The Truth About Cars » SRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:33:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » SRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Cadillac Aiming For RWD Flagship, New SRX In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-aiming-rwd-flagship-new-srx-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-aiming-rwd-flagship-new-srx-2015/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893962 Trailing behind premium powerhouses BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in annual U.S. sales thus far in 2014, Cadillac is planning a two-pronged counterattack for 2015. Bloomberg reports chief engineer Dave Leone informed reporters at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that Cadillac will unveil a top-of-the-line RWD vehicle similar to the 2013 Elmiraj Concept, as well […]

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2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

Trailing behind premium powerhouses BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in annual U.S. sales thus far in 2014, Cadillac is planning a two-pronged counterattack for 2015.

Bloomberg reports chief engineer Dave Leone informed reporters at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that Cadillac will unveil a top-of-the-line RWD vehicle similar to the 2013 Elmiraj Concept, as well as a redesigned SRX. An ATS-V is also in the works, according to Leone.

Speaking of the ATS, the compact vehicle has been leading the brand’s overall sales decline alongside the behemoth XTS, both falling down 20 percent through the end of July. Meanwhile, the SRX is doing well for itself, with sales climbing 16 percent in the same period for the premium crossover.

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2016 Cadillac SRX May See Local Production In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-cadillac-srx-may-see-local-production-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-cadillac-srx-may-see-local-production-in-china/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862161 On the strength of rising SUV sales in China, General Motors will likely add production of its next-generation Cadillac SRX in the emerging market in order to better capitalize on said sales. The Wall Street Journal reports Cadillac as a whole is doing well in China, sales rising 72 percent from January through May 2014 […]

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01-2013-cadillac-srx-ny

On the strength of rising SUV sales in China, General Motors will likely add production of its next-generation Cadillac SRX in the emerging market in order to better capitalize on said sales.

The Wall Street Journal reports Cadillac as a whole is doing well in China, sales rising 72 percent from January through May 2014 to 33,760 units with the SRX making up the bulk of those sales at 14,496 units, a rise of 23 percent for the crossover in the same five-month period compared to 2013. The current model goes for ¥420,000 ($67,770 USD), and has been on sale in China since 2009.

The new SRX would likely arrive as a 2016 model, with the hope Chinese production would help the automaker avoid tariffs on imported models; the crossover is only assembled in Mexico at the present. GM itself has big plans for its premium brand, including a $1.3 billion plant in Shanghai, and a goal of 300,000 units sold/10 percent share of China’s premium market by 2020.

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GM Saved From ‘Park It Now’ Order, Looks To Strengthen Liability Protections http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-saved-from-park-it-now-order-looks-to-strengthen-liability-protections/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-saved-from-park-it-now-order-looks-to-strengthen-liability-protections/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=804122 The Detroit News reports U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos delivered a six-page ruling in favor of General Motors, saving the automaker from issuing a “park it now” order that would have proved costly both financially and in reputation. Had the order gone forward, it would have set a precedent that not even the National […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

The Detroit News reports U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos delivered a six-page ruling in favor of General Motors, saving the automaker from issuing a “park it now” order that would have proved costly both financially and in reputation. Had the order gone forward, it would have set a precedent that not even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could attempt in its limited penalty power. The attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit for the order, Robert Hilliard, may appeal.

In other legal news, GM has filed a request with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco to prevent lawsuits filed against the automaker in recall-related incidents prior to the 2009 exit from bankruptcy, reinforcing the liability protections established during the bankruptcy proceedings. GM is currently facing 41 separate lawsuits from 19 U.S. district courts, which may be consolidated into a single venue by a judicial panel in the early stages. The bankruptcy court in New York will rule on jurisdiction April 25.

Autoblog reports CEO Mary Barra will create a new group within the company to be headed by vice president of global product development Mark Reuss that will work with vice president of global vehicle safety Jeff Boyer in monitoring new products for potential safety concerns. Barra also addressed the suspension of engineers Gary Altman and Ray DeGiorgio during her 2014 NYIAS eve announcement:

Let me be really clear, these are real people with real careers, and I’m personally dedicated to making sure we have true facts of what happened… We agonized over that decision, but we thought that was the right thing for the individuals and right thing for the company at this time.

The Detroit News adds North America president Alan Bately, speaking before analysts and investors at the 2014 New York Auto Summit during the 2014 New York Auto Show Wednesday, proclaimed his employer was focused on safety, citing the Chevrolet Trax’s standard rearview camera as an example. When asked about the recall and whether money would be set aside to handle warranty and liability claims down the road, however, Bately said that until internal investigator Anton Valakus completed his work, GM wouldn’t have any answers to offer.

