Cadillac launched the SRX midsize luxury sport utility vehicle as an early 2004 model. Bridging the gap between luxury sedans and powerful SUVs, it was Cadillac's first crossover — a model that features the attributes of more than one vehicle class. Rivals include the league-leading Lexus RX 330, as well as the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Volkswagen Touareg and Volvo XC90.
Built on General Motors' Sigma platform, which is also used for Cadillac's CTS sedan, the SRX promises a lower center of gravity than most of its competitors. The automaker says this improves ride and handling "without compromising [the] driver's commanding view of the road." Two engines are available, and the SRX can be equipped with either rear- or all-wheel drive.
For 2005, darker privacy glass was offered, a new instrument cluster added chrome accents, and a trailer-towing package was available for the V-6 version. A power rear liftgate is standard on 2006 models, which gain reduced step-over height for easier egress. Restyled 17- or 18-inch wheels are installed, cashmere is a new interior color, and an enhanced wood package is optional.
Cadillac promotes the driving dynamics of the SRX. Cadillac's active suspension system, called Magnetic Ride Control, is optional. MRC applies electrical current to a coil in the damper's piston, thus varying the viscosity of the fluid, which holds iron particles.
Styling features include a V-shaped grille and chiseled vertical taillamps. The SRX's 116-inch wheelbase is 9 inches longer than the Lexus RX 330's. The SRX is nearly 9 inches longer overall, too. Weight distribution approaches 50/50, front to rear.
Seven occupants can fit inside when an optional, powered, flip-folding third-row seat is installed. Without it, capacity is five. All passengers sit higher in the SRX than in a luxury sedan but lower than occupants in a typical SUV.
An optional UltraView roof offers 5.6 square feet of open space above the first and second rows. The available UltraView Plus setup adds a fixed glass roof over the third row, complete with a power sunshade.
Maximum cargo volume totals 69.5 cubic feet versus the Lexus RX 330's nearly 85 cubic feet. Side storage bins are installed in the cargo area. GM's OnStar communication system is standard. Available features include a navigation system, XM Satellite Radio and a backseat DVD-based entertainment system.
Under the Hood
Both a V-6 and V-8 engine are available, and each features variable valve timing. The 3.6-liter V-6 produces 260 horsepower and 254 pounds-feet of torque. Cadillac's 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 generates 320 hp and 315 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines team with a five-speed-automatic transmission that incorporates Driver Shift Control for manually selected gear changes.
Cadillac's all-wheel-drive system relies on the traction-control system to shift torque from the wheels that are slipping to those that have grip. In normal driving, torque is split 50/50, front to rear.
GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system and four-channel antilock brakes with brake assist are standard. Side-impact airbags mounted in the backrests of the front seats provide torso protection, while side curtain-type airbags protect the heads of outboard occupants in the first two rows.