2010 Cadillac SRX Review

Consumer Reviews
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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 13, 2009

The boldly styled 2010 Cadillac SRX is richly appointed, with more enthusiast appeal than other crossovers.

TheCarConnection.com team presents this comprehensive take on the all-new 2010 Cadillac SRX. TheCarConnection.com has also compiled competitive write-ups on the five-passenger crossover, arranged in a Full Review, while here the editors provide a thoughtful synopsis of this stylish utility vehicle to help you make a smart purchase decision.

Available in August, the 2010 SRX is a five-passenger, mid-size crossover. The design forgoes the rear-wheel-drive architecture of the old SRX in favor of a transverse-engine, front- and all-wheel-drive-capable chassis that is about the same size as the popular Lexus RX 350.

Editors at TheCarConnection.com agree that the look of 2010 Cadillac SRX is a huge improvement over the outgoing model, a vehicle that looked too tall and too 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.

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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. 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 helps 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. Design misses includes the too-heavy-seeming rear hatch and the opportunity they had to hide the rear wiper up under the rear spoiler; the look is less clean than it could be.

Inside the 2010 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. An integrated center stack houses controls for climate and audio systems, while the optional NAV system rises from the center of the instrument panel just like it does on the Cadillac CTS. The Cadillac's extra width (compared to some other new mid-size crossovers such as the Volvo XC60) helps the rear seats feel more spacious. A newly developing 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 with many manufacturers, the 2010 SRX is doing more with less in the performance department. The outgoing 2009 SRX offered a 3.6-liter V-6 and a 4.6-liter V-8. The 2010 SRX comes standard with a new, 265-horsepower 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6 engine that Cadillac expects to deliver 25 mpg on the highway (certified figures aren't available for this post) and about 18 mpg city. In the SRX, the new 3.0-liter produces more horsepower and gets better fuel economy than the 3.6-liter in the outgoing model. GM's 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6 is optional for 2010. Horsepower for the single-turbo 2.8-liter is expected to be 300 even. The engine performs beautifully in Saab applications and should provide plenty of thrust for the SRX when it becomes available late in 2009. The powertrain provides a useful maximum tow rating of 3,500 pounds.

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. Our test drive happened on a snowy, cold spring day in Michigan, and the SRX plowed through as if the roads were dry. Some drivers may miss the availability of paddle shifters on the steering wheel. We didn't.

During our enthusiastic drive over twisting roads in southern Michigan, we learned that the chassis of the 2010 Cadillac SRX is stiff, which means the shock absorbers and springs can be tuned more softly, delivering a comfortable, though still responsive ride. Two suspensions are offered: the standard tune and the optional FE3 that features Continuous Damping Control, aka an active suspension that reads and adjusts every two milliseconds. The SRX's ride, even with 20-inch wheels, is smooth. Better yet, steering response is more akin to a sport sedan than what you'd experience in many other crossovers, including the Lexus RX 350. Our only complaint is that at high engine speeds (over 6,000 rpm), the engine is too loud for this level of luxury vehicle. At all other engine speeds, the engine is appropriately quiet and plenty powerful.

The 2010 SRX features numerous electronic gadgets and systems. Highlights include 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.

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, and OnStar. The SRX also introduces the use of Martensitic steel, one of the strongest available. It 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.

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2010 Cadillac SRX

Styling

Smaller but bolder, the 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover has the Lexus RX 350 squarely in its sights. 

The 2010 Cadillac SRX might carry a familiar name, but it's got an all-new look that TheCarConnection.com finds to be polarizing, though not without its merits. While the exterior strikes a bold, some would say overwrought, stance, the interior scores major points with automotive experts for its level of detail and refinement and should impress all who find their way inside the new SRX Cadillac.

Cadillac's latest entry in the hugely competitive crossover segment is the Cadillac SRX, a five-passenger vehicle for which Car and Driver says "three trim levels are available: Luxury, Performance, and Premium." For the 2010 Cadillac SRX, Cadillac's designers have thoroughly revised the entire vehicle, and Car and Driver reports that "length is down by 4.6 inches, height by 2.1 inches, and wheelbase by 5.9 inches" in order to better combat the segment leader, the Lexus RX 350. Automobile Magazine is pleased to report that, "fortunately, Cadillac didn't take the bland design and mushy suspension bait," but rather endowed the Cadillac SRX with "in-your-face styling" that Jalopnik considers "seriously appealing." Jalopnik goes on to call the new styling "the latest and probably the most successful interpretation of Caddy's 'Art and Science' theme," with a "combination of curves and creases, the art and science [that] makes the SRX much louder than its crossover competition." Autoblog finds that some of the most prominent design elements include "an in-your-face grille punctuated by a big badge resting between two huge, uniquely-shaped HID headlights [that] give the front end a look that is unmistakably Cadillac." Cars.com rounds out the exterior description by remarking that the SRX Cadillac "at once looks taller, if not higher off the ground, than the previous generation, yet it bears a resemblance to the Cadillac CTS sport wagon."