Meanwhile, the myriad of documents delivered to Congress and the NHTSA this week threw more fuel to the smoldering recall crisis when it was revealed GM and supplier Delphi redesigned an ignition switch on the Cadillac SRX prior to production in February 2006 after test drivers accidentally bumped the ignition out of power in a manner similar to the switch at the heart of the recall, which didn’t see a redesign until April of the same year. GM added that the expanded recall of 2008 – 2011 vehicles affected by the out-of-spec switch would cost the automaker $40 million, and that 109 vehicles not under the recall may have received the defective part, as well.

Finally, Fortune magazine senior editor-in-chief Allan Sloan posits that Barra was thrown under the bus GM built in the 13 years prior to then-CEO Dan Akerson passing the torch to her late last year. He also suggests that instead of the federal government, the media and the general public taking her to task for everything wrong with GM as of late, blame should be laid at the feet of the correct people involved in setting the stage: Rick Wagoner, Ed Whitacre and Akerson.

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New or Used: Being a Parent…to your Parent http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-being-a-parent-to-your-parent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-being-a-parent-to-your-parent/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 16:14:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423593   TTAC Commentator Jimal writes: Sajeev and Steve, I have one of those quandaries that most adults will go through sooner or later in life and I figured I would tap into you and the B&B for suggestions. My father passed away recently after a long illness and I’m helping my mother with settling his […]

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TTAC Commentator Jimal writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

I have one of those quandaries that most adults will go through sooner or later in life and I figured I would tap into you and the B&B for suggestions. My father passed away recently after a long illness and I’m helping my mother with settling his estate; cleaning up finances, etc. Among the things my father left behind were his 2005 Buick LeSabre, which my mother hates, and her cherished 1996 4-door Chevy Blazer.

They bought the Blazer new and 14 years and 170k miles later it owes my mom nothing. The problem is it is a ticking time bomb. My mother realizes this and realizes that they don’t quite make SUVs like that Blazer anymore. Our (my) plan is to sell the Blazer on the front lawn and either trade in the Buick or put it on the lawn for some down payment money for something.

My first question is what CUV built today would be the best replacement for my mother’s beloved Blazer? Because my father was a GM retiree, my mother is eligible for the GM Family First discount and the Chevy Equinox is high on my list, although depending on how much the bankruptcy screwed my mother (my dad was salaried and not protected during the C11 like the UAW members were) we may or may not want to support the General going forward. I’ve also looked at the Tiguan, the Journey and the Flex. She prefers American nameplates; the VW is my idea. I don’t know that anything Asian will fly, otherwise a CX-7 would be on the short list.

My second question is about the wisdom of leasing in this particular situation. My mother takes care of her vehicles (hello? 170k Blazer) and she’s not going to be driving long distances. To me the advantages of having a new vehicle before the old one is out of warranty outweigh the equity issues. I’m finding the lease to be a hard sell for my mother because my father had a bad experience with it on the Olds Achieva the Blazer replaced.

Steve Answers:

Older folks usually prefer to buy a familiar product. The less they care about the product, the more this usually rings true.

My mom is a prime example. She has owned a Camry for 10 years and now wants a new vehicle. My brother said ‘Let’s have her go see some Volvos.’ Well, she didn’t like any of them.

Then I said, “Well, maybe she would be happier in a Toyota Matrix. The seats a bit higher so that will help her with getting in and out of the vehicle. Plus it’s an easier car to drive.” My mom tried the Matrix and hated it too.

Finally, my mom drives the new Camry. She loves it. Why? Because everything is already familiar to her. Plus it now has a rear camera, navigation, and 10 airbags. She likes all of those things. To be frank though, she would still buy the new Camry even if it was still the exact same vehicle she drives now.

Go buy her an Equinox. Sell the other two vehicles for cash and use the family discount to get her a vehicle she can enjoy for the long haul.

Sajeev Answers:

The short answer is to stick with American or Japanese nameplates for a long term owner like your Mom. Buying a VW for this length of time is not worth it, unless you want to be one of the unwitting souls who tells the world the latest crop German vehicles have finally overcome a decade of being a below average value proposition! I wouldn’t want to be the person holding their breath for that.

