Motors’ global head of design, shared during an exclusive tour of the sleek sport utility vehicle. “Yet, it maintains a consistent design language seen across the brand’s EV lineup.” This design continuity includes Cadillac’s distinct angular front end known as the “shield face,” sculpted body sides, and a sleek rear hatch adorned with elongated tail lamps.
Inside the Optiq, hallmark features include a spacious curved LCD screen spanning from the driver’s side to the vehicle’s center, ample metal trim—textured, knurled, or perforated for both visual and tactile allure—and a newfound emphasis on using fabric instead of leather on seating and trim panels. “It’s a way to add a softer touch to the interior, breaking away from a monolithic design while enhancing visual appeal,” explained Simcoe. “Additionally, it underscores our commitment to sustainability, a key aspect for us.”
Simcoe finds the resurgence of fabric particularly intriguing, acknowledging its historical significance in luxurious automotive interiors. Traditionally, leather was reserved for the driver’s seat due to durability, while passenger areas featured textiles. “Think about wallpaper; it had its phase of being out, and now it’s making a comeback. It’s a form of embellishment,” he remarked.
The Optiq boasts a footprint similar to Cadillac’s gas-powered XT4, the model it aims to supersede as part of Cadillac’s transition towards an all-electric lineup by 2030. Leveraging the packaging advantages of EVs—lacking bulky components like transmissions or gas tanks—it will offer more interior space than the compact gas-powered XT5, a larger model in Cadillac’s lineup. However, the Optiq won’t feature a front storage area typical of traditional cars due to the absence of an engine. “No frunk,” as Simcoe confirmed. “The hood is sealed shut.”
Upon its release, the Optiq is expected to provide an impressive driving range on a single battery charge. “We anticipate a range of at least 300 miles,” Simcoe assured. “That’s the baseline target for our EV lineup.”
Targeting the core of the current EV market, the elegantly designed Cadillac Optiq, equipped for a journey from Detroit to Lexington, Ky., on a single charge, appears to hit the mark effortlessly.