Reviewer praise continues to the Cadillac SRX's interior, which Car and Driver says "equals or exceeds anything in the class" with styling touches like "elegant compound curves in the door handles [that] make them look like Georg Jensen jewelry." Automobile Magazine notices that "LEDs provide a pleasant glow behind the black-on-white instruments," while Jalopnik asserts that, "on virtually every front, the SRX matches the RX 350." Autoblog is particularly impressed with "the cabin's impressive center stack" that features "a jewel-like analog clock, high-end materials and the massive (and we mean truly huge) retractable nav screen" that disappears into the upper dash. That nav screen is a slick touch inside the 2010 SRX Cadillac; Autoblog reports that, "when not in use, the nav screen stays tucked away, and when it [is] time to find something, the system [comes] alive with the touch of a button."

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2010 Cadillac SRX

Performance

The 2010 Cadillac SRX is one crossover that might bring out the deviant in normally mild-mannered parents. 

Aside from boosting the 2010 Cadillac SRX's visual appeal, the smaller overall dimensions reinvigorate this crossover with a whole new level of handling performance. TheCarConnection.com's research shows that the new SRX Cadillac offers one of the most engaging driving experiences in the crossover segment, though most reviewers recommend opting up for the turbocharged engine.

In keeping with the downsizing theme for the SRX Cadillac, The Detroit News reports that the "SRX drops its 3.6-liter V-6 and 4.6-liter V-8 for a pair of V-6s: a direct injection 3-liter and a 2.8-liter turbo charged V-6." While the displacement and cylinder count may be down compared to last year, Motor Trend still says that "the base 3.0L gas direct-injection V-6, rated 265 hp, gives the SRX [the] best specific output in its class," while Car and Driver points out that an "optional, 300-horse turbo V-6, built in Australia for Saab and Holden, will arrive this fall." Unfortunately, despite the shaved dimensions for the 2010 Cadillac SRX, Car and Driver mentions that the crossover still "weighs 4505 pounds," which is "heavier than any of its leading competitors." The net result is performance that Jalopnik calls "quick, but unremarkable," while Autoblog reviewers feel that the Cadillac SRX feels "more sluggish off the line than its spec sheet would suggest." In terms of acceleration numbers, Motor Trend states that Cadillac estimates that the "turbo will do 0-to-60 mph in about 7.5 sec," while the naturally aspirated "3.0 covers it in just under 8 sec."

Regardless of which engine you choose for the 2010 Cadillac SRX, Car and Driver informs us that all of Cadillac's crossovers will come standard with "a six-speed automatic" that is rather poorly received by reviewers. Jalopnik says "the transmission is one of the weaker points of the SRX," as "in regular mode it's a bit slower than we'd like, but set that way in the interest of fuel economy." That transmission is able to drive either the front wheels or all four, depending on which drivetrain option you prefer. Motor Trend reveals that "Cadillac expects about half of the new [Cadillac] SRX's buyers will choose front drive over the Haldex AWD versions," although the AWD system is praised as one of the most effective on any production vehicle. The Detroit News raves that the "phenomenal drive system...can transfer as much as 100 percent of the engine's power from the front axle to the back even before you know you need it," and Automobile Magazine reports that the Cadillac SRX's AWD system "sends torque to the rear wheels when more than a dozen sensors suggest that's advisable."

As of this writing, the official EPA estimates for the SRX Cadillac's expected gas mileage are unavailable, but Motor Trend reviewers note that "Cadillac expects the SRX to match its archrival [the Lexus RX 350] in fuel economy." If that holds true, then Motor Trend says that, "with a 21-gal tank, range will top 500 miles." Meanwhile, Autoblog reviewers estimate that the front-wheel-drive SRX Cadillac will get "18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, while the all-wheel-drive model [should be] rated at 17/23." Those numbers aren't fantastic, but they probably won't scare away any potential Cadillac SRX customers, all other things being equal.

