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2025 Cadillac Optiq EV First Contact: Smaller and Better?

2025 Cadillac Optiq | Photo: D.Heyman
  • EPA Category: Luxury subcompact SUV
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    Dan Heyman
    The new Optiq is the second-all-electric model to join Cadillac’s lineup.
    Glimpse of the new 2025 Cadillac Optic | Photo: D.Heyman

    Detroit, MI - The 2025 Cadillac Optiq is the second model in Cadillac’s lineup to receive the full battery-electric treatment courtesy of General Motors’ Ultium EV platform, joining the Lyriq (with the Escalade IQ and Celestiq coming soon). Further afield in the GM/Ultium EV universe, we of course find the GMC Hummer EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV and Chevrolet Equinox EV.

    That Ultium EV platform is modular so it can underpin any number of vehicle types, as you can see. And since the materials used for the lithium-ion battery tech are sourced from within North America, there’s less distance for them to travel and vehicles can get to market more quickly. Cadillac was quick to assure that they wouldn’t be facing the same delays we saw with the Lyriq. The automaker better hope so, because the Optiq will be Cadillac’s first true global model, selling in over 10 regions worldwide. 

    Unveiling of 2025 Cadillac Optiq
    Unveiling of 2025 Cadillac Optiq | Photo: D.Heyman

    2025 Cadillac Optiq – What’s new?

    Other than the platform, everything, this being an all-new model. The Optiq compact crossover is roughly the size of the XT5 crossover, though a little longer overall. It enters a very competitive segment, so it behooves Cadillac to make sure they’ve gotten this one right. 

    Design of the 2025 Cadillac Optiq

    Styling-wise, Cadillac have hit the mark. The Optiq appears squat and nicely athletic with standard 20-inch wheels in two finishes, for the Sport and Luxury models. Sport versions get the dark finish sheen here (also seen here are optional 21-inch wheels) while the luxury models get a silver finish. 

    2025 Cadillac Optiq, three-quarters rear
    2025 Cadillac Optiq, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Heyman

    Other additions to the Sport include black mirror caps to match the contrast-colour roof while all Optiqs get a dual rear spoiler. That’s more than just a styling touch; it’s actually functional and makes for smoother airflow around the car, thus improving range (a claimed 300 miles, or about 480 km). 

    And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you - there’s no rear wiper underneath the spoiler. The reason? A digital rear-view mirror is standard, negating the need to clear the rear window because the camera – which gets a cleaning spray all its own, as does the back up camera – sits outside of the vehicle. 

    2025 Cadillac Optiq, interior
    2025 Cadillac Optiq, interior | Photo: D.Heyman
    Seating of 2025 Cadillac Optiq
    Seating of 2025 Cadillac Optiq | Photo: D.Heyman

    The interior
    Inside, while it looks as luxurious as a Cadillac should, take note that this is a sustainably-sourced interior without any real leather, fabric made up of recycled yarn and – wait for it – wood inserts made using the pulp of recycled newspaper. Look closely enough at the various inserts and you may actually see newspaper headlines baked right into the surface. A ruse to show that they’re really using recycled newspapers? Perhaps, but that would be a pretty deep cut so we’re just going to go ahead and that it’s all on the up and up.

    See: 2025 Cadillac Optiq: Here Are the First Interior Images

    Steering wheel, screen of 2025 Cadillac Optiq
    Steering wheel, screen of 2025 Cadillac Optiq | Photo: D.Heyman

    Technology in the 2025 Cadillac Optiq

    Of course, in a luxury vehicle the materials used is one thing, but you need your tech to keep up with the leaders as well. Cadillac has turned to Google and Dolby, offering baked-in Google apps such as Maps and Assistant as well as a standard 33-inch 9K display and Dolby Atmos surround sound with a 19-speaker AKG audio system. Unlike the faux leather, the speaker grilles you see are all finished in real metal, and they look the part.

    That Google and Dolby stuff does come at the cost of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. According to Cadillac, systems like Dolby Atmos are too high-powered for the phone mirroring software to keep up with, so the apps simply aren’t compatible with the system. That also means that the chances of those apps coming later as an over-the-air update (OTA) – which the Optiq is capable of receiving – are slim to none. 

    We understand why they’ve gone that way – the system does allow for Spotify and other music apps, for example, so you won’t be without your favourite tunes – but knowing how important both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are to consumers, Cadillac is taking a risk here.

    2025 Cadillac Optiq, profile
    2025 Cadillac Optiq, profile | Photo: D.Heyman

    Powertrain of the 2025 Cadillac Optiq

    Power and range come courtesy an 85-kWh (usable) battery, with total system output pegged at 300 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Unlike its Blazer EV cousin, the Optiq will only be available initially as a dual-motor EV (so, all-wheel-drive with a permanent magnet motor up front and an induction motor at the rear). 

    Cadillac is keen on demonstrating the value the Optiq presents, however – it will be the entry-level Cadillac EV going forward, after all – so our guess is that they will eventually offer a single-motor RWD or FWD version of the Optiq, perhaps with more range if a little less power and torque, as is the case with the Blazer EV. 

    Either way, we’ve driven the Lyriq EV and found it to be a rewarding drive so one can only imagine what the smaller Optiq will return in terms of driving dynamics.

    Exterior design of 2025 Cadillac Optiq
    Exterior design of 2025 Cadillac Optiq | Photo: D.Heyman

    Charging and range
    Charging-wise, expect a return of almost 130 km from just 10 minutes on a DC fast charge, while a level II 240V home charger will get you about 38 km per hour of charging. There are of course a number of on-board aids to help get the most out of a given charge; there are various drive modes but chief among these “range helpers” is one-pedal driving. There are three levels of it – off, normal and strong – and with it, you can creep through traffic without ever touching the brake.

    As mentioned, Cadillac claims a range of 300 miles or about 480 km for the new Optiq.

    Autonomous driving
    Also on-hand is Cadillac Super Cruise semi-autonomous tech. Essentially with the press of a button, the Optiq will maintain speed and distance and change lanes if you ask it to or even if you don’t, because if it senses the traffic ahead is moving more slowly than what you’ve set cruise to, it will automatically search for an opportunity to change lanes for a safe pass. 

    Over 1.2 million km of roads in Canada and the U.S. have been mapped, or will have been by the end of 2025. And unlike Ford’s BlueCruise tech (and older versions of Super Cruise) the feature doesn’t work only on divided highways with no level crossings; it can work on two-lane roads as well. 

    2025 Cadillac Optiq, logo
    2025 Cadillac Optiq, logo | Photo: D.Heyman

    Pricing of the 2025 Cadillac Optiq

    Just as the Blazer EV and Equinox EV are slated to be GM’s affordable entry-model EVs, it’s the Optiq’s job to help pave the way to a luxury EV. Canadian pricing has not yet been revealed but with a starting price of just under $55,000 in the U.S. – and considering the larger Lyriq starts at about 70 grand in Canada – expect the Optiq to fall somewhere in the $60,000 range. 

    If so, that means it will be eligible for the federal EV incentive and perhaps some of the provincial ones on offer in Canada. 

    Pricing will be announced closer to its arrival in dealers later this year.

     
    Dan Heyman
    Dan Heyman
    Automotive expert
    • Over 12 years' experience as an automotive journalist
    • More than 70 test drives in the past year
    • Participation in over 150 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists