The 2010 model year marks the second generation for the Cadillac SRX crossover SUV, which first debuted in 2004. When the SRX first hit the market five years ago, it received a lot of praise from auto critics, but it faltered in the luxury crossover market, which has been dominated by offerings from Lexus, BMW, and others. This second generation represents a big step forward for the model, which should help it carve out a sizeable portion of the market.
The first major change is in the drive wheels. The original SRX was a rear-wheel drive vehicle with an option for four-wheel drive. This setup didn’t click with drivers for one main reason: the crossover market is about vehicles that drive similar to cars, but have the space and practicality of SUVs. It is not about taking a traditional, truck-based SUV and making it a bit smaller. The 2010 SRX has front-wheel drive, with an option for AWD, which makes for a much more controlled, and car-like drive.
Under the hood is a 3.0-liter V6 engine. This is a bit smaller than the engines found in other vehicles in the class, but the power is more than adequate and the engine is responsive. Also, fuel economy is a bit better than other luxury crossovers, clocking in at 18 mpg city and 25 highway (the AWD model drops to 17 and 23). This economy and the smaller engine does make the SRX a bit slower off the line than other crossover SUVs, but not horribly slow. And, if you’re really looking for a high-performance car with a bit of space, a luxury sports sedan is the way to go, anyway, so that doesn’t really matter.
For those considering the 2010 SRX, the AWD model is a must if you live in an area that gets bad weather. Most AWD systems are able to quickly shift 100% of available torque between the front and rear wheels. The SRX’s AWD shines in that it can also shift about 85% of torque from side to side, which ensures that no matter what surface you’re driving on, the system will be able to send the right amount of power to the correct wheels at anytime.
The interior is nicely appointed, and it comes with a wide selection of gadgets. The third row of seats from the first generation has been removed, but since third-row seats in a crossover are almost always incredibly cramped and only suitable for small children, that isn’t a deal-breaker. Cadillac’s engineers have also managed to silence almost all driving nosie from the cabin, making long drives in the SRX relaxing. Lastly, the center stack console is a marvelous piece of design work. It is bold, to go along with the exterior, but highly functional, with an intuitive control layout.
Speaking of that exterior design, it has gone through quite a big change since the first generation. The old SRX looked like a boxy Escalade that had been shrunk down to look like a station wagon. The new exterior is sleek and exciting. Some might find it a bit too in-your-face, but most will appreciate the bold lines and aggressive stance.
Last, but not least, we come to the price. Cadillac realizes that the SRX has an uphill battle to fight in the crossover market. The Lexus RX, which currently dominates the segment, has a starting price of $37,675. The SRX undercuts that with a base of $34,115. A huge price difference? Not really, but Cadillac hopes that that price point will get more people into the showrooms to take the SRX for a spin. And, if you happen to take an AWD model for a test drive on a particularly rainy or snowy day, you’ll be sold as soon as you realize that the wheels aren’t spinning out and you’re in complete control.