2006 SRX New Car Test Drive
Cadillac may not have created the recipe that makes the SRX, but it has come close to perfecting it. This is one utility vehicle that does it all. It has the driving dynamics of a good luxury sedan, the all-weather capability of some truck-based SUVs and the space and functionality of a minivan.
The Cadillac SRX is a good choice among luxury SUVs, if you can call it an SUV. It drives like a European sedan and its edgy styling stands out in a sea of boxy sport-utilities and minivans. Yet the SRX is quite practical. It can carry up to seven passengers, and its flat, carpeted cargo area works great for hauling cargo. Its sharp handling, quick acceleration and high-performance braking make for a sporty, enjoyable experience. Yet it offers a smooth, extremely quiet ride.
The SRX comes trimmed with leather upholstery and is loaded with luxury features. The interior is stylish and comfortable, if not warm and inviting. It's available with a V6 or V8 engine. Both engines feature the latest technology, including electronic throttle control and four overhead cams with fully variable valve timing. The V8s are smooth and confident and deliver brilliant acceleration for a vehicle of this size. All-wheel drive is available and we've found that the SRX performs superbly in the snow.
Improvements for 2006 are subtle, but noticeable and welcome. New wood trim on the center stack adds a bit of warmth to the cabin, while new wheel designs give SRX a more aggressive stance. The standard suspension has been lowered slightly for 2006, allowing what Cadillac claims to be the lowest step-in height in the class. A power rear liftgate is now standard on both models, allowing the owner to open and close it without touching an exterior surface or getting hands dirty; it's really handy when walking up to or away from the car with an armload of groceries.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Cadillac should be flattered. The SRX's success has prompted similar vehicles from other luxury car builders, including the Mercedes R-Class. More are on the way. But for now, at least, Cadillac is off with an impressive head start.
The Cadillac SRX comes in two models differentiated by their engines, a 260-hp V6 or a 320-hp V8. Both are paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The standard interior has two rows of seats for five. An optional two-place power folding rear seat can increase seating capacity to seven.
The SRX V6 ($39,995) comes with leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and a long list of luxury features, including an eight-way power driver's seat, a power-adjustable second-row seat, one-touch power windows, heated mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a single CD player and the popular OnStar tele-aid system with a basic subscription for one year. This SRX comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The SRX V8 ($47,995) adds more than a bigger engine. Its standard feature list includes heated front seats with memory for the driver's seat and power adjustments for the front passenger's seat, wood interior trim and a premium Bose stereo with an in-dash six-CD changer. The V8 also adds 18-inch wheels and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The SRX comes standard with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive ($1,900) is optional on both models.
Option groups allow the SRX V6 to be equipped like the V8, without the bigger engine. The Driver's Level One package ($1,795) adds the 18-inch wheels with V-rated tires, Xenon headlights and a headlight washer system. The Luxury Level One package ($700) includes a reconfigurable rear cargo area with removable storage bin, a universal home remote, wood trim and the tire pressure monitor. The wood trim ($495) can be ordered separately, as can the premium Bose stereo and CD changer ($1,000).
Options include the expansive UltraView Plus Power Glass Sunroof ($2,255); a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,200) with an LCD screen, wireless headphones and remote control; Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control ($1,650) variable-dampening suspension: and power-adjustable pedals ($150).
Safety features include most of the active and passive safety features available today. The SRX comes standard with dual-stage front airbags, front side-impact airbags and curtain-style head protection airbags for the first two rows of seats. To help avoid collisions before they occur, the SRX has anti-lock brakes with the latest electronic brake-force distribution and panic Brake Assist technology, traction control and electronic stability control. Rear park assist is optional.
The SRX performed well in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test: four stars for frontal impacts and the full five stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the SRX 'Good' grades for 40-mph offset frontal crashes.
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