• Jul 8th 2009 at 11:55AM
  • 90
2010 Cadillac SRX – Click above for high-res image gallery

The first generation Cadillac SRX brought General Motors' premium brand into the crossover segment, providing better fuel economy compared to similarly sized SUVs while also delivering significantly improved driving dynamics. We bought into that first-generation, rear-wheel-drive SRX when we reviewed it way back in 2007, but the luxury car-buying public apparently wasn't all that interested. Sales of the sharp handling SRX never took off, largely keeping Cadillac off of the luxury crossover gravy train long dominated by the Lexus RX 350.

Cadillac hopes to change its crossover fortunes with the introduction of the all-new 2010 SRX. This time out, the SRX is very different from the one it replaces, with a fundamental shift from a rear-wheel drive platform (with available all-wheel drive) to a front-drive setup (also with available AWD). Along with that shift in powered wheels, the 2010 model goes with smaller, more efficient powertrains. Cadillac doesn't try to hide the fact that the new SRX is gunning for the RX, but GM's designers and engineers didn't want to simply copy the strong-selling Lexus. Cadillac wanted its crossover to be more expressive inside and out, with state-of-the-art tech and superior driving dynamics. Does the new SRX have what it takes?

Follow the jump to find out.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

Cadillac has already won a big battle with the Lexus in undercutting its entry price by some $3,500. The SRX starts at $34,115 while the base RX comes in at a more sobering $37,675 with delivery. Optioned out, though, the two vehicles come closer in price. Our Radiant Silver 2010 SRX tester came equipped with Cadillac's mid-level Performance Collection, which carries an MSRP of $45,820 including destination charges.

Among the option boxes ticked for our tester were all-wheel drive, 20-inch alloys, a navigation system and a moonroof. Our tester also came equipped with the standard 265 horsepower, direct-injected 3.0-liter V6 engine mated to a six speed automatic transmission. An uplevel, turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 capable of 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque will be available this Fall.

One common complaint about the outgoing SRX is that its styling was both startling and stale. The wreath-and-crest brand applied its "Art and Science" design aesthetic to the crossover body style, which resulted in acres of flat sheetmetal and creases sharp enough to cut cheese. While we didn't mind that car's styling, some accused it of looking more like a tall wagon than a conventional crossover, and prevailing thought has it that lower-to-the-ground aesthetic harmed sales. Thus, Cadillac designers have changed all that in a big way, giving the model more traditional upright proportions with dimensions very similar to that of the benchmark Lexus.

With less interior volume than its predecessor, the SRX has lost its third row of seats, but since those were only suitable for small children, we're guessing the empty nesters and young professionals that Cadillac is targeting won't miss them.

To bring the design of the SRX closer to the rest of the Cadillac family, designers have incorporated the next generation of the aformentioned Art & Science design cues. An in-your-face grille punctuated by a big badge resting between two huge, uniquely-shaped HID headlights give the front end a look that is unmistakably Cadillac. An elegant, sweeping roofline and a wide stance with a muscular looking beltline lend the SRX a suitably sporting appearance. Team Cadillac punctuated the SRX with long, vertical taillights that have long been a trademark design element for the brand.

Cadillac is hoping that luxury crossover buyers looking for brash, no-excuses exterior styling will find the SRX well suited to their wants, and it passes the Autoblog eye exam. But to seal the deal, the SRX needs to flat-out nail the interior test. Once inside the SRX, all eyes are drawn to the cabin's impressive center stack. With a jewel-like analog clock, high-end materials and the massive (and we mean truly huge) retractable nav screen in our tester, it's hard not to stare.

The seats are supportive and generous in size, the dual stitched dash is soft and pliable to the touch, and the thick, leather-stitched steering wheel is a joy to hold. We also found that the wheel's control buttons were easy to use, which is important considering all the tech and features at the driver's finger tips. Cadillac has also taken great pains to keep noise out of the cabin, and we were able to hold a conversation with passengers in the rear seats without raising our voices. And if you must have a moonroof, the SRX has got a good one. The large expanse of overhead glass was a topic of conversation for all who entered the SRX, as its absolutely huge dimensions gives occupants an unencumbered view of the world above them.

