2008 Cadillac SRX Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 22, 2008

The 2008 Cadillac SRX is handsome and capable, but poor fuel economy and a small third-row seat cut into its usefulness.


The crisply styled 2008 Cadillac SRX is a mid-size crossover vehicle built off the same platform as the rear-drive CTS and STS sports sedans.

A 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower V-6 is the standard engine in SRX, teamed with a five-speed automatic. Its performance is fairly ordinary and so is its gas mileage. There's every reason to order the optional 4.6-liter, 320-horsepower Northstar V-8 engine, which gets a six-speed automatic for the 2008 model year. It's capable of much more impressive acceleration--it can launch the crossover to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds--but fuel economy is an issue. The SRX is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive, and with either drivetrain, its 4,000-pound-plus heft cuts fuel economy to 13/20 mpg with the V-8 versions, and only 15/22 mpg with the V-6, rear-drive model.

The SRX is a tastefully drawn crossover vehicle that's aging well in its final years on the market (it was introduced in 2004 and likely will be dropped after the 2009 model year). The wagon rear end is a bit tall for some tastes, but the crisp lines have worn well over the years. Inside, the redesign of the center console and trim imparts a much richer feel to the Cadillac SRX than the original cockpit. The SRX's interior can hold as many as seven passengers with the optional power-folding third-row seat, but those in the back should be very small--elementary-school small. The second-row seat is much more hospitable to adults.

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The 2008 Cadillac SRX handles nimbly, with either its standard suspension or GM's Magnetic Ride Control, which uses magnetic force to control the stiffness of the shocks. Six airbags and stability control are standard.

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2008 Cadillac SRX

Styling

The 2008 Cadillac SRX has tuxedo style, inside and out.

The 2008 Cadillac SRX is a tastefully styled crossover. The wagon rear end is a bit tall for some tastes, but the crisp lines have worn nicely over the years.

The SRX's tall wagon body still looks sophisticated, even at four years old. Autoblog likes its V-shaped grille, and says the Sport package makes it even more pronounced. Car and Driver dislikes the wagon-like boxiness, and takes issue with the "starched and crisp" sheetmetal. Edmunds says the "angular styling suggests sporting intent."

The newly styled interior is praised by reviewers as well. Kelley Blue Book says it's straightforward, while reviewers at Autoblog are impressed with the way controls were revamped, and praise its uncluttered look." Edmunds says the alloy and wood trim are tasteful touches, and work well with the analog clock and supple leather upholstery. Cars.com likes the SRX's curvy center stack.

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2008 Cadillac SRX

Performance

The 2008 Cadillac SRX has nimble responses and, with the V-8, excellent power; fuel economy’s not so great.

Like the automotive professionals at TheCarConnection.com, most reviewers find the on-road handling of the 2008 Cadillac SRX above reproach, but better when accompanied by the expensive Magnetic Ride Control feature.

A 5-speed automatic couples with a 260-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 in the base SRX. The duo offers ordinary acceleration and average fuel economy. We prefer the upgrade: a 320-hp 4.6-liter V-8. This year, it gains a 6-speed automatic. It's capable of much more impressive acceleration of about 6.5 seconds to 60 mph, but gas mileage isn't great.

Car and Driver thinks the base engine is "merely adequate." Autoblog says with either engine, the SRX puts out "smooth operation and responsiveness.". Edmunds likes the combination of the V-8 and the automatic, for its strong acceleration" but thinks the V-6 offers enough power for most. MyRide.com notes the six-speed transmission as shifting "smoothly at all times."

With either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 4,000-pound-plus SRX gets low fuel economy: 13/20 mpg for V-8 models, only 15/22 mpg for the V-6, rear-drive model. The V-6 impresses ConsumerGuide since it uses "regular-grade gas," though Cadillac recommends "premium for the V8."

The SRX's magnetic shocks are an option, and ConsumerGuide thinks they're nearly essential. Without them, the SRX undergoes "lots of bounding" they report, "even on mildly rippled pavement." Autoblog calls the SRX "nothing short of excellent." "Steering feel is light at first," Kelley Blue Book says, but the vehicle is "easy to park." Car and Driver calls it "a sports car among SUVs."

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2008 Cadillac SRX

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Cadillac SRX has a roomy interior when the third-row seat is folded; when it’s raised, it’s suitable for kids only.

The 2008 Cadillac SRX can carry up to 7 people when it's fitted with the power-assisted, fold-away third-row seat. Anyone that sits back there should be elementary-school small or flexible.

Car and Driver says the front seats are sculpted well. Kelley Blue Book finds the front seats "firm and supportive." Edmunds says the second-row seats and their 41 inches of legroom can comfortable hold 6-foot-tall passengers. Cars.com likes the high seating position, and Automedia says the "class-leading legroom" is a boon.

It's in the third row of seats where things get cramped. Edmunds points out the third row's skimpy 24 inches of legroom. Kelley Blue Book adds that using the rearmost row obliterates cargo space. When folded down in the third row, the SRX has "plenty of sprawl room."

Automedia says the various cargo-management pieces let the SRX store just about anything. They add, "roof rails and large side storage bins along the rear cargo area are standard, and the rear coat hooks are accessible from either the rear doors or the liftgate."

Inside, the SRX has a richer feel thanks to a recent redesign. Car and Driver believes it still has "poorer fit and finish than German competitors."

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2008 Cadillac SRX

Safety

The 2008 Cadillac SRX earns good crash-test scores and comes with many safety systems standard.

The NHTSA gives the SRX four stars for front protection, five for side. Rear-drive models have a troubling three-star rating for rollover resistance.

The IIHS gives the SRX a "good" score for front impact protection, but hasn't performed more tests.

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2008 Cadillac SRX

Features

The 2008 Cadillac SRX offers the latest in high-tech and high-pleasure features.

The 2008 Cadillac SRX has an ample selection of standard features, along with some luxurious and clever options.

All SRXs have power features, air conditioning, cruise control, and a CD player. Options include all-wheel drive, leather, and a third-row seat.

Remote start is another option, while a Sport package adds a 6-speed automatic, a limited-slip differential, and all-wheel drive. An impressive Bose audio system can be fitted; it adds satellite radio. A panoramic roof is also an option.

V-8 models have navigation; it's an option on the V-6.

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8.0
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Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy N/A
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