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The Cadillac SRX sold a little over 22,000 units in 2006. Based on our time spent behind the wheel, we're guessing that a lot of the angular crossover's buyers are satisfied customers. Marketed as an SUV upon release, Cadillac later relented and has (correctly) positioned the SRX as a CUV. After all, the SUV moniker summons mental images of a vehicle that might not offer a forgiving ride for its occupants. The SRX is the opposite of all that.

Follow the jump for the review in full.

For 2007, the SRX received attention from Cadillac that has managed to remain a bit under the radar. It concerns the vehicle's passenger cabin, and it's where we'll start. This year, the SRX was bestowed with the new Cut & Sew interior. This means more than just additional leather, mind you. While the basic interior configuration remained the same, the trim and materials were completely overhauled. Granted, the '06 was certainly not a bad place to sit, but the '07 truly elevates the standard for the Cadillac brand (something we saw advance even higher in Detroit with the introduction of the stunning 2008 CTS).

For starters, the center stack has been revamped, now capped and bordered by an aluminum trim piece that adds much needed detail and acts as the frame for reshaped, classier-looking heating vents. The entire dashboard, the door panels, and even the transmission tunnel are now trimmed in leather. The stitching on the hides adds richness to the overall ambiance and really completes the look. It's remarkable how something so simple can help transform a decent interior into a great one.

The instrumentation is similar to what's offered in the Escalade, except the SRX gets red needles as opposed to the blue ones in it's big-truck sibling. The aforementioned center stack contains the head unit for the Bose 5.1 audio system, which includes a single-disc CD player, MP3 compatibility, DVD, navigation and XM radio. The climate controls are uncluttered and use dials for the main functions. In a smart move, Cadillac locates the controls for the seat heaters on the door-mounted armrests. This places them in an accessible spot for both driver and passenger, helps maintain the dash/stack's clean, uncluttered look, and eliminates one of the negatives we experienced with the Escalade, which was a very crammed climate control panel.

The center console features ample storage, and the woodgrain trim that ornaments both it and the dashboard is particularly pleasing to the eye. Another nifty feature in the SRX's cabin is the double glove box. The traditional one is where you'd expect it to be. Directly above it, you notice that the wood trim has an indentation in it which, when pressed, opens a "secret" compartment that's fully lined. It's perfect for items you may not want rattling around in the deep center console bin. More than one guest riding shotgun noted that it'd be the perfect place to stash the types of items that we'll simply say wouldn't make it through an airport security checkpoint. And no, we're not talking about shampoo, either.

Our SRX was also fitted with the premium seating package, which comfortably ensconced us in smart-looking, well-bolstered and all-around wonderful leather cocoons that felt like they'd be more than up to the task of keeping us comfy on extended-length drives. Backseat passengers also commented on the car's overall comfort, and in our case there was no optional third row. Instead, the rear cargo area was equipped with three below-the-floor storage bins that seemed a lot more practical to us than what would have undoubtedly been a pretty cramped third row. All occupants are bathed in outdoor light, courtesy of the crowd-pleasing Ultraview sunroof that came as part of our car's $7,150 Premium Luxury Package. The massive glass panel, when opened, exposed the front seats in their entirety and part of the second row as well. Opening it is a slow, precise operation (we're guessing that's due to the weight of the glass) that gives the whole affair a theatrical quality. It's like opening the roof of Toronto's Skydome.

Outside, the SRX is mostly unchanged for '07. We're fans of the general look, which is unmistakably modern Caddy. As such, the creases are where you'd expect them to be, and the headlight and grille shapes are instantly recognizable. Those who opt for the available Sport Package (which are car wasn't equipped with) get a better-looking grille with more open elements and mesh backing. It's more in keeping with Escalade, the Chinese-market SLS, and the '08 CTS. The Sport also gets a lip spoiler and 20" wheels. The 18" alloys on our car looked substantial and had full-color Cadillac shields decorating the wheel centers.

Popping the hood on the SRX reveals the increasingly familiar 3.6-liter V6, which produces 260 horsepower and continues to impress us with its smooth operation and responsiveness. In the SRX, it's joined to GM's Hydra-Matic 5L40 five-speed auto, which includes a manual shift mode that frankly, we never used. If you want a six-speed, you need to upgrade to the more costly Northstar. Note to Cadillac: make a six the standard transmission for both engines.

If you think the absence of the V8 turns the SRX into a dog, you're completely off the mark. The fact is, we seriously wondered if the upgrade would even be worth it. Paper jockeys will no doubt exclaim that 260 horsepower is nothing, but you'd be hard pressed to say that after a stint behind the wheel. The 3.6L is very good -- quiet but stout enough to move the SRX briskly. We never once felt like we didn't have enough power on tap, and the Caddy accelerated well and cruised at proper highway speeds with ease.

In terms of overall ride and handling, it's nothing short of excellent. Our SRX was equipped with all-wheel-drive ($1,900) and magnetic ride control ($1,650), which when combined with a wonderfully-sorted chassis made for one of the better driving experiences we've had in a while. The SRX feels lighter and more nimble than you'd expect for a tall wagon/ute, and it eagerly tackled curvy local roads and our favorite sweeping highway connector without the slightest hint of misbehavior. This is a crossover whose sportiness makes it a hauler you want to jump into and drive somewhere. If you want an example of the clichéd term, "car-like ride," this is a very good one. We were caught totally by surprise, as we'd have never pegged this to be such a rewarding vehicle to drive. And we must add that it's as happy and comfortable patrolling Manhattan's urban canyons as it is tree-lined suburban thoroughfares. We observed fuel economy in the 17 - 18 mpg range while it was with us. Our driving was a pretty fair split of city and highway, but save for one day where the traffic gods cooperated, said highway miles were generally (and frustratingly) of the stop-and-go variety. The EPA rates it at 16/23 city/highway.

