2006 Cadillac SRX

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2004 Cadillac SRX

This 2004 review is representative of model years 2004 to 2009.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 7

Bottom Line:

Well-done new Cadillac that is basically a posh station wagon.
Pros:
  • Posh and roomy
  • Fast with V8
  • Confident handling
Cons:
  • Occasionally bouncy ride
  • Small gauge numbers
  • Manual tilt wheel

The new SRX promises to be yet another new Cadillac vehicle that helps put that automaker higher on the luxury heap, which is dominated by foreign nameplates.

The $37,995-$46,300 SRX is essentially a posh, roomy station wagon, although that's an unwanted description in the U.S. auto industry; domestic automakers fear that older baby boomers, who can afford the SRX, think that a wagon is overly domesticated—and thus undesirable.

On the other hand, prestigious European automakers sell a fair number of expensive wagons in this country to prosperous folks of various ages. Go figure.

Cadillac calls the 2004 SRX a "medium luxury-utility vehicle." Besides a wagon, it could be called a "crossover" vehicle that combines attributes of a wagon and a sport ute.

Nicely Designed
Call it what you like, this new model is nicely designed. It's Cadillac's first car-based utility vehicle, being built from the same platform as the automaker's rear-wheel-drive CTS sedan. That's unusual because most crossover vehicles are derived from front-wheel-drive sedans. (The SRX also is offered with all-wheel drive.)

At 195 inches, the 4-door SRX is five inches longer than the CTS. That length, along with a taller height than the CTS and rather narrow width for this type vehicle, makes it look like a tall station wagon. It's higher than a car, but not as high as a difficult-to-enter truck-based sport utility.

Elegant and Roomy
The SRX has Cadillac's successful crisp-edged styling to make it readily identifiable as a Caddy, but it backs off from the very edgy CTS styling for a more elegant appearance.

Getting in or out requires more effort than one might expect from a car-based utility vehicle because of rather high door sills, but certainly no running boards are needed. There's room for up to seven occupants with an available third-row seat—or for five adults with two rows of seats.

However, the center of the second-row seat, which slides fore and aft, is too hard for long trips. The third-row seat is difficult to reach and best suited to children.

Cargo room is good with two rows of seats, particularly with second-row seatbacks folded forward. There's minimal cargo space with the third-row seat in its normal position. But it deftly power folds into the floor at the push of a button to enlarge the cargo area.

Two Engines
The SRX costs $37,995 with a 3.5-liter 260-horsepower V6 and $46,300 with a 4.6-liter 320-horsepower V8. Both engines are hooked to a responsive 5-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually.

All-wheel drive costs $1,900 as a stand-alone option and also is offered in a $7,145 package that contains items including a navigation system, Bose sound system and General Motor's innovative Magnetic Ride Control Suspension, which enhances ride and handling a bit.

Nice Ride and Handling
Cadillac claims that the SRX "drives like a sport sedan," but that's a stretch. It does have precise steering, confident handling and an easily modulated brake pedal. Stopping distances are acceptably short, but sportier car-based sport utes such as the Porsche Cayenne and Infiniti FX45 stop more quickly.

The suspension easily soaks up bumps and other road irregularities, but sometimes becomes bouncy on wavy pavement. Some potential SRX buyers who also look at European rivals won't like that fault.

All-Wheel Drive
The all-wheel-drive system is offered with both engines. It lacks low-range gearing for serious off-road driving, but so what? Nobody in their right mind would bounce around over rugged terrain in an SRX. The all-wheel drive is there to provide more stability on slippery roads, that's all.

The V8 delivers fast acceleration, but don't count on the V6 matching it because even the SRX V6 is heavy at 4,164 pounds with rear-wheel drive and 4,320 pounds with all-wheel drive. The V8 version weighs up to 4,442 pounds with all-wheel drive, but that's no problem with the V8's extra muscle.

Fuel economy is on the low side. Expect mile-per-gallon figures in the mid-teens in the city and low 20s on highways. Premium gasoline is recommended for the best performance.

Well Equipped
Even the SRX V6 version has virtually all the comfort, convenience and safety equipment you would expect in most luxury cars. The V8 version adds items such as rear air conditioning, heated front-row seats, power adjustable pedals and wood interior trim.

Traction control is standard, as are anti-lock brakes. So are front-seat side airbags and head-protecting side-curtain airbags for the first two seating rows. Also standard is GM's OnStar telematics assistance system.

Key options include a $1,200 DVD entertainment system, $325 XM satellite radio and $1,800 UltraView power sunroof. There's even a $2,400 UltraView Plus power sunroof that includes a vented glass roof over the third-row seat and a power sunshade.

The interior is quiet and looks suitably upscale for an American brand luxury vehicle. Foreign rivals generally do a better job with the appearance of their interiors.

Speedometer and tachometer numbers should be larger for an easier read. There's a manual-tilt steering wheel, but some competitors offer power tilt-telescopic steering wheel operation.

Cadillac did a pretty good job with the SRX, but lower-cost foreign vehicles such as the Acura MDX, Infiniti FX and Lexus RX are formidable rivals.

Traction control is standard, as are anti-lock brakes. So are front-seat side airbags and head-protecting side-curtain airbags for the first two seating rows. Also standard is GM's OnStar telematics assistance system.

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BB03 - 7/25/2014 3:17:42 PM