California Autos Examiner

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2010 Cadillac SRX

I’ll get this right out of the way: I like the current generation SRX. Perhaps she was too big, but when it comes to people haulers, I like big. The styling wasn’t spectacular, but I didn’t mind it and I rather liked how the SRX drove.

Now here comes the 2010 SRX. She’s down on passenger capacity and up on elegance and sportiness which is probably good for the marketplace, but not as good for me. While I find the new SRX’s exterior styling to fit within the Cadillac family, it doesn’t wow me. I'm sure that this new design will be more appealing to customers. However, I rather like the lines of the new Theta-based Equinox better. That brings up a bit of a sore point for Cadillac reps. At one point or another, the 2010 SRX’s platform was referred to as Theta-Premium. If you want to see a bitter apple face, just say that to a Caddy rep. Needless to say, they wholeheartedly disagree with that designation. One Cadillac rep stated, “We probably did ourselves a disservice when we originally mentioned that name.” Truth be told, the SRX does have some Theta components as well as some Epsilon pieces, but not as much as you might think. Internally the SRX’s platform was referred to as T. Whatever the case, when I look “bones” of both the SRX and Equinox: I prefer Equinox.

When it comes to the interior, I am very much swayed by the SRX. There is a colorful driver information center nestled in the middle of the gages and for some reason that alone was a big surprise and delight when the car powered up. Overall, I like the layout of the dash, the materials used and the options offered. The SRX has more of a closed-in feeling than the Lexus RX. When seated in the driver’s chair, it seemed to “hug” me more that the ’10 RX. I wonder how that will play with female customers out there. There is no competition in terms of dash layout however, the ’10 SRX absolutely stomps the ’10 RX with the exception of Lexus’ new "Remote Touch" navigation controller, which I quite like.

The curvy backsides of both the new SRX and CTS wagon do lose some cargo room. While this does make for a sportier appearance, it does rob the area of some space and when it comes to space: I need all that I can get.

The 2010 SRX offers the choice of two six-cylinder engines that are new to Cadilla--the smallest-displacement engines it offers in North America. A new, 260 horsepower (using regular fuel), 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine is standard and a new, 300 horsepower (using premium fuel), 2.8L turbocharged V-6 is optional. Fuel economy in the mid-20s on the highway is expected, but testing isn’t complete. The optional AWD system includes an electronic limited-slip differential that distributes torque as needed from side to side along the rear axle, as well as from the front to rear axle. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard and 20-inch wheels are offered.

The new SRX does hit all the right notes in terms of content and the interior is impressive. If it came down to choosing between Chevy and the Caddy, I’d choose the Caddy because of all the extra goodies. However, the fact that I had to think about it speaks volumes to the design work that Chevy did. Between the SRX and RX, things become cloudier. I’ve never been a fan of the RX’s styling and the new model has not changed my opinion one iota, but Lexus’ sterling reputation for quality, reliability, resale and dealer service are a draw. In terms of the target customer, of which many are my wife’s friends, I don’t know if the SRX will be able to pull them in. The Caddy is a fine product, but Lexus has treated these ladies well and it provides them with a familiar, reliable and comfortable status symbol. I’m not sure that the SRX “over delivers” enough to these buyers to get them to jump ship.

I do believe that the SRX’s sales numbers will improve over the current model’s numbers as it is better positioned in the marketplace. To what degree, I’m not sure, but it will be appreciable. Production begins in the second quarter of 2009, with dealer availability shortly thereafter.

General Motors covered my expenses to attend the 2009 NAIAS.

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