Is the American market ready for a small Cadillac? Even in today’s frugal economic climate, those buying cars opt for large vehicles. Crossovers and even SUVs are relatively hot right now, while small cars and hybrids are languishing -- yet in this climate, Cadillac has floated what it calls the Urban Luxury Concept, or ULC. It considers what a luxury might look like in the coming years. Just how many? Well, even as the concept was introduced, Cadillac noted it’s a “concept vehicle that looks far into the future.”

It was unmasked at the 10th anniversary of GM's California design studio in suburban Los Angeles and then displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, a noted launching pad for “green cars.” Since it was introduced in LA, you might guess the ULC was designed at GM’s North Hollywood Advanced Design Center. (You’d be right.)

As you might guess, it is a hybrid, but even the hybrid powertrain gets a bit of the future-look. It uses a turbocharged 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine along with a compact battery pack. General Motors suggests the hypothetical powertrain could enable the concept to deliver 56 miles per gallon in the city and 65 miles per gallon on the highway.

The concept is highly styled, with attention-grabbing doors that move out and then pivot upward -- just the thing for tight, urban parking spaces. While the small size might seem out of character for a Cadillac, the design language is not. In fact, it seems designers went out of their way to pile on Cadillac design characteristics like front and rear vertical lamps and a super-sized version of the Cadillac grille. Inside, the ULC is filled with touch-pads and graphic readouts. It’s roomier than you might guess -- but we’re still not sure today’s Cadillac buyer envisions it as his or her future.



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