When we first began driving the new SRX, we weren't sure if we liked the fact that the navigation screen was of the pop-up variety (like that of the CTS), but after some time with the system, we were sold. When not in use, the nav screen stays tucked away, and when it was time to find something, the system came alive with the touch of a button. And using the system is a piece of cake, although some among us still prefer the ease of use of On-Star's turn-by-turn directions. Why punch in coordinates while the car is in Park when you can have someone else do it for you while you're already on the road? Luckily for Cadillac owners, with the SRX, you can do both. We also liked the fact that the stowed nav system would pop up whenever we shifted into Reverse so that we could make use of the backup camera, and when we put the shifter in Drive, it tucked itself back inside the dash.

Our favorite feature inside the new SRX was easily the customizable display built into the instrument panel. Not only does it look great as the centerpiece gauge, it's also packed with info. The nifty little readout shows everything from instant miles-per-gallon to trip mileage, just like most other systems on the market – but Cadillac's system can assist with turn-by-turn navigation directions and tell you how many of your kids in the back seat have their seatbelts on.

Our lone complaint about the SRX's interior is that we've sat in more comfortable seats with better bolstering in other vehicles that occupy the same price range, and this CUV's leather seating surfaces were merely adequate in quality. The competition from Audi, BMW and Lexus are a bit ahead of Cadillac in this regard. We would have also liked cooled seats, but that option is available for buyers willing to opt up for the Luxury package.

To give the new SRX improved fuel economy while also providing class competitive power, GM opted for a new direct-inject 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 265 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque on regular fuel. Cadillac engineers tell us that direct injection has improved fuel economy by 3 percent while also boosting power by up to 8 percent. The front-wheel-drive SRX carries an EPA estimate of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, while the all-wheel-drive model is rated at 17/23. We averaged 20.1 mpg in combined driving during our time with the all-wheel drive SRX.

Three liters is a smaller displacement than most engines in the same class as the SRX, yet the GM motor still looks good on paper. Our fully equipped AWD tester, however, weighs in around 4,400 lbs, which is an awful lot of mass to motivate. Delicate gearing finessed for the best possible fuel economy combined with a slow initial throttle response makes the SRX feel more sluggish off the line than its spec sheet would suggest, so buyers interested in higher performance may want to wait for the more powerful engine that will be available in the Fall. The six-speed automatic transmission is very smooth, and in manual mode, it will hold gears all the way to redline. This at least allows you to wring as much power out of the motor as your fingers please.

The SRX uses a unique platform that combines bits and pieces from the Theta platform that also underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and the Epsilon II platform that sits beneath the 2010 Buick LaCrosse. Company officials insists that it mainly uses components found on no other GM vehicle. The FE3 suspension package on our Performance Collection tester was more than willing to tussle with twists and turns, and when diving into a corner, the SRX exhibited very little body roll, even when pushed hard. To give drivers better communication with the road, Cadillac engineers have ditched the electronic steering and instead opted for a hydraulic unit that could be better tuned to suit the new crossover's needs. The result is steering that's nicely weighted and well balanced for both leisurely driving and the occasional switchback.

On dry pavement, the new torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system will help hold the road under forces that would otherwise bring tire squeals and massive understeer to a FWD-only vehicle. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, the system provides drivers with a capable safety net. About three hours after we picked up the SRX for a long weekend, the skies opened up and it rained hard for several hours. The AWD system in the new SRX cut through the wet pavement without a hint of wheel slip, which is not surprising considering the system is capable of shifting 100 percent of available torque to the front or rear wheels at any time. That's pretty common with most AWD systems, but the SRX's Haldex-sourced unit can also shift up to 85 percent of its thrust from side to side. The fruit of the system's labor is peace of mind for the driver, even though it is so seamless that you'll likely never know when it's working.