German cars are for leasing only…and I don’t see your mother wanting or needing that. Buy, don’t lease. Buy American, it’s important to her. The Equinox, Traverse, Flex and Edge are great. Supposedly the new Journey is good value and a quality design, I haven’t driven it yet to know for sure. You need some quality time with Mom doing the Test Drive thing, make it a fun outing with a nice lunch too.

Like Steve said, this is a GM family and she likes GM products. Nothing wrong with that. Honestly I would put her in a Buick Enclave: the size is a bit much, but the luxury and style might be a great choice. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something nice in circumstances like these. And how often do we get to say that around here?

Seriously, tell her she’s worth a Buick Enclave. As long as she likes sitting in it, enjoys the road test, etc. make it happen for her.

EDIT: on second thought, why not a new Caddy SRX? It’s smaller than the Enclave (which could be a good thing for her), and it’s a friggin Caddy.  Get her an SRX!

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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SRX Gets 3.6 Fix http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/srx-gets-3-6-fix/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/srx-gets-3-6-fix/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2011 22:46:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=391045 Back in January, when news broke that GM would be pulling its 2.8T V6 from the Cadillac lineup, I reckoned that Cadillac needs to figure out if it wants to keep its SRX saddled to an underwhelming engine, or if it wants to add its widely-lauded 3.6 direct injection V6 to the SRX lineup. And […]

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Back in January, when news broke that GM would be pulling its 2.8T V6 from the Cadillac lineup, I reckoned that

Cadillac needs to figure out if it wants to keep its SRX saddled to an underwhelming engine, or if it wants to add its widely-lauded 3.6 direct injection V6 to the SRX lineup.

And you know what? Cadillac made the right call (or at least the obvious one). But will GM seal the deal and drop the unloved 3.0?

Marketing VP Don Butler says the the addition of the 3.6

will make the SRX more responsive for passing on the highway, entering freeways from on-ramps and climbing hills

while revealing that

EPA fuel economy ratings have not been finalized, but Cadillac expects the SRX to provide customers with comparable real-world fuel efficiency. The current engine has an EPA rating of 18 city/25 highway mpg.

Though Cadillac’s press release wording is less than explicit, there’s some precedent here. In the 2010 model year, the Buick LaCrosse was available with both the 3.0 and 3.6, and the 3.0 was rated one MPG worse on the highway (17/26 compared to 17/27). For 2011, the 3.0 has been dropped from the LaCrosse and for 2012, a mild hybrid is being added to the lineup… look for a similar progression under the SRX’s hood.

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Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-cadillac-srx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-cadillac-srx/#comments Fri, 04 Jun 2010 18:27:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=358146 Figuratively as well as literally, Bob Lutz’s work at GM is now done. Shortly before the towers fell (it seems so long ago) Rick Wagoner answered many an auto journalist’s prayers by recruiting the living legend to dramatically improve the company’s product development process and the cars it yields. In retiring (not for the first […]

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Figuratively as well as literally, Bob Lutz’s work at GM is now done. Shortly before the towers fell (it seems so long ago) Rick Wagoner answered many an auto journalist’s prayers by recruiting the living legend to dramatically improve the company’s product development process and the cars it yields. In retiring (not for the first time, but probably for the last time), Lutz has declared this mission accomplished, with GM’s latest cars as proof. The Cadillac SRX 2.8 turbo is the most expensive—and so least cost-constrained—of these new cars. What does it tell us about what Lutz was able to accomplish, and about what work remains?

Historically, the “car guys” within the auto makers have been engineers. And yet Lutz, often proclaimed the ultimate “car guy,” started out in sales and marketing. No matter. Upon arriving at GM, he reduced the power of both marketing and engineering in favor of design. Marketers with questionable taste would no longer interfere. Engineers would no longer decide what could and could not be done. Designers would once again be free to execute their visions. So, if nothing else, the new SRX should look a lot better than the old one.

Not that this was a high bar to clear. Constraints imposed by borrowing heavily from the CTS sedan weren’t the only challenges faces by the designers of the original SRX. It was conceived in cluelessness, with even the vehicle’s basic proportions subject to much doubt. Lexus with its pioneering RX had opted for the chunkiness of an SUV. Should Cadillac do the same, or make the most of a rear-wheel-drive chassis with a longer, lower, more wagon-like shape? Ultimately they opted for the road less traveled—a route even the purveyor of ultimate driving machines dared not take—and paid the price. The original Cadillac SRX won buff book comparison tests. But it did not win the comparison tests that really mattered, and was greatly outsold by the Lexus.

