SRX-y New Crossover From Cadillac

January 8, 2010

The all-new 2010 SRX has been downsized and uscaled and designed to be a real world luxury car for those who want the security and heft of a SUV along with the athletic handling and luxury conveniences of a 4-door sedan.

The walkaround revealed a deep, rich cherry red clearcoat finish, punctuated by flashes of chrome and bling.  A bright chrome accent on the side, not unlike the Jaguar Vanden Plas, combined with a hefty Escalade-ish metallic presence up front, proclaims this is a crossover that is meant to be seen in.  Hefty 20 inch wheels and chrome plated alloys add to the meant-to-be-parked-out-front-at-the-valet attitude.

The interior carries the theme forward.  Rich leather, chrome and wood accents,  and an analog clock at the center of the console feels uncharacteristically European for an American luxury vehicle.  Fit and finish are impressive.  The leathers are hand cut and hand stitched.  The buttons and switchgear seem custom and not out of some standard parts bin.  It hearkens back to the days when American made meant something.  Younger drivers will have to suspend their disbelief on this.

For the 2010 model, the standard engine is a 3.0-liter double-overhead cam V6, the smallest engine currently offered by Cadillac, but with 265 horsepower, that is not really an issue. The 3.0L has direct fuel injection, which means gasoline under very high pressure is squirted directly into the cylinder. Older fuel injection systems use the less efficient method of introducing the fuel into the intake manifold. Cadillac engineers say direct injection produces more power, better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The 3.0 puts out 10 more horsepower than the 3.6-liter V6 in the 2009 SRX. Aided by variable timing,  fuel economy increases to about 24 miles per gallon on the governments highway driving cycle. Hydrocarbon emissions dropped around 25 percent. This 3.0-liter V6 engine is mated to a six-speed automatic. New safety features raise the weight of the 2010 SRX to slightly above of the 2009 model, so acceleration on dry pavement continues in the eight second to sixty range. A new engine option is a 2.8 liter turbocharged engine borrowed from the Saab division of GM.  It ups the horsepower ante to over 300, without sacrificing fuel economy.

The deep cherry red color and stud-ly stance of the SRX got more nods, smiles and compliments than one would expect from the least expensive Cadillac model in the lineup.   Driving to the sushi restaurant, the valet put it out front.  It even got a couple of high-fives  in the car pool lane at the high school.  Getting in is not as much a chore as some of the larger SUVs but it is elevated compared with a conventional sedan.  The driving position is SUV like and the view out the front gives you that Admiral-is-on-the-bridge feeling of superiority over the peasant cars below.  Handling is surprisingly nimble, aided with a slightly shorter wheelbase and big rubber at the corners.  Body lean is almost negligible.  Ride quality is firm but without teeth jarring rattles. 

The gadgets and amenities are first rate on the SRX.  It has keyless ignition.  And quite naturally, voice activated navigation, satellite radio and heated and ventilated seats are standard in the Platinum Luxury Edition.  Another nice touch rear heated and cooled seats for the rear seat passengers.  And the two window seats are like airline seats they are leather and they recline!  Prices on the SRX start at 35 thousand.  And you can spend 45 thousand if you try.  But compared with its Japanese and German luxury competition, it offers SRX appeal for perhaps a whole lot less.

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