The 2010 Cadillac SRX isn't a refresh, it's entirely new, shunning the first-generation's tall wagon styling in favor of a crossover SUV with an upgraded powertrain and interior.
Although we believe the segment is pointless, if you happen to fall into the target market for the SRX, you've got another serious contender to look at. The crossover moves to GM's Theta platform and shifts from a knife-edged tall wagon to knife-edged compact SUV. GM's design team performed a face transplant to go along with the new body style.
Despite being introduced with the 2003 CTS, thanks to evolutionary changes over the past decade, the Art & Science design language still seems fresh, and translates well to the bigger chassis. Signature Cadillac elements abound. Vertical headlights that swivel to follow the road, mini-fin tail lights with night time-defining accent lightpipes, the big shield grille and various creases and folds give it that precise look now defining the Caddy brand.
We could do without the faux side vents, but you know Cadillac and their pathological need for chrome. Speaking of chrome, standard wheel sizes start at 18 inches. There's also an optional set of 20 inch wheels. You know, in case you need to blind others.
GM will certainly talk up the styling, but you can bet they'll also trumpet the powertrain. That's because this iteration of the SRX gets a direct injection V6 engine designed for efficiency and a turbo V6 designed for power. Each are mated to six speed automatic transmissions. The base engine is an all-aluminum direct injection 3.0-liter V6 with variable vale timing making 260 HP at a heady 6950 RPM and 221 HP at 5600 RPM. The upgraded engine is actually smaller by displacement at 2.8 liters but gets a turbo to feed the all-aluminum engine. The result is 300 HP at 5500 RPM and peak torque of 295 lb-ft at only 1850 RPM. With a power profile like that, engine choice will hugely influence the personality of this car.
As we mentioned, both of those engines get hooked up to a six-speed transmission and that power gets routed through standard front wheel drive and an optional all wheel drive. That all wheel drive system features an electronic limited slip rear differential which can automatically appropriate power to the wheels as needed front to rear and side to side. We're told the system is similar to the Saab Turbo X Haldex system, although we don't yet know if they share the same Swedish roots.
Inside, the SRX delivers on the luxury promise of the exterior. To start, a set of leather seats front and rear look great and from our short time with the car in GM's Warren design center, seemed devilishly comfortable. The console is covered in hand-cut and sewn leather. The gauge cluster sits in a hood that looks as well-tailored as a fine Italian suit. For the first time, everything in the SRX has a solid, well-made feel and the ergonomics leave nothing for want.
Like the CTS, a bounty of gadgets are found in the SRX. Bluetooth comes standard with every car, with Onstar turn-by-turn directions optional as well as a pop-up screen at the top of the center console. The radio has the same cool feature as the current generation CTS, equipped with an optional hard drive system allowing you to rewind and fast forward like the audio version of a Tivo. The rear hatch gets the same programmable power liftgate we first heard about on the just-revealed 2010 Chevrolet Equinox.
So what's our verdict from our quick preview of the 2010 Cadillac SRX at the Detroit Auto Show backgrounder at GM's Warren Tech Center? Dispassionate approval. It's not that the SRX isn't a very well put together, nicely-styled, consumer-focused product; it's just that we've become deaf to the PR spin of pointless utility vehicles. At this point, is there enough wiggle room between the Escalade and the CTS Sportwagon to warrant this offering? We're not sure, but GM seems to thinks so. The only way to know for sure is to wait for sales to tell the story.
Below we've got the complete details on the vehicle as of this posting, and we'll be getting the entire down-low when the crossover is publicly revealed in a week at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.
2010 CADILLAC SRX: A DISTINCTIVE ALTERNATIVE FOR TODAY'S LUXURY CROSSOVER CONSUMER
DETROIT – Cadillac unveiled the next-generation 2010 SRX Crossover today, featuring a completely new design and more-efficient, high-technology engine choices. The new SRX is a mid-size luxury crossover coming to the North American International Auto Show next week.
"The all-new SRX is a fresh and compelling crossover aimed squarely at the priorities of luxury buyers," said Mark McNabb, North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium Channel. "With new technologies for increased efficiency and safety, the redesigned 2010 SRX Crossover focuses on both the emotional and pragmatic sides of the luxury consumer."
The 2010 SRX is designed for efficient performance, including the choice of two high-tech six-cylinder engines that are new to Cadillac – the smallest-displacement engines it offers in North America. A new, 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine is standard and a new, 2.8L turbocharged V-6 is optional. Both engines employ technology that helps produce strong performance that is typical of larger-displacement engines. Direct injection enables a 25-percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. Fuel economy in the mid-20s on the highway is expected, but testing isn't complete.