Cadillac didn’t repeat this mistake (yet). For the second-generation SRX it has essentially taken the Lexus RX—chunky proportions, front-wheel-drive platform—and styled it like a Cadillac. Copy cat, cop out, or simply the right way to go? Perhaps all three—they’re not mutually exclusive.

With the new SRX, Cadillac has successfully transferred its Stealth fighter-influenced “art and science” aesthetic to the proportions people clearly prefer in a crossover. This is post-Lutz art and science, so the original’s severe forms have been softened to add some conventional beauty to the mix, but it’s still bolder than the competition and distinctively Cadillac. Look closely at the tail lights for a tasteful homage to the tasteless fins of Cadillac’s glory days. A caveat: wheels make a huge difference. Eighteens, the standard size, never looked so small. This exterior demands the optional 20s. Because of its proportions and those large wheels, the SRX looks like a compact crossover. But don’t let your eyes fool you—with an overall length of 190.3 inches, it’s even a few inches longer than the clearly midsize Lexus RX and Lincoln MKX, and about eight inches longer than the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60.

You can save a bundle by opting for the roomier Chevrolet Equinox or GMC Terrain. But the extra cash for the Cadillac doesn’t only buy a more prestigious badge. The SRX is a half-sib to the mainstream crossovers, sharing some platform bits but not others. It does share a premium platform with the upcoming Saab 9-4X, and even the sound when closing the doors suggests that the Cadillac is a different class of vehicle.

Lutz wasn’t always a champion of interior quality. Under his watch Chrysler cranked out some of the industry’s chintziest cabins. But he saw the light between gigs, and Cadillac benefited most of all. With an upholstered IP, real wood trim, aromatic leather, and snazzy red, white, and blue instrument cluster, the new SRX is far nicer inside than the Equinox and Terrain. As it ought to be. This said, some of the knobs would benefit from a more premium surface and feel. Beyond materials, this is an attractively styled interior, with numerous artfully interesting details.

If only as much thought had gone into the driving position and seats as appears to have gone into the instrument cluster. As in other recent GM designs, the pillars are massive, the base of the windshield is in another timezone, and the beltline is relatively high. Consequences of giving the designers free rein? The beltline and raked windshield, most likely. But surely the A-pillars aren’t monstrous for aesthetic reasons. Or simply for safety reasons—those in the Volvo XC60 are much thinner. So why are they so thick? Bean counters deny requests for the highest strength steel? The engineers would have preferred thinner pillars, so something got in their way and was allowed to stay in their way. Thin pillars must not be a Lutz priority.

Positioning the IP and windshield so far away does enhance perceived roominess. But it also makes the SRX feel larger and less agile, an attribute which, Lutz or no Lutz, continues to typify GM vehicles. Add in the high rising beltline and thick pillars, and visibility from the driver’s seat—a key reason people buy this class of vehicle—isn’t up to the class norm. For backing up you’ll want the optional rearview monitor. An around-view monitor like that offered in Infiniti’s crossovers would provide a more complete picture of what’s going on outside the bunker.

Like those in the CTS, the SRX’s front seats don’t quite feel like luxury car seats. They’re too small and too firm for a luxury vehicle role, yet the bolsters are too widely spaced for a more sporting role. A deal killer for some physiques: the rock hard headrests jut far forward in the interest of whiplash protection. Competitors somehow avoid taking such extreme measures.

Rear seat passengers can get more amenities here than in an Equinox or Terrain, including climate controlled rear air vents and seat heaters. What they don’t get: as much rear legroom as in the Theta twins. And yet there’s still considerably more than most direct competitors offer. Unfortunately, the spec sheet isn’t everything. Many competitors have more comfortably positioned and shaped rear seats. Children also have an easier time seeing out of other crossovers; younger ones will find their view limited to treetops in the SRX. Then again, in an SRX with the optional dual screen video system they won’t be looking out the windows anyway. Cargo volume is competitive. A U-shaped rail for securing cargo looks nifty, but what’s the functional benefit?

The SRX’s standard 3.0-liter V6 kicks out 265 horsepower—at 6,950 RPM. The torque peak, where a much less impressive 223 foot-pounds reside, is a similarly lofty 5,100 RPM. Similar figures amazed the world two decades ago in the Acura NSX. And GM’s new 3.0 might have dazzled in a reworked Kappa sports car. But in a 4,200-pound SUV (4,400 with AWD) it’s out of its element. One gets the impression that GM had a much lower curb weight target for the new SRX (and a number of other recent vehicles), and then missed it by a few hundred pounds—not the sign of a well-functioning product development system. For the 2011 model year, GM has seen the light and yanked this engine from the similarly hefty Buick LaCrosse AWD in favor of the much stronger yet equally efficient 3.6. But the 3.0 soldiers on in the SRX, perhaps because a 3.6 would step on the toes of the optional 2.8-liter turbo.