We'll have to assume that the sure-footedness the SRX's AWD system likely offers in sloppier weather only adds to the list of positives, since we were blessed with excellent weather while it lived in our garage. That was fine by us, as we had the roof glass open at every opportunity, even if it was a bit chilly at times.

Cadillac's Alpha Male is without question the charismatic Escalade, but if we were writing checks to our local Caddy retailer, the big, blinged-out SUV would remain on the lot while we drove off in the SRX. It's got a superlative interior, an excellent ride, and a unique look that isn't shared with any other GM-family vehicle. Put simply: it's the superior car. At an as-tested price of $48,180, including destination charge, it's certainly not inexpensive, but we'd hazard a guess that it's as good or better an everyday machine than several competitors priced at or above its level. At Cadillac, the Escalade is the headliner, but the SRX is one of those opening acts that makes you think, "Gee, maybe that other guy should warm up for him instead."

All photos Copyright ©2007 Alex Nunez / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Damn, gkz. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or what? The SRX is not perfect--no vehicle is--but contrary to popular opinion, GM does get some things right now & then.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a buyer when the SRX gets the 300HP V-6 and 6 speed auto trans. James H.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "11. rrr, i fail to get the correlation between the grille. gkz, just maybe gm has achieved something most of us knew was possible. a great car."

      -And what do you know, it dosent sell.

      Is it possible GM built a good car, but it's jus' gonna' be a flop?
      • 8 Years Ago

      "Not off roady enough". Let me just write that one down. Oh yeah.. the X5, X3, RDX, MDX, RX, or any number of the jeeps offered.. are off roady??

      Thing is the little slob who thinks he wants off road.. will never use it. and like the little lemmings go want it.. just the way he does are only pacifing themselves.

      Yeah.. he wants the extra third row.. for? Now for groceries. And ANYONE.. with half of a brain knows there is very little room.. for any people in a 3rd row seat. And I havent even mentioned the safety problems.. of being hit and or smacked in the tail gate.

      Thats alright.. the little boy only wants a wagon. Just like the rest of the slop in here who thinks this look good. All's I gotta say is.. ya can wash a pig. But its still a pig.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is the 07 greatly improved over previous years? Satisfaction/quality is usually reflected in the resale value & earlier years are taking a terrible hit.
      • 8 Years Ago
      rrr, i fail to get the correlation between the grille. gkz, just maybe gm has achieved something most of us knew was possible. a great car. i test drove an 06 of which i thought was an exceptionally good car, but settled for an sts-v. no regrets on my part, but because my better half wanted the srx, the dinners at home have not been that good lately.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I recently had the opportunity to drive the 2007 SRX V6 against the Lexus RX 350 at a Car and Driver "Editor for a Day" event in San Diego. Frankly, I picked the Caddy. It drove very nicely, rode better than the Lexus, had a smoother tranny, and a much nicer interior. The only place where I liked the Lexus better was it had a little more pickup. That being said, the Caddy's power was more than adequate. Fit and finish was great, and the new interior was a huge improvement over the '06. GKZ, I don't think Alex was just kissing ass or anything like that. The SRX is that good. I'm not saying it's going to handle like a Cayenne or X5, nor am I saying it's going to offroad like the LR3. It is a very good all around package, and that's what AB is reporting. And for the record, I don't work for GM or Caddy...I do environmental consulting work for cities and counties in Southern California and I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee. If I can swing the $$$ when my lease is up, bet your ass I'll look at the SRX.
      • 8 Years Ago

      Are you another suck up who believes that there is no wrong in the world? And Toyota is right up there? Just check there recent recall lists. Of course, there are bound to be problems with each vehicle, but there are also going to be vehicles where a reviewer doesn't encounter a problem.
      • 8 Years Ago
      SRX is over rated and the rear is ugly to me. Fronts ok.
      They sold 22,000 last year yes, but sales were down 9%. Luxury SUV/CUV sales were up.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A couple comments:
      --wagon proportions, an unliked interior, and an initially high priced killed sales
      ---the magnetic ride control suspension vastly improves the handling of the SRX

      A couple corrections:
      --the sewn material on the instrument panel and doors is leatherette (vinyl), not leather
      --the "woodgrain" trim is real wood; "woodgrain" is generally used to denote the fake stuff

      For those seeking price comparisons:

      • 8 Years Ago
      I hate to be a prick.. but its a source of pride for me. And I have to say.. ADVERTISING doesnt say a g-d thing about that soft load of monkey crap.

      SO AUTOBLOG ya mean to say that they used to say it was an SUV.. even tho most SUVS are body on frame?

      Or do you understand that this SRX is really a CTS WAGON? With a unibody frame.. thats been totally jacked up. For those.. who really think their skills are up to piloting this load of crap.. to the mall?

      And are you saying.. that you need to be told through ADVERTISING what this damn vehicle is?? Ya cant just figure out how its built, where its built?

      Do ya need to be told that a GMC DENALI / CHEV TAHOE / Caddy ESCALADE and all of their short and long forms.. are the same?!

      Ya gonna start telling me that Subbie makes compact SUVS now?? Even tho.. for the past 20+yrs theyve made WAGONS!!! As much as I do love.. AUTOBLOG.. a little think for yourself.. would be really nice.

      And remember.. this SRX (german speak for.. we want to be like the germans in their design and nomenclature) is just another crossover thats fights the fight with the MDX / RX.

      ((Holds back my deep hatred for anything resembling a SUV / CUV))

      • 8 Years Ago
      Unless you've driven this car, you should keep your mouth shut. I've driven it, and it is quite possibly the most complete automobile I've ever driven. It does what it is intended to do very, very well, and that is why there are no criticisms in this article. Go drive it, and then open your yap.
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