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Last year, an all-new SRX—based on the Chevrolet Equinox, but extensively reengineered—made its debut, replacing the old SRX model that had failed to strike a chord with luxury shoppers. The new design forgoes the former SRX's three rows of seating for a five-passenger design, and now has a primarily front-wheel drive architecture, though all-wheel drive is offered throughout the lineup.
The look of 2011 Cadillac SRX is quite different than the tall, longer, and narrower model it replaced last year; to most eyes, the SRX looks much better balanced, with less front and rear overhang. Vertically stacked headlights and a trapezoidal chrome grille give the SRX a Cadillac family look without it appearing cookie cutter. The dramatic side sections outdo Lexus's popular RX in terms of style, and there's plenty of nice detailing on the SRX, including a powerful character line beginning at the trailing edge of the front wheel well, culminating at the taillight lens. Inside the SRX, hand-cut-and-sewn coverings on the instrument panel and ambient lighting make for a rich environment that continues Cadillac's commitment to top-flight interiors.
With the redesign the SRX received last year, it went from a V-6 or V-8 powertrain lineup to all V-6s; but that doesn't mean it performs any worse. The SRX comes standard with a 265-horsepower 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6 engine, or a 300-horsepower, 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6. Both engines utilize a six-speed automatic that powers the front wheels. All-wheel drive by Haldex is optional and includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential that delivers excellent poor-weather grip. Because it's quite heavy, the 2011 SRX is merely adequate with the base V-6, and bordering sluggish with the added weight of the all-wheel drive system. However once moving, either of the two engines provides rapid acceleration—including enough to quirt out high-speed passes without sweaty palms. The SRX only comes with automatic transmissions, and while there are no steering-wheel paddle-shifters, as are so common on upscale vehicles today, there are tap-up/tap-down buttons on the shift knob.
Inside the SRX there's a lot to like, with great front seats, a nice driving position, and a second-row seat that's usable for adults. The seats are firm and well-bolstered, with plenty of legroom and headroom even for larger-than-average drivers; back-seat passengers, meanwhile, might enjoy the huge moonroof that allows a sky view above.
Crossover wagons aren't meant to be driven off-road, so their utility is measured more in terms of available cargo space for weekend Costco runs. In this regard, the 2011 Cadillac SRX is as useful as just about any other crossover on the road. The 60/40-split back seat can fold flat, and a power liftgate and an cargo-anchor system are on the options list. The cabin of the 2011 SRX is remarkably well-hushed, with wind, road, and powertrain noise all well-muted. Ride quality isn't pillowy soft, but it's well muted while maintaining enough firmness for crisp handling control.
There's not a single conventional luxury or comfort feature the 2011 Cadillac SRX doesn't have; and in terms of high-tech safety, connectivity, and entertainment features, the SRX excels. Highlights offered in special packages on the SRX include three-zone climate control; adaptive forward lighting that swivels the headlamps in sync with vehicle steering; a power liftgate with adjustable height setting (it won't hit your garage door if opened while parked inside); an integrated hard disc drive for audio storage; and a dual-screen video system for rear entertainment. Bluetooth compatibility is standard, as is OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation service for buyers who do not opt for the car's navigation system option.
New for 2011 is Cadillac's Premium Care Maintenance, which covers oil changes, tire rotations, filter replacement and other inspections for four year or 50,000 miles.