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AutoBlog: Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX charts a new course for the thick part of the market

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Filed under: In the Autoblog Garage, Crossovers/CUVs, Cadillac

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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.

Continue reading Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX charts a new course for the thick part of the market

Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX charts a new course for the thick part of the market originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I am very impressed by this thing so far. I hope it sells well, I think it will because it has all the tools to go after the RX.

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Nice pictures. The front overhang is too long, but I guess that's to be expected.

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SRX story in the new entry level luxury crossover segment is fascinating.......it's a good car, good style, solid advanced and intriguing powertrain options; it's a story complicated by the fact that the new entries from volvo, audi and soon to be bmw are so good. SRX doesn't set any new standards, not a good thing, and just look to the autoblog page to know what some people think of the design [admittedly a small and perhaps badly motivated crowed]. but it's one of the best new designs out of GM, and continues a very solid and strong streak of high quality designs.

one thing that troubles me with regard to GM is design. because the other car companies are so talented with it now, and getting better by the minute. a lot of design success of the luxury carmakers is in proportionality and balanced design. camaro is such a strong design, but it would have been even better if it followed the original camaro's proportions much more closely, as it is it is too tall and heavy, too chopped, with a small greenhouse in relation to the amount of metal. having great form, great proportions, and seriously interesting and unique fascias while not going overboard with any excess flair is the name of the game. CTS is lacking in the proportions, being too tall and narrow and combining a blunt and upright front end along with a lot of jewelery at the front and too small wheels on the basic model. while none of this overall make CTS unattractive, it does detract from form and the overall longevity of the design. Cadillac and GM designers need to spend a lot of time looking at proportions and how they affect design, as well as learning to keep it simple like on camaro, malibu, equinox, and g8. in proportions, equinox and malibu give me hope, lacrosse not so much.

does SRX convey class leading qualities? the base engine is not such a big problem, but gas mileage on both engines is. exterior style is a stand out, but then so are many others in this class, and they're all very well proportioned [the audi may be the tamest of the bunch in style], I will wait to see srx in person before I know the true measure of its success. good sales are also determined through good ride and handling, available features, good pricing, though these are often secondary to high quality and expressive design, good thing srx has all these well sorted out.

does it pass the luxury test? this is an important factor, and ultimately hard to catch. it's about exceeding already high standards with beautiful and unique design, that is clearly enduring. both the regular CTS and this SRX are exceedingly too blingy, and CTS too tall and blocky. both have some ingenuity but perhaps not enough. ultimately that is thier downfall for me. SRX is still fresh, but I wonder how long its design appeal will last.

Edited by turbo200
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1. The autoblog crew is not even close to the target market.

2. Most of your opinions on the styling are just that... opinions. I don't see anything remarkable in the Audi, Volvo, or BMW. They're all exactly what we'd expect from those companies and get a solid "meh" from me in looks.

3. I LOVE the looks of the CTS. But I love the look of the old CTS also. I like the upright and blocky look. Not everything needs to look just like a 3-series... and I'm glad for that. Considering the sales numbers of both generations of CTS, a good amount of people agree with me.

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1. The autoblog crew is not even close to the target market.

they're educated, some even own luxury cars. they are divisive and highly opinionated, and probably lean towards accepting the well earned perception that audi, bmw, and mb are above cadillac in image and posterity...........so some are definitely in the target market.

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they're educated, some even own luxury cars. they are divisive and highly opinionated, and probably lean towards accepting the well earned perception that audi, bmw, and mb are above cadillac in image and posterity...........so some are definitely in the target market.

For this SRX, Audi, BMW, and MB aren't the target market. That was what the last SRX aimed for and missed.

No, this SRX is aimed squarely at the RX330, Acura MDX and RDX, and maybe a little at the MKX just for old time rivalry's sake. And for these, Cadillac is at least equal. I could see a teensy tiny bit of X3 market crossing over <ha ha> for this.

As for image, I still maintain that brand snobbery becomes self fulfilling prophacy. This idea that Cadillac could never equal or exceed BMW in any way leads to people fishing for reason that BMW is better. "Well the Cadillac isn't as good because it doesn't have that 'German' feel", "Well the Cadillac isn't as good because it has too much bling and not enough of that european restraint". Well guess what, it's neither German nor European. It's an American car with great performance and great, bold, American looks. I spend a lot of time in Europe each year and I can certainly appreciate (most) European automotive styling. What I don't get is this expectation that American cars should be styled like European cars or they're no damn good.

What it boils down to is "Cadillac is not as good because the trunk badge doesn't say BMW"

And that's why brand snob M5 owners get dusted by CTS-V owners rushing to the bank to deposit the 20 grand they saved by not buying a BMW.

