2004 SRX New Car Test Drive
The 2004 Cadillac SRX is as useful as your mother's station wagon or sport-utility vehicle, but it sure doesn't look or drive like your mother's car. The SRX sports futuristic styling that stands out in a sea of boxy sport-utilities and minivans that fill school parking lots. And it drives more like a European sports sedan than it does a minivan or sport utility.
Still, the SRX, which goes head-to-head the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class, is strictly for affluent families. It starts at about $39,000, but it can be loaded up with a host of available features so that it closes in on the $60,000 mark.
We like the stable yet responsive handling and smooth, extremely quiet ride. The V8 versions offer smooth, confident power, while the all-wheel-drive models are among the best-handling vehicles in the class on snow and ice. The edgy, angular styling is distinctive and the interior is stylish, comfortable and practical, though not warm and inviting.
The Cadillac SRX comes with two rows of seats to carry five people or with an optional power third-row seat to accommodate up to seven passengers. Two engines are available, a V6 and a V8. Both are paired with a five-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually without a clutch. The SRX has standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. It comes in one body style.
The base SRX ($37,995 MSRP plus $695 destination fee) comes with rear-wheel drive, a V6 engine, and a long list of luxury features, including a power-adjustable second-row seat; leather upholstery; eight-way driver seat; one-touch power windows; heated mirrors; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; driver and passenger climate controls; AM/FM cassette in-dash single CD player; and OnStar telecommunications.
The V8 ($46,300) adds 18-inch wheels; reconfigurable storage units; universal garage door opener; six-disc CD changer; power passenger seat; heated seats; and power-adjustable pedals.
Options abound: all-wheel drive (part of a package); Ultra View sunroof ($2,400); rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,200); XM Satellite Radio ($325 plus $9.95 monthly subscription fee); uplevel Bose audio system ($1,100); power folding third-row seat ($1,000); trailer package ($250); and engine block heater ($100). Popular options, including the third-row folding seat, DVD entertainment system, DVD navigation system along with the less known Magnetic Ride Control, which is a like an active suspension, are available in packages, ranging from $3,095 to $5,245.
Cadillac marketers predict buyers of the V6 model will add the $3,095 luxury package, all-wheel drive and third-row seat for an average price of $44,685, which makes it competitive with the Mercedes-Benz ML350 at $45,760, the Volvo XC90 at $42,005 and the BMW X5 3.0i at $46,070. Cadillac expects V8 buyers to load the SRX up with one of the two luxury packages priced between $4,500 and $5,245 as well as all-wheel drive, putting the average price around $48,895. That positions it between a similarly equipped Lexus GX 470 at $46,715 and the Mercedes ML500 at $49,235 and below the BMW X5 4.4 at $53,445. Cadillac predicts few buyers to load the vehicle with every option, which would put the price at $59,000.
Standard safety features cover the gamut and consist of: dual-stage front airbags; front side seat-mounted airbags; roof-mounted side curtain airbags that cover the first and second rows of seats; daytime running lights; anti-lock brakes; traction control; Panic Brake Assist to help during emergency braking and Dynamic Rear Brake Proportioning to regulate brake pressure for improved stopping; stability control; rear parking assist; seatbelt pretensioners; the LATCH universal child safety seat system in the outboard second row positions; child security door and window locks; engine immobilizer anti-theft system; battery rundown protection; and one-year of OnStar communications system.