Intrepidation

2010 Cadillac SRX First Drive

43 posts in this topic

2010_Cadillac_SRX.jpg

GM doesn't really want us calling this a first drive, but this morning we drove the almost-production-ready 2010 Cadillac SRX and it felt good. Like luxury crossover segment-defying good.

It's Monday, the second week in April, and in Michigan it can only mean one thing, six inches of snow to start the work week. We slogged our way through this morning's sloppy mess destined for the sleepy town of Milford, a pair of shiny new 2010 Cadillac SRX's awaiting. GM gave us first dibs behind the wheel of their new crossover as long as we assured everyone these were early mules and not finished cars, which we just did, but considering how polished these cars are, there's really no reason to do so.

This second-generation SRX replaces the more wagon-like SRX which debuted in 2004 and does so in a much more SUV-looking shape and on a platform GM calls "Theta Premium. It's the same platform that Saab will use to build the 2010 9-4X. Some critics will bemoan the loss the tall wagon, but we'll be the first to state nothing has been lost in translation. The new SRX is good, really good. Lexus RX350-beating good. For a segment which has traditionally isolated the driver in a cocoon of leather and glass and over-damping, the SRX actually makes driving part of the equation.

We drove two different iterations, both were equipped with the baseline 3.0-liter V6 with 265 HP, 235 lb-ft of torque (a 300 HP turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 will come as the product goes to market), mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and both equipped with the latest generation of the Haldex all-wheel-drive system, found elsewhere in the GM universe in the Saab 9-3 Turbo X. The difference between the two came in the form of the pop-up navigation system, bigger wheels, and real-time active damping system on the silver car, which we'll get into later.

Numbers are great, but what about when the SRX is actually matched up to the competition? Believe us when we say the SRX is a Lexus-beating vehicle. On virtually every front, the SRX matches the RX 350. Blow-for-blow, we were impressed on comfort, amenities, material quality, space and luxury, but what the Cadillac has and the Lexus doesn't is the attention of the driver. This crossover actually handles. We'll even go so far as to say it's a Caddy that zigs and even zags.

On the highway the vehicle is quiet, with the acoustic glass keeping road and wind noise to a minimum. While the transmission shifts are a bit lax (we're told by GM engineers it's still in calibration) but as a commuter, it's totally fine. Nudge the gear lever into sport mode though and the shift points change, the rev limit bumps up and the car awakens. Throw it into a corner and it grips, the body roll is kept to a minimum, no buck and sway over uneven pavement. You can actually feel what the tires are doing. You hear the engine when you're supposed to, you can brake hard and know where it will stop.

The base model vehicle is as composed as any normal crossover when facing the inclement weather and Michigan's Baghdad-grade roads, but the active suspension really shines through. Put the SRX into split quality surfaces and the ride barely changes. Dump it into potholes and run it through deep slush and it soaks up those imperfections while feeling as solid as a German luxury wagon. You can drive though the nastiest heaves one minute and barely jostle your passengers. Then toss it into a hard corner the next minute, and it doesn't pitch and yaw. It's bewilderingly solid.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am not a fan of crossovers, but the SRX surprised the hell out of me. If this is what the early testers are like, we almost can't wait to see what it can do on dry pavement, and that's a shocking statement to make about a car in a segment we typically dismiss.

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalo...RX_Drive-03.jpg

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Not that I have ever thought that much of Lexus anythings...this is a great review and good news for GM at a time when they need it. I cannot wait to drive one and if it is this good, buy one for the wife in that exact silver as shown to match my Escalade! :smilies-38096:

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I'm still not a fan of its looks, but in this segment, 'buttugly' seems to be the new, hot trend.

Of course, the previous SRX drove awesomely too, and was a great product to boot, but no one bought it because it didn't have a big, fat 'L' or 'A' on its grille.

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Love my 2004 SRX and very excited for this baby as one of the kids will probably get the old one and I get a new one for the wife. :P

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I want to see how it stacks up against Audi, Mercedes, and BMW...the RX sets the bar pretty low.

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ANYTIME a Caddy can be called better than a Lexus is a great thing IMO. Means a step in the right direction.

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I want to see how it stacks up against Audi, Mercedes, and BMW...the RX sets the bar pretty low.

To be fair, it was their (Lexus's) bar to set. Everyone else followed them.

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This is true, but...

I prefer hearing it being better than a Mercedes, or an Audi, or in the CTS-V's EVERYTHING.

