So how weird is this; part of the limited press introduction of the 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover included an autocross course set up at GM's Milford Proving Grounds. What doesn't add up here? Traditionally, one wouldn't expect GM's PR department to put a Cadillac, especially a two-ton luxury crossover, on an autocross course better suited to a Pontiac Solstice GXP.
Regardless of what some might consider a lapse of logic, there we were. And on the spring day when we were behind the wheel of the all-new SRX, Mother Nature added snow and ice to course, just to make things even more interesting.
Bending through one low-speed corner in an SRX equipped with the standard 3.0-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive, the rear end of the five-passenger crossover smoothly swung out when I was heavy on the throttle. Yes, the truck oversteered in a predictable, controlled fashion. It was freakin' great! And yes, the Stabilitrak electronic stability control was fully operational. I grabbed an engineer and repeated the maneuver several times just to be sure I had felt what I thought I had felt.
His response was, "It's supposed to do that. The system knows that when a driver is in these conditions and calls for lots of throttle, they want the rear end to come out a bit, so we let it…within reason of course. It makes it feel more natural."
If you don't regularly drive in snow like we Michiganians do, then you're probably thinking, "Sliding around; that's a bad thing. Why would I want an all-wheel-drive crossover that slides around?" Well, sliding around isn't exactly what was happening; racers and test drivers call it "rotation." Cadillac engineers designed the SRX to handle more like a sports sedan (think CTS) than a crossover (think Lexus RX). The bit of oversteer they designed into the chassis, Haldex-supplied all-wheel-drive system, and Stabilitrak makes the SRX feel more nimble, but never puts the driver in any danger.
In higher-speed corners (anything much faster than 20 mph), there was just neutral handling, but no oversteer and definitely no dreaded understeer (that pushing sensation that kills all sensations of driving fun). Additionally, on slippery surfaces (snow and ice), the all-wheel-drive system smoothly pulled the SRX along with no drama or wheelspin.
Atop this surprisingly fun and capable chassis, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is truly an all-new vehicle. Catch all the details in our just-completed Bottom Line. There you'll learn more about the shorter but wider body, the improvements in fuel economy, and the continuation of Cadillac's styling transformation.