2010 Cadillac SRX Preview

January 5, 2009

My, how things have changes: Consider that the 2000 Escalade is credited with helping save Cadillac from certain disaster. Now that vehicle is somewhat of a pariah. Small is the new big, and that's the direction GM is going with their 2010 Cadillac SRX, which will land in dealers this spring. The new, smaller mid-size crossover is no longer built on the CTS's rear-drive Sigma architecture, nor will it offer V-8 power, but it promises to be a better crossover and a better Cadillac.

Regarding styling, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is a huge improvement over the outgoing model, a vehicle that looked too tall and long for its narrow width. The new SRX is more than six inches shorter and two inches wider than the outgoing model. Importantly, there's less front and rear overhang. This combination helps tighten up the crossover's proportions that ride on all-new crossover architecture that is a step up in size from the Saturn Vue but smaller than the full-size Lambda used for the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, etc.

Vertically stacked headlights and trapezoidal chrome grille give the SRX a Cadillac family look without it looking cookie cutter. The dramatic side sections out-RX's Lexus's popular RX in terms of style. A powerful character line beginning at the trailing edge of the front wheel well culminates at the taillight lens. These lens looks to be vestigial tailfins, but unlike the fins of the 1950s, this design actually help aerodynamically by breaking the airflow from the body. An integrated spoiler on the rearward edge of the roof extends the sleek lines and improves aerodynamics. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard and 20-inch wheels are offered. We're not so crazy about the side vents.

Inside the 2010 Cadillac SRX, hand-cut-and-sewn coverings on the instrument panel and ambient lighting make for a rich environment. An integrated center stack houses controls for climate and audio systems, while the navigation system rises from the center of the instrument panel just like it does on the current CTS. As is becoming a required bling feature, an illuminated logo glows through the front door sill plates when the doors open (but like lights in refrigerators, how do we know that they turn off?).

Following the trend TheCarConnection.com sees happening from many major manufacturers, the 2010 SRX is doing more with less in the performance department. The outgoing SRX offered a 3.6-liter V-6 and a 4.6-liter V-8. The 2010 SRX comes standard with a new, 260-horsepower 3.0-liter direct injected V-6 engine. This engine is a de-stroked and de-bored version of the well-liked 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 used by GM in many vehicles. Fuel economy figures haven't been released, but highway mpg for the 3.0-liter is expected to be in the mid-20s.

GM's 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6 (used in the Saab 9-3) is optional. Horsepower for the 2.8-liter in this application is expected to be 300 even. The engine performs beautifully in the Saab applications, and should provide plenty of thrust for the SRX.

Both engines utilize a six-speed automatic that powers the front wheels. The new SRX includes a driver-selectable “eco mode” that alters transmission shift points to maximize fuel economy. All-wheel drive is optional, and includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential. The powertrain package provides a towing rating of 3,500 pounds.

We fully expect that the SRX's all-new chassis will be appropriately stiff to provide the solidity and ride quality befitting the Wreath and Crest, but we'll have to wait and see. The new suspension gives us reason to hope, as it includes a real-time damping system in conjunction with AWD that adjusts shock damping rates in response to road conditions.

Riding on its shortened wheelbase, the 2010 Cadillac SRX gives up its optional seven-passenger seating, but provides plenty of room for five and cargo. The stylish roof rack is optional, and we prefer the look of the vehicle without it.

The 2010 SRX features numerous electronic gadgets and systems. Highlights include adaptive forward lighting that swivels the headlamps in synch with vehicle steering; power liftgate with adjustable height setting (so it doesn't hit your garage door if opened while parked inside); 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 the car’s navigation system option.

The 2010 Cadillac SRX carries all of the safety equipment one expects in a premium crossover; standard head curtain side airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, safety belts with dual pretensioners and load limiters, trailer stability assist, and OnStar. The SRX also introduces the use of Martensitic steel, one of the strongest available. Its use in the rockers helps protect against intrusion during a side-impact, while also maintaining the structure during front and rear crashes. The SRX hasn't been tested by the government or the IIHS, but we'll keep you posted on results as these tests are completed.

For 2010, Cadillac is going in the right direction with their new SRX. This time, the Lexus RX likely has a genuine competitor to worry about.

We'll bring you more on the SRX next week from the 2009 Detroit auto show--in the meantime, see more photos on our 2010 Cadillac SRX page, and check out GM's video showcase below:

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