The CTS sedan has been a great success for Cadillac, garnering much praise from the automotive media. So it's no wonder that the 2010 Cadillac SRX leans heavily on the same cabin tech and bold design features that made the CTS so popular. In many ways, the new SRX looks like the CTS on stilts.
When this small SUV arrived in our garage, we were pleased to find cabin tech similar to what we liked so much in the CTS. There was the same LCD that partially stows itself in the dash, leaving a strip visible to show audio information. There was the hard-drive-based navigation system with traffic. The car even comes with the record button that saves radio broadcasts, essentially it works like TiVo for radio.
However, there were a few new details included, too. Details that we hope find their way into the next CTS update. For example, Cadillac added a round, color information display to the speedometer that shows a variety of information--such as the trip computer, navigation directions, and even the speed limit of the current road. When starting the SRX, an animation of the Cadillac logo rolls into place, adding a little special effects glory for this high-tech cruiser.
Direct injection religion
GM is adhering to its new direct-injection religion with the 2010 SRX, fitting the small SUV with a 3-liter V-6 engine, which should be the perfect size for this vehicle. For most people, its 265 horsepower will be enough to get to work, make grocery runs, and take the occasional weekend trip to grandma's house. However, power-mad speed demons will be disappointed with the cars meager reaction when they hit the gas pedal. The SRX engine's 223 pound-feet of torque does not deliver the kind of thrust to put you firmly in your seat.
However, Cadillac hasn't forgotten driving enthusiasts. The company has an optional turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 engine for the 2010 SRX. While the turbocharged engine doesn't have direct injection, its turbo helps it make 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
Our review car came with all-wheel-drive and the 3-liter V-6. It also had a six-speed-automatic transmission, the same as the one used in the CTS. We've been impressed with this transmission's Sport mode in other reviews. When racing toward a corner and then hitting the brakes, the transmission will aggressively downshift and hold a low gear as you hit the gas on the way out to the next straightaway. The transmission exhibits similar behavior in the SRX, only the 3-liter engine can't really realize the transmissions potential. It's like putting an F-22 pilot into a 747; he might have incredible reflexes, but they will be largely wasted.
Putting the transmission into Sport mode enables manual shifting, with sequential gear changes. For a torque converter, these shifts are pretty sharp, and it is best when used to drop a few gears to gain passing power or for engine braking down a long grade.
In standard Drive mode, the transmission seeks higher, gas saving gears. The SRX gets an EPA-rated fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, fairly typical numbers for a small SUV. In our driving, we only achieved 19.4 mpg.
Although it's not dynamically dampened, the SRX's suspension system uses stabilizer bars fore and aft along with a linked H arm at the rear to control body roll and provide a generally supple ride. The ride is part of what makes sitting in the SRX a treat, and keeps Cadillac's luxury reputation intact.
The SRX's cabin also treats occupants with generally nice fit and finish, and has comfortable leather seats with power adjustment. We were particularly pleased when driving on a drizzly day that the rain-sensing windshield wipers took over, adjusting the wiper speed depending on the intensity of the rain. This feature embodies luxury tech, taking care of the minor details so that you can concentrate on other things.