Cadillac needed to make a real statement with the new SRX in order to steal attention from the perennial best-selling Lexus RX, and the division's designers and engineers have responded with a beautiful cabin and styling that commands attention. The SRX sold us with a driving experience that makes you forget you're behind the wheel of a crossover, and it also delivers excellent utility and top-notch creature comforts that customers in this segment demand. After a few days behind the wheel of the SRX, we're convinced that Cadillac may finally have the goods to go toe-to-toe against Lexus' all-powerful RX. While a more powerful engine and aggressive throttle tuning is required to reach the front of the pack, the 2010 Cadillac SRX still comes highly recommended.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc.

2010 Cadillac SRX
Performance Brakes/Tires/Wheels
Engine 3.0-liter V6 Front Brakes 13.6-inch, two-piston caliper (ABS)
Configuration/Valvetrain DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder Rear Brakes 12.4-inches, single-piston caliper
Max Horsepower @ RPM 265 hp @ 6,950 RPM Wheels (front) 20-inches
Max Torque @ RPM 223 lb-ft @ 5,100 RPM Wheels (rear) 20-inches
Drive Type All-wheel drive Tires (front) 235/55 R20
Transmission Six-speed Automatic Tires (rear) 235/55 R20
Fuel Injection Direct Injection
Compression Ratio 11.7:1 Exterior Dimensions
Recommended Fuel 87 octane Length 190.3 inches
Fuel Capacity 21 gallons Width 75.2 inches
EPA Fuel Economy (city/hwy) 17 / 23 mpg Height 65.7 inches
0-60 mph time (MFR est.) Not Available Wheelbase 110.5 inches
Top Speed Not Available Curb Weight 4,307 pounds
Suspension/Steering Interior Dimensions
Front Independent, strut-type, anti-roll bar Maximum Seating 5
Rear Linked H-arm, anti-roll bar Luggage Capacity 29.2 cu-ft
Steering Hydraulic-power-assist rack-and-pinion Head Room (Front/Rear) 39.7 / 38.4 inches
Turns Lock-to-Lock 2.84 Shoulder Room (Front/Rear) 58.3 / 56.2 inches
Turning Circle (feet) 40.3 Leg Room (Front/Rear) 41.2 / 36.3 inches

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks are in the eyes of the beholder and my eyeballs are a beholdin' to this. Cadillac is doing some mighty nice things.
      • 6 Years Ago
      According to C/D, the SRX shares only engines and minor chassis points with the Equinox. Nothing else, really.

      But you're right, GM should TOTALLY use tax dollars to pay to develop a completely unique platform for the vehicle they have competing in this segment, even though all of its major competitors share platforms with lesser vehicles.


      I do think this really should have been a Buick. If Buick is supposed to compete with Lexus, Cadillac should offer a Sigma-based X5 competitor, not a TE-based RX competitor.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hideous from the back, overwrought styling everywhere else, underpowered and completely lacking in innovation. The styling combined with GM's bankrupt status has already doomed this vehicle. It will however be the nicest SUV in the trailer park.
      • 6 Years Ago

      So what if it rides on the same platform...GM (unlike Ford) has done it right and actually made the higher end version worth the money paid for it.

      The Ford Edge and the Lincoln Edge look extremely similar...only the Lincoln has buttons that are painted silver...Ford's idea of "luxury"
      • 6 Years Ago
      Reading some of the comments here make me wonder if many of you even own the previous SRX or any of the vehicles in the class. I do own an SRX (2005) and I have been overall happy with the vehicle because of many of the things that made it stand out in a crowded class.

      The outgoing model didn't sell all that well but it frequently either bested or nearly bested everything in comparion tests for years. The main reason why is that Caddy based it on the same Sigma platform that the old CTS and STS were based on. So if there was badge-engineering with that model, it was kept in the Caddy family per se. Like the last one, this model seems to be unique save some suspension parts here and there. This is the Caddy formula. They have enough budget to make unique platform vehicles from the rest of GM in many cases, but aren't afraid to use a part from somewhere else as long as you never see it.

      I liked the old styling. It was long and narrow. Yes, it was a tall wagon and that made it a little more butch than many of the CUVs that dominate this segment. Lexus makes no bones about their target audience...female real estate agents. :) I for one liked the face that the car was handsome and not cute.

