Cadillac Optiq: Previewing the compact American electric crossover [Update]

  • Optiq looks like an American alternative to the Audi Q4 e-tron, Genesis GV60 & Lexus RZ
  • Likely to go on sale towards the end of the year; is related to the Blazer EV
  • Expected to be available across the U.S., as well as in China
  • Base configuration may cost under USD 55k & be eligible for Clean Vehicle Credit

Update: ‘Release Date’ section revised.

Cadillac may have launched the Lyriq SUV and confirmed the Celestiq sedan and Escalade IQ as a part of its EV roadmap, but they are just the beginning of what’s to come from this transforming automaker. Earlier referred to by the codenamed ‘Cadillac L232,’ the upcoming Cadillac electric crossover has been named ‘Cadillac Optiq,’ new regulatory data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) revealed on July 13, 2023.


The Cadillac Optiq is quite swanky and is set to stand out in the current sea of crossovers. Compared to the Cadillac XT5, its gasoline counterpart, it showcases a more planted stance, which helps it convey a confident and aggressive look. With a longer, lower, and wider body, sharper lines, and refined surfaces, it feels sportier yet classy.

Cadillac Optiq front three quarter
The Cadillac Optiq doesn’t have the visual drama of the Lyriq, but it certainly manages a powerful and bold first impression. Image Source: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)

Like the Lyriq, the Optiq features a low hood, steeply raked windshield and back glass, vertical headlights, a smooth covered panel in place of a traditional radiator grille, a slim greenhouse, a thick C-pillar, and short overhangs. Similarly, the left-side quarter panel houses the charging port.

A thick slab of chrome below the hood shut line extends across the width, tapering off under the headlamps. The closed panel placed under the chrome trim contributes to the street presence of the SUV. While it is smaller than the XT5’s radiator grille, and more compact compared to the Lyriq’s closed panel, it effectively improves the Optiq’s overall aesthetic. Conversely, the functional air intake placed in the lower part of the front-end is notably larger, lending the Optiq a dominant and powerful look.

Cadillac Optiq rear leaked picture
The Cadillac Optiq stands out with its striking and distinct appearance, thanks to the brand’s new bold design language. Image Source: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)

On the sides, the Optiq features a sleek and streamlined appearance, with a sloping roofline and narrowing greenhouse towards the rear. The door panels have smooth surfacing and integrate flush handles, exuding a refined look. The top-end configuration sports 20-inch wheels. However, the rear design, similar to the Lyriq, takes on an unconventional approach. The vertical split tail lights, integrated into the D-pillar, may not be the most visually appealing aspect of the SUV.


The Cadillac Optiq, while smaller and more affordable than the Lyriq, should offer an impressive array of high-end features and a sophisticated interior. Buyers can anticipate a sleek, low-profile dashboard, discreetly placed air-con vents, a curved and ultra-wide cockpit display, a sleek climate control panel, and a floating center console.

There’d be plenty of physical controls, including small buttons and knurls as well as a handy rotary dial. Metal decor, laser-etched wood patterns, and subtle illuminations in the cabin should give the driver and passengers a rich and upscale vibe. Cadillac designers may look to the larger and more expensive Lyriq and even the Celestiq for inspiration, to where these models could serve as templates for the upcoming EV’s interior.


As per the MIIT declaration chart, the Cadillac Optiq measures 4,822 mm (189.8 in.) in length, 1,912 mm (75.3 in.) in width, and 1,642 or 1,644 mm (64.6 or 64.7 in.) in height. That makes it 6 mm (0.2 in.) longer, 10 mm (0.4 in.) wider, and 37 or 35 mm (1.5 or 1.4 in.) lower than the Cadillac XT5. The electric SUV has a 2,954 mm (116.3 in.) wheelbase, which is 96 mm (3.8 in.) longer than that of the gasoline-powered SUV.

Being smaller than the Lyriq, the Optiq will be targeted at younger customers. Its dedicated EV platform (a downsized version of the Lyriq’s BEV3), would mean no transmission tunnel, which would leave that area free for extra cabin room.

