Cadillac SRX: crossover wagon is all-new with a turbo option

2010, Cadillac, SRX

MILFORD, Mich. -- A new SRX, edgy crossover utility vehicle wearing the round wreath and crest of Cadillac, parks on an asphalt lot at the Milford Proving Ground, vast automotive test facility for General Motors near Detroit.

This latest Cadillac, sleek and stylish in bold design featuring angular forms and crisp edgework, packs an efficient V6 engine and mount exacting mechanical hardware on a rigid front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform to produce world-class performance and handling traits.

Tagged as a 2010 model, the CUV amounts to a second generation for SRX, although only the nameplate carries forward to the new version.

Differences between the original SRX, which debuted as a 2004 model, and gen-2 SRX of 2010 are dramatic.

The first SRX, built on the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) unitized Sigma architecture also used for Cadillac's mid-size CTS sports touring sedan, had a 116-inch wheelbase and stretched 195 inches long. The cabin contained three rows of seats for seven passengers and powertrains included V6 and V8 options.

The second SRX, by contrast, rides on a new FWD global platform with a wheelbase of 110.5 inches and the overall length pared to 190.2 inches. Its cabin, jam-packed with high-tech gear and luxurious fittings, houses two rows of seats for five riders and the small-displacement V6 engines include naturally-aspirated and turbo-charged choices.

So forget gen-1 SRX: The gen-2 version represents a new direction for the mid-size Cadillac CUV -- and a refreshing change at that.

Styling for '10 SRX looks keen and distinctive with taut lines and sharp edges everywhere.

The aggressive prow has a prominent egg-crate grille in wire-mesh with piercing optics from round projector-type headlamps mounted vertically on corners above a racy spoiler with gaping air intake and round foglamps.

Flanks are multi-dimensional, tipping slightly inward below knife-edge shoulders with fenders flaring only minutely around big wheelwells. The wheels stand near front and rear corners, leaving curt overhangs on prow and tail.

Roofline remains low, sloping down in back above forward-tipped D-pillars.

Tail treatment for SRX shows a slick slab bumper in monochrome flanked by tall vertical light-emitting diode (LED) taillamps, a Cadillac hallmark, with twin round pipes in chrome protruding below the bumper.

The low roof and squatty stance of SRX work to camouflage the big-ness of this CUV. It actually stretches for almost 16 feet from one bumper to the other and spreads more than six feet across the beam. And the wheelbase, nearly ten feet long, rivals many full-size vehicles.

Suspension elements -- with pliable independent components -- consist of front strut-type arrangement and a rear linked H-arm.

Steering, through a rack and pinion device, is hydraulic and speed-sensitive, and it feels dead-on precise and quick.

Two top trims of SRX employ a different ZF variable-ratio power steering system designed to mesh well with 20-inch tires that also apply to these versions.

The four-wheel disc brakes score big brake calipers and link electronically to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) plus GM's StabiliTrak skid controls.

Powertrain options begin with the base aluminum 3.0-liter V6 rigged with dual overhead cams, direct injection technology and VVT (variable valve timing).

With direct injection, the fuel goes directly into the engine's combustion chamber and fosters a thorough burn of the mix of air and fuel.

This plant generates 265 hp at 6950 rpm with the torque pushed to 223 lb-ft at 5100 rpm.

The standard transmission is a smooth-to-shift electronically controlled six-speed automatic, GM's Hydra-Matic 6T70.

The dual-cam aluminum engine -- derived from engines that GM installs in European cars -- displaces 2.8 liters and carries a turbo-charger for high boost and efficient fuel burn.

It makes 300 hp at 5500 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at only 2000 rpm.

Transmission is a six-speed automatic by Aisin-Warner that can accommodate high power and torque of a turbo plant.

Optional with the 3.0-liter V6 is the Haldex II all-wheel-drive (AWD) system designed to hold tire traction on wet and slippery pavement.

The standard 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels wear 255/65R18 treads.

Top trims roll on 20-inch alloy wheels capped by 235/55R20 Michelin Latitude Tour HP tires.

Inside a generous cabin with room for five, the exterior theme of chiseled forms and angular features is expressed in a monochromatic treatment with optional hand-cut, hand-sewn and hand-wrapped surfaces.

Vivid analog instruments are housed in three tubular binnacles and the dashboard center stack of controls is trimmed in satin metallic finish or wood.

Cadillac offers the 2010 SRX in four tiers of trim: SRX, SRX Luxury, SRX Performance and SRX Premium.

The entry edition SRX stocks twin-zone air conditioning, power controls for windows and door locks and mirrors, a tilting steering wheel, cruise control, leatherette seat upholstery and a four-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD plus auxiliary plug.

SRX Luxury scores leather seat upholstery and wood trim, a remote starter, power liftgate, sunroof with power sunshade, Park Assist and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

SRX Performance totes adaptive xenon HID headlights, a navigation system with rearview camera, a premium audio system with ten speakers, and the 20-inch wheels and tires.

SRX Premium has everything aboard, including tri-zone automatic climate controls.

Pricing for the 2010 SRX begins at $33,300.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2010, Cadillac SRX

2010 Cadillac SRX
2010 Cadillac SRX
inside the SRX
inside the SRX
lots of safety
lots of safety
lots of room for all
lots of room for all