Crossovers aren't typically known for their sporty performance characteristics, but TheCarConnection.com's research reveals a noteworthy sporty streak for the SRX Cadillac. The Detroit News reviewers call the 2010 Cadillac SRX "exceptionally well-mannered," with a "hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering [that] was more precise than...expected—turning into corners very smoothly." Jalopnik agrees, claiming this is a "crossover [that] actually handles. We'll even go so far as to say it's a Caddy that zigs and even zags." In keeping with its luxury billing, the SRX Cadillac also boasts a composed ride, with Automobile Magazine contending that "the SRX's electronic dampers and rubber-isolated subframes provide a tightly controlled yet supple ride over Michigan's pockmarked pavement." Jalopnik is still at a loss to explain how the SRX Cadillac is so "bewilderingly solid," asserting that the crossover "soaks up...imperfections while feeling as solid as a German luxury wagon."

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2010 Cadillac SRX

Comfort & Quality

If you can get over the missing third row in the 2010 Cadillac SRX, you'll find yourself immersed in a world-class interior. 

The tidier dimensions of the new 2010 Cadillac SRX work wonders for the vehicle in a lot of areas, but some reviews read by TheCarConnection.com object to the lack of third-row seating on Cadillac's crossover. On the positive side, the SRX Cadillac sports arguably the nicest interior in the class.

One of the biggest changes for the 2010 Cadillac SRX is the elimination of the third row of seats—Car and Driver noting that "no longer are seven passengers welcome; five's the limit." However, Autoblog reviewers feel that "since those [third-row seats] were only suitable for small children, we're guessing the empty nesters and young professionals that Cadillac is targeting won't miss them." The good news here is that the remaining seats inside the Cadillac SRX are world-class, with Car and Driver reporting that "the front seats are quite firm and bolstered perfectly; they would make a BMW engineer proud." Jalopnik also points out that, on the Cadillac SRX, "front and rear accommodation is limo-like; plenty of legroom, comfy seats, ambient lighting in the doors and optional pop-up DVD screens." Rear passengers also get the option of an incredible view out of the available moonroof, as Autoblog says "its absolutely huge dimensions give occupants an unencumbered view of the world above them."

Crossovers, or CUVs, 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 2010 Cadillac SRX is as useful as just about any other crossover on the road. Car and Driver observes that, "with the rear seats flat, the cargo bay will swallow nearly the same sheet of plywood that the roomy RX350 can ingest, and the Caddy will carry three bonus cases of beer." Overall utility is increased with the rear seat's "60/40-split," and Cars.com points out that "both a power liftgate and an adjustable cargo-floor anchor system are available" on the Cadillac SRX.

Cadillac's latest models mark a dramatic resurgence for the brand in terms of interior quality, and if you ever need some ammo for the water-cooler debate on the quality of domestics versus imports, look no further than the 2010 Cadillac SRX. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are unanimously impressed with the attention to detail inside the SRX Cadillac's cabin. Car and Driver proclaims that "what you instantly notice about the SRX is that its cabin equals or exceeds anything in the class," and Jalopnik says "the interior fit and finish in the SRX is seriously luxurious." Cars.com feels "the materials are much improved" compared to previous Cadillac models, and Autoblog raves that the Cadillac SRX's "dual stitched dash is soft and pliable to the touch, and the thick, leather-stitched steering wheel is a joy to hold." Jalopnik aptly deems the interior a "return to that whole 'standard of the world' business that Cadillac hasn't been able to claim in at least three decades."

One area where Cadillac's renewed emphasis on quality is most evident is the level of interior noise when driving the 2010 Cadillac SRX. Car and Driver tests show that, "at wide-open throttle and at a 70-mph cruise, the SRX is as quiet as the RX350 and is only one decibel noisier at idle," which they say is "a major achievement." Motor Trend likewise reports that "the crossover is exceedingly quiet, especially in terms of wind and powertrain noise."

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2010 Cadillac SRX

Safety

A large number of safety features keep the 2010 Cadillac SRX at the top of the safety class in the crossover segment. 

The 2010 Cadillac SRX won't be available on dealer lots until this August, and apparently the folks at GM's luxury division are reluctant to let either NHTSA or the IIHS get their hands on pre-production models for crash testing. Despite the dearth of crash-test data, the 2010 Cadillac SRX scores well in the safety category thanks to its impressive list of standard safety features.