      One of the things I fear I will miss in the old car is the third row seat. Well, not for the seat itself. I've probably only used it three times since purchasing the vehicle. It's the space you get when it's folded down (or deleted as an option). It truly cavernous and unmatched for the class. Costco trips are easy in this car and its a nice compromise between the too small RX class and too big Tahoe style vehicles. The new SRX gives up that advantage for more compact dimensions.

      True, the old car has a big honkin' Northstar V8 as an option. But this is one place where Cadillac is ahead of the curve. They are introducing smaller engined vehicles at a time when CAFE standards are being raised and who knows if we see $4 a gallon gas again soon. For years, Volvo and Saab did quite well with smaller, turbocharged engines for family movers. Most Mercedes, BMW, Saab and VW buyers in Europe don't buy engines the size we historically have done. All of those guys can instantly put those engines in US cars at the drop of a hat if needed and Caddy is showing they can not only play that game, but they can take the lead. I like big V8s, but if this mix of engines/drivetrains can make this car sell better and help GM in general, so be it.

      The new interior looks like a winner but I'll have to sit in it first. One of the reasons I bought one in the first place was the leg room and head room (I'm nearly seven feet tall). I hope the new one is more like a CTS (which has leg room for days) versus an RX. The original SRX interior was a big fail of the old car (as was the CTS which is was copied from) and was thankfully updated in the '07 model year. This car also uses the CTS interior as inspiration but that's not a bad thing and its not a direct part-for-part copy like the last time.

      Going after the Lexus RX bogey isn't so bad as long as Cadillac can still stand out in a crowd. It looks like they may have succeeded. The proof will be in the sales, which will depend a lot on the economy and the ability of GM/GMAC to get their leasing program back on track.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, I miss the RWD, V-8-optional, sportier original, but this is a very solid effort next to more slushmobiles like the RX.

      Now Cadillac, let's get a new mid-size ute in there to compete with the V-8 competition.
      • 6 Years Ago

      The tourag and the Cayanne do not look the same. Now mention the Tourag and the Audi SUV and you may have an argument. (Just maybe).

      But im seriously not here to argue with you guys. I definitely won't insult any of you. Just offering my opinion and you know what they say .. opinions are like ______, everyone got one.

      • 6 Years Ago
      sunz, you begin by arguing that even if it is better, it will be perceived as no better. Then you close by saying (with no info to back it) that it actually isn't better.

      Do you have an actual argument here?

      Also, I don't think the Traverse looks like any GMC. It's the Equinox and Acadia that look so similar I think.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks great, but I still can't wrap my head around the idea of a crossover in the first place. Then again, I guess the average consumer doesn't care about CG height as much as I do :)
      • 6 Years Ago

      You sorta suck at logic on this one.

      The SRX and the Equinox/Terrain look nothing alike, other than they're two-box tall wagons. They share different wheelbases, overall lengths, tracks, interiors, etc.

      Seriously, if you're not trolling, take a look:

      Chevrolet Equinox:

      GMC Terrain:

      Cadillac SRX:

      How you can say these look any more alike than the Honda Pilot/Acura MDX do, or the Toyota Highlander/Lexus RX350 do, or the Volvo XC60/Mazda CX-7 do is beyond me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You guys are debating over the underpinning platform, which is not the most important thing that most buyers look for. There are 3 rules, and that is; Design, Performance, and Comfort. GM has sucked at one or the other for the last couple of decades, and that's why they are in a hole right now. From the review and pictures, I can say that I'm pretty sold on this CUV. It seems to have most of the 3 ingredients for success mentioned above, other then the seats. Since I was thinking about buying an RX350 in the near future, I might just give the SRX a test drive before hand. I've never bought American, but this one might just be a first for me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      wow, that interior looks like a chevy with huge screen. 46k uh.
      15% less torque than RX350, and worse mileage with AWD...
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's the base 3.0 engine, the 2.8T makes 10% more HP and 15% torque than the RX350.
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