Nearly every review of this new SRX has been positive. People who have seen it in person say the pics don't do it justice. People who have driven it have marveled at it's ride and handling. The CTS has been nearly all praise as well.

Could you step back and let Cadillac have a sucess every once in a while without Tim Gunning it to death?

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This one isn't as good as the old SRX. But since it is $10,000 cheaper it will probably sell better, and it doesn't suffer from that long narrow shape of the old one. Perhaps they can make the next CTS front drive and cut the price $5,000 to increase sales.

I do like the little LCD info screen inside the speedometer.

I like that Cadillac has American style, most Japanese cars look terrible and are unimaginative. I wish Cadillac used better materials though and moved up market and offered better driving dynamics across the line. But clearly the new Cadillac focus is Lincoln, Acura and the bottom end of the Lexus lineup. Cadillac lacks what it takes to attack the Germans head on, which is unfortunate.

Edited by smk4565
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This one isn't as good as the old SRX. But since it is $10,000 cheaper it will probably sell better, and it doesn't suffer from that long narrow shape of the old one. Perhaps they can make the next CTS front drive and cut the price $5,000 to increase sales.

I do like the little LCD info screen inside the speedometer.

I like that Cadillac has American style, most Japanese cars look terrible and are unimaginative. I wish Cadillac used better materials though and moved up market and offered better driving dynamics across the line. But clearly the new Cadillac focus is Lincoln, Acura and the bottom end of the Lexus lineup. Cadillac lacks what it takes to attack the Germans head on, which is unfortunate.

Define "good".

Everyone who has reviewed and driven the SRX, including our own Chris Doane, has said the ride and handling is superb. Segment busting even. It looks more "SUV" and less "tall wagon" than before. The interior is top notch for the segment.

So... what's "not good" about it?

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Define "good".

Everyone who has reviewed and driven the SRX, including our own Chris Doane, has said the ride and handling is superb. Segment busting even. It looks more "SUV" and less "tall wagon" than before. The interior is top notch for the segment.

So... what's "not good" about it?

The overall shape is an improvement because it doesn't look like a wagon. But the new interior isn't as high end as the 07-09, front drive is a step backwards from the Sigma SRX. What they did is the same as if they put the CTS on epsilon2 and gave it AWD, that isn't progress. The new SRX is $34k base, why undercut Lexus by $3,000 if it is supposed to be better than the RX350? (personally I think the RX350 is hideous) Cadillac always has to undercut the competition in price and be the cheap alternative, they'll never get their image back doing that. The new SRX will compete nicely with Lincoln and Acura. For years Cadillac claimed they were going after the Germans, yet this SRX and upcoming XTS are clear indicators that they are retreating.

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The overall shape is an improvement because it doesn't look like a wagon. But the new interior isn't as high end as the 07-09, front drive is a step backwards from the Sigma SRX. What they did is the same as if they put the CTS on epsilon2 and gave it AWD, that isn't progress. The new SRX is $34k base, why undercut Lexus by $3,000 if it is supposed to be better than the RX350? (personally I think the RX350 is hideous) Cadillac always has to undercut the competition in price and be the cheap alternative, they'll never get their image back doing that. The new SRX will compete nicely with Lincoln and Acura. For years Cadillac claimed they were going after the Germans, yet this SRX and upcoming XTS are clear indicators that they are retreating.

I, for one, don't consider FWD to be a "step back". There is clearly a market for luxury FWD crossovers. The biggest sellers on the market are FWD based. No, this SRX is a VERY smart move on Cadillac's part even if it doesn't meet the personal tastes of most people on this board.

I'd never buy an SRX for myself, but my CRV-driving partner (who is never allowed to buy imported again), loves the SRX. He is one of those people that, despite my best efforts, is convinced that he needs an AWD crossover to get him to work, to Target, and back, when in reality the exact same task could be achieved with an Aveo. That mindset, plus the desire for luxury, is the target market. Lexus sells 100k RXes a year appealing to this type of person. This great looking SRX, plus the fact that both Lexus and Acura both took their old models and just made them uglier, could spell big success for Cadillac.

While he likes the looks of the CTS wagon, he'd never drive one "because it's a wagon". That's where I come in. Where as I'd never want to own this SRX for myself, I'd LOVE a CTS wagon. I am far more likely to put a CTS through it's paces than he ever would. The CTS will take it and then some. I am the CTS wagon's target market.

This two pronged approach is a great move on Cadillac's part. Instead of trying to take on BMW car for car, Cadillac is aiming for the jugular of EACH of the major luxury manufacturers.

Think about this.

What are the heart of Lexuses sales? Not the IS or GS, but the ES and RX. ZTS and SRX are the answer.

What are the heart of BMW's sales? 3 series and 5 series. CTS covers this territory.

What are the heart of Acura's sales? TL and MDX. Again we have the ZTS and SRX to compete.

