As fate would have it, General Motors is now building some of the best cars on the road. And no, they’re not paying me to say that. Cadillac’s CTS sedan leads the pack of competent new American autos, so I was more than optimistic when I settled into its step-brother, the new SRX crossover.
The SRX’s curb appeal had me at first sight. This thing looks edgier, sexier and downright better than its toughest competitor, the Lexus RX. Gigantic 20-inch wheels add even more oomph to the SRX’s gracefully jagged lines.
Inside, the love affair continued – for awhile. This Caddy’s interior shares the sophistication and elegance of its shell. From the gigantic touch navigation screen, which rises silently out of the dashboard, to the heated and cooled leather seats and luxury-lit wooden panels, Cadillac deserves credit for a great cockpit.
Given the SRX’s impressive looks – both inside and out -- I expected to be wooed by its performance, too. What I didn’t expect was the brackish powertrain underneath the first SRX I tested. The 265-horsepower V-6 in that “base” SRX simply didn’t have what it takes to motivate a 4,595-pound vehicle. To make matters worse, the transmission seemed set on earning great gas mileage, at the cost of driving dynamics.
After a host of complaints in the auto-reviewing community, Cadillac ferried out a Turbocharged version of the SRX, good for 300-horsepower. I found the turbo SRX more in line with a Cadillac.
So, assuming you buy a turbocharged SRX (most loaded models have the turbo) or that you’re fine with the engine/transmission performance the “base” SRX, how does the rest of the vehicle rate?
As mentioned, the SRX leads the pack in styling. But overall, it doesn’t stand out from a field of over-qualified applicants. Another pro for the Cadillac is that buyers can get into an SRX for as “little” as $34,155. A well-optioned SRX Turbo nearly breaks the half-century mark at $49,640.
I should also add that the SRX’s steering and brakes were exactly what I expected from a new generation Cadillac. I was more than pleased with the SRX’s performance in snow and on light dirt trials.
All in all, the SRX is a bit of contradiction. It stands out from the pack in design, and it’s also outstanding (in a less positive way) from competitors in driving feel and performance. As much as I like GM’s new vehicles, I can’t strongly recommend this one – though you should drive it and decide for yourself.
Cadillac hit a homerun with interior and exterior styling on its new SRX. If they work to get the engine and transmission right, they’ll have a real winner – worthy of the nameplate.
Cadillac blends art and performance in the opulent but functional cockpit of the 2010 SRX.
© 2010 John Dickerson