Performance and safety are enhanced by an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that is designed to optimize vehicle handling and stability in all driving conditions. The AWD system includes an advanced electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) that distributes torque as needed from side to side along the rear axle, as well as from the front to rear axle. The pre-emptive, active-on-demand system provides an extra measure of capability in wet or icy conditions.
The 2010 SRX rides on a wide track that was designed to deliver a nimble, responsive driving experience. It seats five, with generous occupant and cargo room, and can tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg).
Distinctive design and craftsmanship
"Cadillac is known for bold design. The 2010 SRX Crossover builds on that reputation," said Clay Dean, Cadillac global design director. "As with the 2008 CTS, we advanced our Art and Science design to create a crossover for style-conscious customers. The exterior features a dramatic diving gesture on the body side to impart the feeling of movement, even at rest."
A multi-piece shield grille and Cadillac's iconic vertical headlamps – with light pipe technology and available adaptive forward lighting – are the face of the SRX. They blend into a tightly wrapped, sweeping body that tapers downward at the rear, giving the vehicle a sporty profile, Dean said.
The SRX features a wide stance, minimal overhang and wheels pushed to corners. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard and 20-inch wheels are offered. A bold accent line dives across the body side and culminates at a chrome front fender vent that incorporates a side marker lamp. An integrated spoiler on the rearward edge of the roof extends the sleek lines and improves aerodynamics.
"Inside the new SRX, technical precision blends with old-world craftsmanship," Dean said. "Hand-cut-and-sewn coverings on the instrument panel and ambient lighting details convey a finely tailored cabin."
An integrated center stack houses controls for climate and audio systems, while the navigation system rises from the center of the instrument panel. A signature example of the SRX's attention to detail is the Cadillac script logos in the front door sill plates that illuminate when the doors are opened.
Advanced technology and entertainment systems
The 2010 SRX features numerous advanced electronic systems. Highlights include a "pop-up" navigation screen with three-dimensional imaging; adaptive forward lighting that swivels the headlamps in synch with vehicle steering; power liftgate with adjustable height setting; integrated hard disc drive for audio storage and a dual-screen system for rear entertainment.
Bluetooth compatibility is standard, as is OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation service for buyers who do not select the car's navigation system option.
The SRX is powered by a new, fuel-efficient direct injected 3.0L V-6 that delivers an estimated 260 horsepower (193 kW) and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Direct injection results in more power, better fuel economy and lower emissions, all will a smaller-displacement package. As a result, the new V-6 engine is expected to raise the SRX's standard power rating by 5 horsepower, while achieving an estimated 10-15-percent fuel economy improvement.
The 3.0L direct injection V-6 is a smaller-displacement version of the 3.6L, direct injection engine featured in the CTS sport sedan and named one of the world's 10 Best Engines for 2009 by Ward's Automotive. Along with direct injection technology, the 3.0L engine employs variable valve timing to optimize power and fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
The Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission helps save fuel by lowering the engine's rpm at constant highway speeds, while manual shift control enables greater driver interaction when desired. The new SRX includes a driver-selectable "eco mode" that alters transmission shift points to maximize fuel economy.
"The 2010 SRX will deliver excellent, balanced driving dynamics in all types of weather," said Bob Reuter, global vehicle chief engineer. "The all-wheel-drive system with electronic limited slip effectively transfers torque not only from front to rear, but also along the rear axle. This system sets a new benchmark for all all-wheel-drive systems, giving the driver control and confidence on any road surface."
Traction control is taken a step further on AWD models with the rear eLSD. In icy or wet conditions, the system can transfer up to 100 percent of torque to the wheel that has more grip. The eLSD also gives the driver enhanced control when cornering hard or completing a high-speed maneuver, such as a lane change, by momentarily applying more or less torque to either of the wheels to help the rear of the vehicle more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.
The suspension includes a real-time damping system in conjunction with AWD that adjusts shock damping rates in response to road conditions for a smooth ride quality.
SRX's safety features are designed to protect occupants before, during and after a crash. A strong body structure and chassis that absorbs crash energy is complemented by the use of martensitic steel in the fully enclosed rocker sections. Martensitic steel is one of the strongest available and its use in the rockers helps protect against intrusion during a side-impact crash, while also maintaining the structure during front and rear crashes.
Additional safety features include standard head curtain side air bags, standard front seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side air bags, front safety belts with dual pretensioners and load limiters, rollover mitigation sensors, a pedal release system, trailer stability assist and OnStar.
The SRX was also designed to meet European pedestrian protection standards; and the front bumper is positioned for greater compatibility with car bumpers.