Quick Drive: 2010 Cadillac SRX
Does It Compete With the Lexus RX? Give Me a Break...
Yes, it was ironic. Snow thwarted Cadillac's plans for a short first drive of the 2010 SRX at its Milford Proving Grounds, where we would be treated to split-mew surface launches and the like, showing off the new crossover's impressive Haldex all-wheel-drive system and electronic limited slip differential. Two months earlier, just before the Chicago auto show, Cadillac had to cancel a first-drive on snow and ice in Michigan's Upper Peninsula because it got unseasonably warm and the snow melted.
The General can't catch a break these days. With the launch this August of its second-generation SRX, Cadillac is in the best shape of any division, with fully half of its lineup -- counting our 2008 Car of the Year, CTS -- up-to-date and arguably at the top of their classes. Now, finally, the SRX is the right size for Cadillac's effort to be a credible luxury brand in Western Europe. Except that it can't catch a break. Its importer in 25 European markets, Kroymans Import Europe, is out of money and Cadillac is suspending sales in its dealerships. And GM has suspended development of the VM Motori-based 2.9L turbodiesel critical for the sales of the SRX and CTS in Europe.
As with the CTS, it took Cadillac two generations to get the SRX right. The first wasn't bad, although the interior and exterior styling didn't look finished. It didn't know what it wanted to be and probably turned away too many buyers as little more than a fancy Chrysler Pacifica with rear drive.
Cadillac expects about half of the new SRX's buyers will choose front drive over the Haldex AWD versions. It rides on its own platform, shared with the 2011 Saab 9-4x, using virtually no Theta (Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain) parts and a few Epsilon II ('10 Buick LaCrosse/Opel Insignia) components, says chief engineer Lyndon Schneider.
The base 3.0L gas direct-injection V-6, rated 265 hp, gives the SRX best specific output in its class, Schneider says. The 3.0L, derived from the CTS's 3.6 "high-feature" V-6, is available with FWD or AWD, either one about 20 lb heavier than a similarly equipped Lexus RX, the new Caddy's main target. Like the RX, it's available only with two rows of seats, and Cadillac expects the SRX to match its archrival in fuel economy. With a 21-gal tank, range will top 500 miles.
The standard FE2 suspension comes with constant-rate steering, passive shock absorbers and 18-in. wheels. The FE3 suspension adds variable-effort steering, Sachs continuously variable dampered suspension and 20-in. wheels. FE3 is optional with the 3.0L V-6 and standard with the 300-hp, 2.8L turbocharged V-6, which will be available only with all-wheel drive. Caddy estimates the AWD turbo will do 0-to-60 mph in about 7.5 sec. The FWD 3.0 covers it in just under 8 sec, and the AWD 3.0 takes another two-tenths of a second, about 8.1.
Cadillac didn't make its premium turbo engine available for a "quick" first drive. I sampled both suspension setups in two AWD 3.0L models, and can report that like the second-generation CTS, the second-generation SRX advanced to the head of its class. The crossover is exceedingly quiet, especially in terms of wind and powertrain noise. Its interior features a dash lifted straight out of the CTS, and the driver's seat is supportive and comfortable, at least after pumping up the lumbar support.
It's available with heated/cooled front and heated rear seats, three-zone climate control, pop-up navigation, and two Bose sound system upgrades, the top version with a 40-gig hard drive. Cadillac plans to offer a backup camera screen in the rearview mirror for SRXes ordered without navigation, also as an option. In a Cadillac crossover, even one priced competitively in the mid- to upper-30s, the backup camera should be standard.
The FE2 suspension absorbs crusty roads without going flaccid in the turns, and its performance makes the FE3 suspension even that more admirable. Even on 20-inch wheels and tires, the FE3 upgrade manages to feel comfortable over those abundantly bad Michigan roads, while upping the cornering power, turn-in response and damping. Cadillac has matched the comfort and quietness of the Lexus without dishing in any of the RX's numbing isolation. Whereas the Lexus comes off as a very well-appointed people-mover, the Cadillac is awash in luxury and character.
The only other place you'll be able to find this combo in a smartly sized five-passenger crossover will be your Saab dealer, nearly a year after the Cadillac's debut. Certainly, GM must be holding out the 9-4x as a good reason for a reported 20 bidders to buy the company. Keeping its best designs for itself in the future, and especially for its most premium brand, is reason enough for GM to sell Saab.
|2010 CADILLAC SRX|
|Base Price||$36,000 (MT est.)|
|Vehicle layout||Front-engine, FWD/AWD 5-pass, SUV|
|Engines||3.0L/265-hp/223-lb-ft DOHC V-6, 2.8L/300-hp/295-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC V-6|
|Curb weight||4200-4350 lb (mfr)|
|Length x width x height||190.2 x 75.1 x 65.6 in|
|0-60 mph||7.9 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA city/hwy fuel econ||17-18/24-25 mpg (est)|
|CO2 emissions||0.99-0.94 lb/mile (est)|
|On sale in U.S.||August 2009|