What is the heart of Infiniti's sales? The G-series. CTS covers this.

Would the SRX beat the X3 around the Nurburgring? I doubt it... but most MILFs driving RX330s won't care and that is who Cadillac is trying to impress.

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This two pronged approach is a great move on Cadillac's part. Instead of trying to take on BMW car for car, Cadillac is aiming for the jugular of EACH of the major luxury manufacturers.

Well Said. I definitely think imitating other manufacturers and going after them vehicle for vehicle is a silly idea.

Think about this.

What are the heart of Lexuses sales? Not the IS or GS, but the ES and RX. ZTS and SRX are the answer.

What are the heart of BMW's sales? 3 series and 5 series. CTS covers this territory.

What are the heart of Acura's sales? TL and MDX. Again we have the ZTS and SRX to compete.

What is the heart of Infiniti's sales? The G-series. CTS covers this.

Would the SRX beat the X3 around the Nurburgring? I doubt it... but most MILFs driving RX330s won't care and that is who Cadillac is trying to impress.

Now what is lacking here is STS/ DTS getting major boost to be competitive at higher end.

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I don't think Cadillac is done yet.

I certainly hope so. More for the fact that the FWD/AWD big car worries me more than anything else, as gains of fuel economy are not significant for bigger cars compared to smaller cars, for which wheels drive.

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I agree that Lexus and Acura have made their suvs uglier, the whole Acura lineup is hideous. Lexus has a couple decent looking cars like the IS convertible, not that I'd ever buy one. The Infiniti G looks alright, but their SUVs are ugly also. So styling-wise the SRX is fine, but why not make it that size and shape on Sigma with the 304 hp DI V6 (and a turbo version of course with 350-400 hp).

The RX sells well because it was the first small-midsize luxury crossover and was carlike, and most importantly has an "L" on the front, it isn't a sales success because of fwd. The Camry and Accord are great sellers, but that doesn't mean Cadillac should copy the Accord just so they can sell 200,000 front drive $25,000 sedans. Cadillac should be aiming to be better than any Japanese luxury maker, and aiming for Mercedes-Benz.

(I mean Mercedes-Benz price point, not necessarily copying what they do. Imitating others in the luxury market usually fails)

Edited by smk4565
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Luxury brands shouldn't be about volume. Is this SRX somehow going to turn Cadillac into a more prestigious brand? Is the ZTS? Cadillac is going to be a mid-level brand, just like Lincoln. BMW and Mercedes can add $10,000 to the price of their cars based on their emblem alone. Cadillac has to discount theirs.

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I agree that Lexus and Acura have made their suvs uglier, the whole Acura lineup is hideous. Lexus has a couple decent looking cars like the IS convertible, not that I'd ever buy one. The Infiniti G looks alright, but their SUVs are ugly also. So styling-wise the SRX is fine, but why not make it that size and shape on Sigma with the 304 hp DI V6 (and a turbo version of course with 350-400 hp).

The RX sells well because it was the first small-midsize luxury crossover and was carlike, and most importantly has an "L" on the front, it isn't a sales success because of fwd. The Camry and Accord are great sellers, but that doesn't mean Cadillac should copy the Accord just so they can sell 200,000 front drive $25,000 sedans. Cadillac should be aiming to be better than any Japanese luxury maker, and aiming for Mercedes-Benz.

(I mean Mercedes-Benz price point, not necessarily copying what they do. Imitating others in the luxury market usually fails)

You have to remember, for the people who buy these things, RWD is a bad thing. There is no prestige to be lost by beating Lexus at it's own game. Sure the SRX bases 3k lower than the SRX... but how many do you think will be sold that way?

The reason Cadillac didn't build the SRX like you described is because the target market doesn't care about those things. You have to try and think like an overly busy soccer mom to get it.

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You have to remember, for the people who buy these things, RWD is a bad thing. There is no prestige to be lost by beating Lexus at it's own game. Sure the SRX bases 3k lower than the SRX... but how many do you think will be sold that way?

The reason Cadillac didn't build the SRX like you described is because the target market doesn't care about those things. You have to try and think like an overly busy soccer mom to get it.

Meanwhile, BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti, Land Rover/Range Rover, even Porsche don't play the mass-market (FWD) game and build legit luxury RWD/AWD SUVs/CUVs...

The FWD/AWD mass-market lux CUVs like the MDX, MKX and RX are fine for the entry-lux market, but the real luxury SUVs/CUVs are RWD/AWD (BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover/Range Rover, etc). This FWD/AWD SRX should have been a Buick...Buick should be targeting the entry lux level, not Cadillac.

