2010 Cadillac SRXPosted on July 24th, 2009
Second-generation crossover offers better fuel economy and all-wheel drive
By Nina Russin
This year, Cadillac replaces the original SRX with an all-new model, designed to compete in the same segment as the Lexus RX, Audi A5 and BMW X5. Whereas the first SRX was a relatively minor player, Cadillac hopes the new model will reach the heart of the mid-sized crossover market.
The 2010 models come with a choice of two engines: a 3-liter V6 available launch, and a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 that rolls out this fall. There are four grades ranging from the base model to the upscale premium. Luxury, performance and premium models are available with all-wheel drive.
The all-wheel drive system can transfer up to 100 percent of engine torque to the rear axle, and up to 85 percent of torque from wheel to wheel. Standard safety features include front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability control with rollover mitigation and trailer stability control. The car structure meets European standards for pedestrian protection.
Pricing ranges from $34,155 on the base model to $48,365 for the all-wheel drive premium. MSRPs will be slightly higher for cars equipped with the 2.8-liter turbocharged engine that arrives late in the year.
To simplify the buying process, there are few stand-alone options. They include premium paint, a rear-seat entertainment system, a trailer hitch and towing package that increases towing capacity to 3500 pounds.
Fuel efficient engines
Both new engines offer considerable fuel economy gains over the outgoing model. The EPA estimate for the 265-horsepower, 3-liter engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive is 18/25 mpg city/highway.
Drivers can choose from three transmission modes: normal, sport and manual shift. The sport mode holds gears longer for more aggressive performance. Buyers can upgrade from standard 18-inch wheels to available 20-inch rims, giving the SRX large contact patches with the ground.
Test drive in southern California
I recently drove the all-wheel drive SRX at a media program in Malibu, California. Our route took us along two-lane canyon roads, with a short stretch on the highway and along the Pacific coast.
All cars come with keyless start, that allows the driver to enter and start the car without removing the remote fob from his pocket. The start button is located on the instrument panel to the right of the steering wheel.
Designers wanted the car to accommodate a wide range of body types. A tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power adjustable pedals and adjustable thigh support make the driver’s seat comfortable for most drivers.
The test car is equipped with twenty-inch wheels, and the optional navigation system. Cadillac’s FE3 suspension automatically adjusts shock damping according to driving conditions. Variable effort steering provides more assist at low speeds, while maintaining a positive on-center feel on the highway.
The aggressive styling on the car’s exterior is reflective of its dynamic performance. While the first SRX felt soft compared to some of its German competitors, the new model comes much closer in terms of its handling.
The new, smaller engine has plenty of power to surge up steep hills. Even without using the manual shift option, I had no problems accelerating up the canyon roads on our test drive.
Drivers who remember former generations of Cadillacs will be surprised at how tight the steering is. Ditto for the brakes, which are a night-and-day improvement over cars a decade back with a mushy pedal.
All-wheel drive makes a huge difference in the car’s performance on challenging roads. The chassis is less nose heavy, and the automatic torque distribution reduces the tendency to push or understeer in the corners.
The SRX is a heavy car: the all-wheel drive model weighs about 4300 pounds. The twenty-inch wheels and adaptive suspension keep the chassis flat in the corners. I felt well in control through a series of switchbacks on a steep descent.
The SRX has a similar navigation system to the current CTS, displaying maps on a pop-up screen at the top of the center stack. Personally, I found the screen to be distracting. The car has a high cowl that makes it hard to judge the front corners of the car. I found the screen obstructed my forward view.
The other obvious shortcoming is the SRX’s rear window. It’s quite small and narrow, due to the car’s thick rear pillars. The rear headrests also limit the view out the back. Side mirrors do a pretty good job of compensating for blind spots in the rear corners.
While I didn’t get to drive the car at night, I was happy to see that engineers made adaptive lighting available on the upgrade models. Bi-xenon headlamps swivel according to steering input to light corners of the road. As a runner, I appreciate the safety benefits in dark suburban neighborhoods, where standard headlamps don’t illuminate the corners of intersections.
Versatile, stylish interior
It wasn’t that long ago that Cadillac instrument panels were a confusing array of knobs and buttons. In comparison, the instrument panel on the new SRX is clean and intuitive. Beneath the navigation screen, the center stack has an analog clock, dual temperature and audio controls. Redundant Bluetooth and audio controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.
The gauge cluster is attractive and easy to read. A stalk on the steering wheel operates an information screen menu, with the trip meter and a speed limit assist feature. Speed limit assist works with the navigation system: it displays the current speed limit in any given area.
A knob on the driver’s side door programs the height of the power liftgate. It’s an especially useful feature for smaller drivers who may have a hard time reaching the liftgate to close it.
Storage units are abundant around both rows of seats. All doors have two levels of bins for holding maps and smaller items. There are large cupholders in the center console, and in a fold-down armrest in back.
The glovebox is huge: it has a separate shelf for car documents, and a cooled lower area for storing drinks. A large bin under the front armrests has a shallow shelf for electronic devices and a deeper bin for stashing compact discs.
The center console includes the shift knob, seat heater, electronic parking brake, and rear park assist controls. All models come with three 12-volt power points. Car equipped with upscale audio and navigation systems also have a USB port for iPod interface and downloadable hard drive.
An overhead console includes controls for the standard OnStar, that automatically notifies the police and EMTs if the airbags deploy. It also includes dual reading lamps and controls for a huge panoramic sunroof that opens up glass panels over both rows of seating.
The rear seats have plenty of room for two adults: the center console limits legroom in the center position. Vents behind the center console keep the back of the car cool. The fold-down armrest has a storage bin big enough for portable phones and other electronic devices. Rear passengers have access to a power point behind the center console.
Versatile cargo area
Designers did a great job of making the car’s rear storage area as large and versatile as possible. Cars equipped with an inflater kit in lieu of a spare tire also have a large storage well under the cargo floor with hooks for holding grocery bags.
A U-rail in the cargo floor holds a variety of accessories, including a fence that holds smaller items in place and D-rings. Levers on the outboard sides of the seatbacks fold them flat to extend the floor: the SRX meets our bicycle friendly standards.
Tinted glass in the second row and cargo area keeps items concealed. A standard rear wiper keeps the back glass clear in wet weather. All models come with standard roof rails.
Arriving in August
The 2010 Cadillac SRX rolls into dealerships in August. Turbocharged models arrive later in the year.
Likes: A stylish crossover vehicle with responsive handling. The 3-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission combine good power with better fuel economy than the outgoing models. The cargo area is especially versatile, with an underfloor storage area, and pass-through for skis and other long items.
Dislikes: High cowl limits forward visibility and makes the front of the car hard to judge when parking. Small rear window limits visibility out the back.
Base price: $34,155
As tested: $45,820
Horsepower: 265 Hp @ 6950
Torque: 223 lbs.-ft. @ 5100 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Towing: Yes (when equipped with optional towing package)
Fuel economy: 17/23 mpg*
Comments: Fuel economy is for the all-wheel drive model (tested). Pricing includes destination and delivery charges.
3 responses to “2010 Cadillac SRX”
Im picking up a cadillac CTSV. Has anyone had problems with the car because of the supercharger?
I haven’t heard of any supercharger problems in my pipeline. From my own experience with superchargers which is primarily as aftermarket performance add-ons, the main concern is to use a motor oil (synthetic) that can withstand the extra heat generated, especially on the track.
The proportions are a bit off. Other than that, this seems a lot better than what came before it.
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