Cadillac will help you shop for cars in a live virtual showroom

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Cadillac is moving some of the car shopping process online… if not necessarily the parts you’d want the most. The automaker has launched a Cadillac Live service that lets you check out car features and ask questions through a live video connection to a showroom with iPhone-toting specialists. Effectively, you can conduct the usual dealership tour without having to travel halfway across town. Representatives can also share options like accessories, colors and wheels through a digital interface — just in case that Escalade on display isn’t baller enough.

Live help doesn’t run around the clock, but it’s still much better than your usual dealer. You can talk to agents between 9AM and 1AM Eastern from Monday through Thursday, 9AM to 9PM Eastern on Fridays, and 11AM to 7PM Eastern on Saturdays and Sundays. Residents of California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas can also join in a pilot that will connect them to a dealership if they want to go on a test drive or complete a purchase.

Notice what isn’t an option, though: you can’t actually buy a car through the Live service. Unlike Tesla, Polestar and other relative newcomers that can complete transactions online, you’ll still have to visit a dealership and contend with arbitrary markups, hidden costs and pressure from sales reps. Cadillac Live is still a significant improvement to the sales process, and gives the brand an edge over online-focused rivals that don’t let you virtually kick the tires before you buy. It’s just that the company isn’t ready to completely enter the 21st century.

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