Unfortunately, except for a brief spin around GM’s test track here, I never got a chance to test drive the old Cadillac SRX. It was one of the early crossovers but it never got good traction in the marketplace. That might be because even though the vehicle sat a little higher, it had the silhouette of a station wagon. The new Cadillac SRX doesn’t have to combat that stigma. Thus, I expect it to do a whole lot better than the vehicle it replaced.
In terms of styling, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is a quantum leap forward. The vehicle seemed stubbier than the old model and it seemed to sit higher, too. But at the same time it had a swept back sleek look, the lines were clean and they had the angularity of edge design which made the 2010 Cadillac SRX as visually pleasing as competitors from Germany and Japan. First, there were the SRXs’ intangibles. In this case, I’m referring to perceived luxury. The SRX sported the Cadillac grille that is immediately recognizable from the Escalade and is working its way through the lineup. Simply put, the SRX looked like a luxury vehicle. And though it was a crossover, the beefy but edgy design gave the SRX that touch of ruggedness that crossover buyers want. Ride quality was really good. The vehicle had a feel of heft that implied substance.
It was quiet; another hallmark of luxury vehicles and the drive train with its six-speed automatic transmission was smooth, very smooth. The SRX forced me to assume its character: assured, calm and stately. I didn’t rush anywhere during my week-long test drive. I had an all-wheel-drive model and handling was simply great. My test vehicle was powered by direct fuel injected 3.0-liter V6 that made 265 horsepower and 198 pounds-feet of torque. The vehicle wasn’t brutishly fast but its speed wasn’t anemic either. I really didn’t feel like I needed more engine, however, a 2.8-liter turbocharged 300 horsepower V6 is available.
The SRX’s interior was a love it or lump it affair. I think Cadillac still has some work to do on the SRX’s interior personality, but don’t get it twisted. There was nothing shabby about the interior of my test vehicle. In fact, it was pretty sharp. Black and gray, it featured light gray French stitching, a black dash and leather seats and it was pretty spacious. The SRX was a compact utility vehicle in other words; it had two rows of seats. I found the odometer, rpm, fuel and engine temp gauges which also housed the information center surprisingly cool. They were white and backlit in blue with red indicators when night fell. The popup touch navigation screen was also pretty cool. Seats were comfortable. They had lumbar supports and the seat cushion was adjustable. The front set was heated and cooled and the back seats were also heated. The SRX had several such surprises. There was a glass roof and dual DVD screens for the rear seat entertainment system. There was an ambience of sophistication that has eluded Cadillac in the past. Still, all was not perfect. I thought a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel a bit too common. The SRX is not a truck or a sport-utility. The interior, though nicely done, lacked the soft sinuousness that I think appeals to female drivers. And when the left front suspension compressed there was a sound that should not have been there.
I drove the AWD Premium model which had a base price of $47,540. As tested, my vehicle was $49,660, but it was chock full of equipment like satellite radio, Bluetooth, Xenon adjustable headlights, a rearview camera, a premium sound system, chrome roof rails, tier pressure monitoring, turn by turn navigation, OnStar, front and rear parking assist, etc. Yet, I was especially pleased that the base price of an SRX was $34,155. Now that’s a starting price I think consumers can work with.
Frank S. Washington is managing partner/editor of AboutThatCar.com and AboutThatCarBlog.com.