As far as Buick goes, part of their problem is besides entry lux, they now have to try and fill the middle mainstream market that Pontiac and Saturn covered..i.e. the gap between Chevy and entry-lux. Interesting.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Meanwhile, BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti, Land Rover/Range Rover, even Porsche don't play the mass-market (FWD) game and build legit luxury RWD/AWD SUVs/CUVs...

The FWD/AWD mass-market lux CUVs like the MDX, MKX and RX are fine for the entry-lux market, but the real luxury SUVs/CUVs are RWD/AWD (BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover/Range Rover, etc). This FWD/AWD SRX should have been a Buick...Buick should be targeting the entry lux level, not Cadillac.

Exactly. The RX may sell more, but the X5, Range Rover, and Mercedes SUVs all sell for higher prices, and do more for their brand images than the RX does for Lexus. GM going back to making FWD/AWD cars and SUVS is admitting they can't compete with the top luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW.

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I agree with Caddy XLR-V and Moltar. Buick should be trying to get the soccer moms, and selling $28-38k crossovers, plus they have GMC and Chevy SUVs. If Cadillac is going to be a low end luxury SUV maker, GMC and Buick aren't needed. BMW and Benz by offering rwd give a driving experience you can't get from a Ford Edge or Camry. That is why the ES350, Acuras, Lincolns, etc can't command the big price premiums, they don't offer much more in engine/chassis/driving dynamics than mid-range family sedans. BMW and Benz can offer a better driving experience, thus the $10,000 premium. And GM's goal needs to be profit, not volume, chasing volume sent them to bankruptcy in the first place.

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GM going back to making FWD/AWD cars and SUVS is admitting they can't compete with the top luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW.

Not at all.

The SRX is likely going to be highly profitable for GM and Cadillac. I think you're putting too much weight on the FWD/RWD thing. Most of these vehicles sell in AWD form. Very few people outside of the strong automotive enthusiast know the difference between FWD bias AWD and RWD bias AWD.

Having FWD based AWD doesn't hurt Audi at all.

GM needs profit first.

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I agree with Caddy XLR-V and Moltar. Buick should be trying to get the soccer moms, and selling $28-38k crossovers, plus they have GMC and Chevy SUVs. If Cadillac is going to be a low end luxury SUV maker, GMC and Buick aren't needed. BMW and Benz by offering rwd give a driving experience you can't get from a Ford Edge or Camry. That is why the ES350, Acuras, Lincolns, etc can't command the big price premiums, they don't offer much more in engine/chassis/driving dynamics than mid-range family sedans. BMW and Benz can offer a better driving experience, thus the $10,000 premium. And GM's goal needs to be profit, not volume, chasing volume sent them to bankruptcy in the first place.

Have you driven this new SRX yet? The reviews have said it drives and handles amazing. You can not possibly have the experience to be able compare the SRX to... well anything.

If you start making &#036;h&#33; up you're going to get re-banned.

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Have you driven this new SRX yet? The reviews have said it drives and handles amazing. You can not possibly have the experience to be able compare the SRX to... well anything.

I personally can say that while the new SRX is I think better looking than my current 2004 SRX, I will NOT be buying it. The driving experiance is no differant to me than my current SRX. FWD/AWD versus RWD/AWD is not noticable. Where this vehicle fails is in the interior, Lack of leg room, lack of room period for those of us that are 6'6" tall. Once I am in either of the front seats, there is NO ROOM for anyone to sit behind me. The back seat seems to have lost head room also.

Storage is another short coming as the buble shape does eat up valuable space. I could go on and on, but I have to say I was very disappointed in this update and will hold onto my current SRX

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I personally can say that while the new SRX is I think better looking than my current 2004 SRX, I will NOT be buying it. The driving experiance is no differant to me than my current SRX. FWD/AWD versus RWD/AWD is not noticable. Where this vehicle fails is in the interior, Lack of leg room, lack of room period for those of us that are 6'6" tall. Once I am in either of the front seats, there is NO ROOM for anyone to sit behind me. The back seat seems to have lost head room also.

Storage is another short coming as the buble shape does eat up valuable space. I could go on and on, but I have to say I was very disappointed in this update and will hold onto my current SRX

You'll probably be a good candidate for a Cadillac Lambda

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Not at all.

The SRX is likely going to be highly profitable for GM and Cadillac. I think you're putting too much weight on the FWD/RWD thing. Most of these vehicles sell in AWD form. Very few people outside of the strong automotive enthusiast know the difference between FWD bias AWD and RWD bias AWD.

Having FWD based AWD doesn't hurt Audi at all.

GM needs profit first.

Does it hurt Acura? I believe it does. Acura has never been able to make it into being premium like BMW or Mercedes. Audi also has 420hp V8 powered versions of their cars. Will this SRX even have a V8? Will it even make 300hp? Cadillac is still a notch below, and I believe it will stay that way. It is no more premium than Lincoln.

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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