Strengths and weaknesses:
- good looks
- cargo versatility
- comfortable seating
- lack of torque
- rear seat armrest
- crowded dashboard
SRX brings the Cadillac experience to a wider audience
"The SRX is by no means a bad vehicle, nor a bad looking one, but to most people it just isn’t a Cadillac."
In order for Cadillac to continue to prosper and perhaps draw more attention to its core line of larger-than-life sedans, it has to offer compact vehicles such as the SRX crossover utility.
That’s not necessarily a knock against the steeped-in-history company, though it shouldn’t be interpreted as a ringing endorsement, either. It’s just the reality of a market where people want utility wrapped up in smaller, more fuel efficient packages.
The SRX is by no means a bad vehicle, nor a bad looking one, but to most people it just isn’t a Cadillac. I’m not one of those, mind you, having long ago extolled the virtues of unique cars such as the Cimarron … ok, maybe not the Cimarron, but definitely the Allante and, later, the XLR roadsters.
It all comes down to the exclusivity of the wreath, and that certainly applies to various segments outside of the large sedan market (at which is most Cadillac aficionados draw the line).
The SRX tries to incorporate some Cadillac cues, such as the large egg-crate grille, a modernization of the wreath-and-crest badge and fins … yes, fins. Take a look at the rear vertical taillight treatment and you’ll find they extend out and up a little in a subdued tribute to Cadillacs of the past (as Buick currently does with its non-functioning fender portholes).
Inside, there are the bright jewelled gauges and just the right amount of wood trim. It’s enough to make you understand this is a Cadillac without sending it over the top with pretentiousness (of which past Cadillacs could often be accused).
It also carries on the Cadillac tradition of advancements (in the SRX’s case, in the area of cargo management).
It starts with a multi-level adjustable hatch opening. The push button control is integrated into a dial that allows it to be programmed to open at a lower height (in order to take into account lower ceilinged venues such as underground stalls or some home garages). Then it opens up into a carpeted cargo area featuring a lightweight metal cargo separator on a “U” track.
The separation slides between notches to accommodate various sizes and shapes of containers, or it can be removed completely and stored in the spare-wheel well under the floor. The rear seats go down in a 60/40 split, but not flat to the cargo floor. The rear seating itself is comfortable and of premium quality material, though not the ultra-luxury plush leather some people would associate with Cadillac (in particular, those whose main exposure to the brand is by riding in livery staple sedans such as the Deville or DTS). The centre armrest, which hides a ski-pass-through to the cargo area, pulls downs to sit at an awkward-enough angle to impede elbow comfort as well as seeming to want to spill whatever is placed in its integrated cupholders.
Up front, the cockpit is upscale to effectively represent Cadillac, but it could be a cockpit found in any Chevrolet or even Ford/Lincoln. Everything works great and is easy enough to find, but there sure are a lot of little buttons all around the driver.
Still, it’s not enough to make the SRX challenging to drive. In fact, that’s probably the easiest characteristic of the vehicle – you point it in a direction and it goes there without too much arm-input required. You push on the accelerator and it goes – not fast, mind you, but efficiently.
The 3.6-litre V6 could stand a little more oomph, but it manages to move the vehicle well enough and returns decent fuel economy. Sequential gear shifts are enacted through the shift lever, which is fine for this type of vehicle in which the lever points to D probably 90% of the time.
By the end of the SRX driving experience, you’re probably left with a sense of indifference – it’s a vehicle that neither expands a lot on its Cadillac-ness, nor on its performance. But as a family vehicle for those who want to show off their niche in life while still requiring a wagon that will make it over a variety of terrains, it’s pretty good.