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Isn't the X3 and above RWD? Wouldn't it be an apple to oranges comparison?

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Isn't the X3 and above RWD? Wouldn't it be an apple to oranges comparison?

Only GLK and X3 are RWD. Rest - SexyRX, prescription-RX, RDX, XC60 and Q5 are all FWD biased vehicles.

Holy smokes look at the number of cars with X in their names in this group.

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Isn't the X3 and above RWD? Wouldn't it be an apple to oranges comparison?

In a sense, but they are luxury CUVs so not really. People compared Audis and BMWs even though most Audis are on FWD platforms.

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ANYTIME a Caddy can be called better than a Lexus is a great thing IMO. Means a step in the right direction.

I agree! Great review, and if Cadillac can get called Lexus enough, people might actually buy there products. Exactly why I believe Buick as a brand is worth-less. I thought Buick was suppose to go after Lexus? I am very excited to start seeing them on the road.

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This is a great review. I had doubts about the SRX but this seems very promising. I sure hope this more feminine version does better than the last one!

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I'm really torn on this. I think it's awesome that it's being compared favorably to it's intended competition (i.e. the lexus thing) and hopefully it will fare well against it. Certainly looks WAY nicer.

On the other hand, I agree with dodgefan. Cadillac is supposed to be competing with Mercedes, BMW and the like. In which case, the SRX should have been updated to be less wagon looking and kept its RWD and size.

Doesn't really matter what I think though, I'd never buy one as SUV/CUV/whatever isn't my thing.

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DF, there should be comparos soon. I'm willing to bet that the C&D won't put the SRX against the likes of, say, the Outlander.

When's this come out again?

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In a sense, but they are luxury CUVs so not really. People compared Audis and BMWs even though most Audis are on FWD platforms.

I don't know much about Audi platforms, but I know that the Q5 is built on the Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLP). It is AWD-only, has a longitudinally mounted engine, and a 40:60 rear wheel bias.

Audi offers FWD on the TT, A3, A4, and A6. Despite this, they may not be FWD platforms. BMW could offer FWD versions of its cars too, but they obviously wouldn't. If Audi thinks that offering FWD versions hurts its image, they may stop doing that. Most Audis are AWD anyway. I know they are trying to move the company towards where BMW is, and the new MLP platform and rear-bias is a part of that. The proportions of the vehicles is also looking much nicer, as seen on the new A4.

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I just wish the SRX wasn't so chintzy looking.

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Still looks like an Equinox with Bling Pkg. The Terrain was differentiated from the Equinox, why isn't the SRX?

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I'm still not a fan of its looks, but in this segment, 'buttugly' seems to be the new, hot trend.

About where I am on this.

It is better than the Terrain, for what that's worth.

And the review is certainly glowing.

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Still looks like an Equinox with Bling Pkg. The Terrain was differentiated from the Equinox, why isn't the SRX?

The interior is still different, as well as the suspension and most of the exterior.

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It looks like vehicle A, B, E, F, N, N again, Q, X, Z.

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Good review for a BETTER product than the outgoing SRX. Not to mention, the new CTS wagon SLAYS the outgoing SRX anyway.

Cadillac is doing exactly the right thing IN THIS SEGMENT.

Doesn't look like an Equinox to me....

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Good review for a BETTER product than the outgoing SRX. Not to mention, the new CTS wagon SLAYS the outgoing SRX anyway.

Cadillac is doing exactly the right thing IN THIS SEGMENT.

Doesn't look like an Equinox to me....

I completely agree with all the above.

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i get a sensation from the overall profile and side body creases, along with general greenhouse shape of too many famililial visual ties to equinox and vue. just one of many reasons i like terrain is it completely stands apart and follows a brand specific template. why isn't a cadillac template being set. aside from front and rear to give this more visual uniqueness and substance over eqinox and ilk. why isn't the stance, profile, bodylines more directly connected to a manly muscular future escalade direction [god help us if this srx will relate to future escalade].

that said, it's becoming increasingly evident theta is going to be successful at a lot of things even though there will be quibbles with all of them. for me, i'd rather see srx dynmically compared to performance leaders in the segment...........nonetheless, srx is shaping up to be a fine product, if not the complete glory from Caddy we'd all like to see, but at least some kind of positive buzz generator. heck, the sportwagon is the one I can't wait to see get it's due praise, one of the best looking vehicles overall at the auto show.

Edited by turbo200
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