Cadillac has not struggled recently in crash tests, and the 2009 Cadillac SRX scored a mix of four- and five-star ratings from NHTSA, so the editors at TheCarConnection.com don't expect any major negative surprises once the results become official. Stay tuned to TheCarConnection.com for the latest updates on crash-test results for the new Cadillac SRX.

Under the skin of the 2010 Cadillac SRX you'll find a wealth of safety features that work in unison to keep occupants safe and sound. ConsumerGuide reviewers report that "available safety features include ABS, traction control, [and] antiskid system." (TheCarConnection.com notes for clarity that those features are standard.) Cars.com adds that the Cadillac SRX's crash protection includes "front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats and curtain airbags that cover all the side windows." Even the SRX Cadillac's structure provides a significant degree of protection, as TheCarConnection.com's editors point out it is forged with Martensitic steel, one of the strongest grades available. Rounding out the list of safety features, Motor Trend states that "Cadillac plans to offer a backup camera screen in the rearview mirror for SRXes ordered without navigation," while those SRX Cadillacs navigation get the camera readout on the nav screen.

One quick glance at the 2010 Cadillac SRX is enough to realize that driver visibility isn't the best in the crossover segment; the rear styling is light on glass and heavy on sheetmetal, but the SRX Cadillac has a few features to help compensate for the obstructions. Car and Driver says that, "although the stubby backlight and huge C-pillars do damage to the rear three-quarter view, the side mirrors are huge," and the aforementioned rearview camera certainly helps during parking lot reversals. Visibility ahead is aided by the "adaptive headlights," which Cars.com says "swivel in the direction of a turn" and are offered as an optional feature on all 2010 Cadillac SRXes.

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2010 Cadillac SRX

Features

The 2010 Cadillac SRX takes a number of great features pioneered by other vehicles and brings them together in one richly appointed cabin. 

Cadillac has seen ups and downs during its storied history, but the brand has almost always showcased some of the latest automotive technology on its production vehicles. The 2010 Cadillac SRX is no exception, and while TheCarConnection.com doesn't find any truly groundbreaking features, no tech tidbits are conspicuously absent.

The 2010 Cadillac SRX is available in three different trim levels, but even the base models are "full of all the luxury features you'd expect in a well-appointed vehicle," according to The Detroit News. Jalopnik reviewers report that the SRX Cadillac is "raising the bar on both luxury and technology while carrying much of the CTS driving dynamics to an SUV." Helping the Cadillac SRX to raise said bar are standard features like "Bluetooth connectivity" and an "adjustable power-lift gate" that The Detroit News says "never opens too high so someone cannot reach the close button or have the gate hit the garage door." On most counts, the 2010 Cadillac SRX competes well with the Lexus RX 350, but Motor Trend points out that the SRX Cadillac's seats are "only heated," while the RX 350's are "heated and cooled." That quibble aside, the standard features found inside the Cadillac SRX are worthy of the Cadillac nameplate, especially the "eight-speaker Bose stereo" that Car and Driver notes comes standard.

No luxury vehicle is complete without a long list of expensive optional features, and the 2010 Cadillac SRX easily meets this lux-UV criteria. Motor Trend reviewers report that the Cadillac SRX is available with optional "three-zone climate control, pop-up navigation, and two Bose sound system upgrades, the top version with a 40-gig hard drive" that eliminates the hassle of changing CDs constantly (once you've loaded the music the first time). ConsumerGuide also says that "steering-linked headlights, and DVD entertainment" are available on the Cadillac SRX; the latter includes two screens for the rear seats and is especially handy when driving with young children.

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October 14, 2017
2010 Cadillac SRX AWD 4-Door Performance Collection

Nice but could have been better

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I owned a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica for 5 yrs. Now I have this. Compared to the Pacifica, 1.Seats are too hard, my back hurts after a while. Pacifica I could have driven for hours without back issues. 2.Do not... + More »
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March 22, 2016
2010 Cadillac SRX AWD 4-Door Premium Collection

Great looking suv inside and out.

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LIke the suv in almost all areas except for the blind spots at the front and rear. The mirrors and pilars are masive are really make it hard to see . As for the rear there is a camera for backing up but you... + More »
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April 17, 2015
For 2010 Cadillac SRX

HAPPY WITH IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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GLAD THEY DIDN'T CHANGE THE STYLE YET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 9
Features 8
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