AspectCadillac LyriqCadillac OptiqCadillac XT5
Length196.7 in.189.8 in.189.6 in.
Width77.8 in.75.3 in.74.9 in.
Height63.9 in.64.6 or 64.7 in.66.1 in.
Wheelbase121.8 in.116.3 in.112.5 in.
Cadillac Lyriq, Optiq, and XT5 dimensions compared with and Lyriq dimensions compared (Sources: GM and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology)

Powering the Cadillac Optiq, depending on the configuration selected, is a 150 kW or 180 kW (201 or 241 hp) motor. All the configurations have a lithium-ion battery pack, but there’s no word on the energy storage capacity yet. In the U.S., at least one of the configurations should deliver an EPA-est. range of over 300 miles.

Cadillac may introduce a dual-motor powertrain option in the second model year, as seen in the Lyriq’s case. According to a report published on April 15, 2022, the L232 will be the Optiq AWD will be available with 68.7 kWh and 80 kWh battery pack options and an energy consumption rating of 12.7 kWh/100 km (12.7 kWh/62 miles) in China.

AspectCadillaq Optiq Specification
Length4,822 mm (189.8 in.)
Width1,912 mm (75.3 in.)
Height1,642 or 1,644 mm (64.6 or 64.7 in.)
Wheelbase2,954 mm (116.3 in.)
Front Overhang956 mm (37.6 in.)
Rear Overhang912 mm (35.9 in.)
Front Track1622 mm (63.9 in.)
Rear Track1624 mm (63.9 in.)
Approach Angle17º
Departure Angle21º
Tire Size245/55R19 or 245/50R20
Power150 or 180 kW (201 or 241 hp)
Cadillaq Optiq specifications (Source: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology)

Release Date

The pure-electric Cadillac compact SUV, now assumed to be the Cadillac Optiq, will debut in 2023, GM President Mark Reuss revealed at the company’s 2022 Investor Day event on November 17, 2022. He gave the analysts and investors a glimpse of the future EV while briefing them about GM’s 2023 EV debuts and launches. Below is what he said while showing them what we assume was a digital teaser:

This is a Cadillac compact SUV. As we get ready to go all-electric in Cadillac, Cadillac will lead the way in terms of technology and segments and price points, and luxury.

Mark Reuss, President, GM (2022 GM Investor Day on November 17, 2022)

The report states production of the Cadillac L232 will begin at the end of 2023. So, customer deliveries of the Cadillac Optiq could begin in the final weeks of the year.

Rory Harvey, Vice President, Cadillac, had told Fox Business in March 2022 that Cadillac EVs cheaper than the Lyriq will arrive in “a short period of time.” More affordable zero-emission Cadillac EVs are “not that far away,” he said. In a meeting with reporters, Harvey confirmed the company’s plans to roll out 3 new models in 2023, CarScoops reported on February 15, 2023.

For the U.S., perhaps Cadillac will source the Optiq from the Ramos Arizpe Assembly in Mexico, which will export EVs made at the facility to 45 countries from 2023.

Spotted testing in the U.S.

The compact Cadillac EV has been spotted testing in America. Instagram channel kindelauto has posted images of two camouflaged Optiq vehicles, clocking miles in Southfield, Michigan. The test mules featured different two-spoke alloy wheel design, in grey and silver, but were otherwise identical in spec.

TopElectricSUV says

Not all Cadillac aspirants can afford a Lyriq, nor do they need a vehicle that large. Customers shopping for a zero-emissions luxury electric SUV that’s affordable or smaller will find the Cadillac Optiq suitable. While American-made like the Tesla Model Y, it should have a good build quality that matches the expectations of luxury vehicle customers. With a circa USD 55,000 base price, the mini Lyriq is likely to pull many new young customers searching for their first luxury vehicle to the brand.

Cadillac Optiq FAQs

What is the Cadillac Optiq release date?

Cadillac is expected to announce its compact SUV later this year in China and the U.S.

What is the expected Cadillac Optiq price range?

Expected to fall in the USD 50,000-60,000 bracket, it will slot beneath the Lyriq.

Which are the alternatives to the Cadillac Optiq?

Featured Image Source: China’s MIIT