First Drive: 2004 Cadillac SRX
A Caddy, all the way
No more rebadged GM trucks: The new SRX was conceived and designed as a pure Cadillac. Built on Cadillac's premium Sigma architecture, the SRX combines all-wheel drive capability and a command-seating position with the steering precision and road poise of a sport sedan. There's certainly no shortage of punch from a much revised, now-315-horsepower Northstar V-8. The SRX's four-wheel-independent suspension steps softly, or sharply, based on computer controls that cue its high-tech magneto-rheological dampers.
This luxo/ute's balance and grip afford a fun factor that belies its high center of gravity and utility capacity. There's 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 68 cubic feet when all seats are folded. The optional third row powers up and down and snugly accommodates two teens or wiry adults for short trips.
Electronic goodies abound with optional navigation and rear-seat DVD systems. There's also an available "UltraView" sunroof that provides more than five square feet of open air above the front buckets and second row.
Like the CTS sedan and the upcoming XLR roadster, the SRX displays Cadillac's edgy Art & Science styling. Either this is a better variant on the new design theme or we're finally getting used to the proportions and origami edges. Whatever, this is a superb driving piece. Look for the V-8-powered SRX in both AWD and RWD forms in showrooms this fall. A more-affordable 3.6-liter V-6 version will follow soon after.