Full 2010 Cadillac SRX Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Cadillac SRX is an all-new luxury crossover SUV. Highlights include new styling, a smaller size, more luxury features and a higher-quality interior.
On sports shows, you hear all the time about players or teams who are "underrated" or "overlooked." In the automotive world, we'd probably use the same terms to describe the Cadillac SRX. Even though we have thought pretty highly of it through the years, consumers were never particularly smitten. Sales, at least from Cadillac's perspective, were disappointing. So for 2010, Caddy is trying again with a fully redesigned SRX.
The 2010 SRX game plan is a fresh idea for Cadillac: a smallish luxury crossover that will do battle with similar models from Audi, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, among others. The SRX has the expected roster of premium equipment, and for better or worse, it's got the full Cadillac styling treatment, too. The question is whether it has enough tricks up its sleeve to keep pace with the European and Japanese competition.
The outgoing 2009 SRX was a decidedly different animal: Its midsize body was attached to the first-generation CTS's rear-wheel-drive platform, and it featured options like a V8 and a third-row seat. For the relatively compact 2010 Cadillac SRX, model, all of that's been brushed away in favor of a new five-passenger platform that utilizes front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The wagonlike look of the old model is gone, too, replaced by a new Escalade-like front end and distinctive finned taillights.
In keeping with the standards of this segment, the base engine is a direct-injected 3.0-liter V6. For more power, Cadillac is also offering a turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 on the higher trim levels. The SRX also comes with a bevy of standard and optional luxury features, such as LED accent lights, adaptive shock absorbers, a hard-drive-based navigation system, a surround-sound audio system, heated and ventilated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.
These features, plus a high-quality and sharp-looking interior, would seem to help the latest SRX become a perfectly viable small luxury crossover. However, the SRX is beefy -- its base curb weight is about 4,200 pounds -- and the 3.0-liter V6 struggles to keep up. The available Saab-sourced turbo V6 makes the SRX more competitive, but opting for it sends the SRX's price skyrocketing. There are other issues as well, such as poor outward visibility and lackluster driving dynamics on the lower trim levels.
Competing models include the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus RX 350, Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and Volvo XC60. These vehicles have stylish interiors as well, and they typically offer better powertrains and more satisfying driving experiences. That said, we can't give much of a recommendation to the 2010 Cadillac SRX -- it just might be a little overrated.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Cadillac SRX is a luxury crossover SUV available in four trim levels: base, Luxury Collection, Performance Collection and Premium Collection.
Even the base model features a solid roster of standard equipment, including 18-inch alloy wheels, an electronic parking brake, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seatbacks, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear climate vents with separate fan control, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, USB jack and satellite radio.
The Luxury Collection piles on LED headlight accents, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, an adjustable-height power liftgate, a more flexible rear cargo area (includes a "U-rail" containment system and a retractable cargo shade), remote engine start, driver memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated power-folding exterior mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, an eight-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, wood interior trim and Bluetooth.
Step up to the Performance Collection and you'll be rewarded with 20-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps with washers, foglamps, variable-assist power steering, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system and a hard-drive-based navigation system with a back-up camera. The top-of-the-line Premium Collection tacks on keyless ignition/entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat audio controls, ventilated front seats and heated rear outboard seats. All-wheel-drive Performance and Premium Collection models also receive a sport-tuned suspension with continuously variable damping.
The base SRX has no available options. The surround-sound stereo and the navigation system are optional on the Luxury Collection, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system can be specified on any SRX equipped with the navigation system.
Powertrains and Performance
The Cadillac SRX comes standard with a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 265 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine, with all-wheel drive optional on all but the base model. All-wheel-drive Performance and Premium Collection models are offered only with a turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 that pumps out 300 hp and 295 lb-ft (late availability). It also gets a six-speed automatic, though this one's noticeably more responsive than the base unit. All-wheel-drive models also have a specialized rear differential that applies power to the outside wheels for improved cornering traction.
In performance testing, a front-drive SRX with the base V6 loped to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, which is a half-second to a second off the pace set by all-wheel-drive rivals. As for the peppier turbocharged motor, GM projects a more competitive 0-60-mph sprint of 7.6 seconds.
EPA fuel economy estimates for the base V6 are 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for front-drive models. All-wheel drive knocks those figures down to 17/23/19. GM says the turbocharged SRX will achieve 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway.
The 2010 Cadillac SRX comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and OnStar.
Interior Design and Special Features
The SRX's interior is probably its single most appealing aspect. Picking up where the CTS sedan's ground-breaking (for GM) interior left off, the SRX dashboard layout features high-quality materials, mostly solid build quality and an attractive design. However, the center stack buttons are hard to distinguish from each other at a glance, and their layout is sometimes haphazard. The standard electronic parking brake is a nice touch, but it doesn't immediately lock the car in place, so on hills the car lurches a bit before settling down.
The SRX's backseat accommodations are adequately comfortable, but rear headroom is lacking for taller folks. Cadillac put a lot of thought into the cargo area, however -- the power tailgate (standard on all but the base SRX) has a two-position height setting so the tailgate won't whack low garage ceilings, and the nifty U-ring track in the cargo floor allows a fence to be erected for containing fragile cargo. Maximum cargo capacity is an average 61 cubic feet, but there are a useful 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
The 3.0-liter V6 is said to be a scaled-down version of the excellent 3.6-liter V6 in the current CTS, but that just makes us wonder why the SRX didn't get the bigger V6 in the first place. The smaller motor lacks the kind of juice required to contend with the SRX's hefty curb weight, and the base six-speed automatic's eager upshifts and sluggish downshifts don't help matters. The turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 is a significant improvement, but really all it does is make the SRX class-competitive with cars like the XC60, Q5 and GLK350 -- and the turbocharged SRX commands a hefty price premium over these models considering it's only offered on the top two trim levels.
In other road-going respects, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is a solid but unremarkable luxury crossover. Steering response is surprisingly sharp, the SRX handles well and noise levels are impressively low on the highway. However, the ride with the base suspension is a bit busy for a luxury vehicle -- models with the adaptive suspension should fare better. Another downside is the SRX's high beltline and cowl -- they combine with the extraordinarily thick roof pillars to compromise outward visibility considerably.