The 295-horsepower 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 accords itself fairly well in the SRX. Because of the mass it must propel this engine never feels especially strong, but unlike the 3.0 it never feels sluggish or strained, either. Only those paying very close attention will be aware that the engine is boosted. Throttle response isn’t as sharp as it is in the best naturally aspirated engines, and there’s some surging and lulling under light throttle, but boost lag isn’t readily evident. Neither is torque steer—the boosted engine is only available with all-wheel-drive. Fuel economy ranged from 16 MPG in moderately aggressive driving to nearly 20 in casual mixed driving.

The biggest problem with the turbocharged engine: it adds $3,820 to the SRX’s price yet provides only marginally competitive performance and fuel economy in return. For this kind of cash GM should be offering a turbocharged 3.6 with specs like those of Lincoln’s EcoBoost 3.5. In which case a naturally aspirated 3.6 would make a fine base engine. The closest competitors are all fitted with 3.5s for a reason. Where was Lutz’s “car guy” influence when GM was specifying the SRX’s engines? Did he save his love for the Vs?

With the move from the old rear-drive platform to the new front-driver, handling clearly wasn’t going to be a top priority. After all, class-leading handling didn’t do much to make the original SRX a success. And so the SRX meets low expectations here. Steering effort isn’t too light, but nevertheless the overly large, overly thick steering wheel (Lutz’s personal preference?) communicates zero road feel. Need feedback? Turn the wheel and see how much the world beyond the distant windshield rotates. Between the “wide open spaces” driving position and this steering you can forget about forming an intimate connection with this machine. Whether he intended to or not, Lutz doesn’t appear to have done much to make GM’s cars more involving.

A shame, because in other ways GM’s suspension engineers have done surprisingly well with the hand they were dealt. The new SRX’s chassis feels more poised and tightly controlled than that of a Lexus RX, and leans less in turns. An active rear differential helps compensate for the SRX turbo’s 57/43 weight distribution by shunting torque to the outside wheel in turns, but just enough to keep understeer at bay. As in other GM applications of the trick diff you’ll need a loose road surface to induce oversteer via the throttle. This system is not nearly as entertaining as Acura’s SH-AWD system.

Even with the 20-inch wheels the SRX’s ride is absorbent, yet without the bobbling or floatiness that often afflicts softly-suspended SUVs. This outstanding ride-handling compromise might be partly due to the adaptive shocks included with all-wheel-drive on the top two trim levels (also the only trim levels where the turbo engine is offered). Noise levels are very low, but the quality of sound within a Lexus seems just beyond the grasp of GM’s engineers. It’s not just a matter of the sounds you keep out. You also need to let just enough of the right sounds in.

The first SRX proved that driving enthusiasts weren’t a profitable target. So as much as such enthusiasts would like a turbo 3.6 with more communicative steering and more supportive seats, these didn’t happen even with a “car guy” running the show, and aren’t likely to appear in the future. Instead, the new SRX logically pursues the non-enthusiasts who have been buying the Lexus RX, Acura MDX, and Lincoln MKX (yes, lots of X at this party). With product development funds running short, Cadillac wasn’t swinging for the fences this time around; in most respects they aimed for, and achieved, “good enough.”

What, then, will lead buyers to overlook the subpar visibility and opt for Cadillac’s brand of X? In the end, where is Lutz’s influence most evident? Not in anything that requires especially close cross-functional collaboration. Instead, the strengths of the new SRX are in styling and in interior ambiance, signs of a new GM where the designers lead and everyone else “makes it work.” Cadillac’s past successes often followed from prioritizing styling over practical considerations. Does the world now demand more thoroughly integrated and optimized vehicles, or will this work in their favor once again?

Cadillac provided the press-fleet vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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Cadillac: In With The New, And Let’s Keep The Old Stuff Too http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/cadillac-in-with-the-new-and-lets-keep-the-old-stuff-too/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/cadillac-in-with-the-new-and-lets-keep-the-old-stuff-too/#comments Tue, 22 Dec 2009 19:50:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=339945 Cadillac is showing off this teaser of its XTS concept, previewing the look of its forthcoming “flagship.” It’s edgy, it’s wedgy… too bad it’s almost certainly another Epsi-II variant in a GM lineup that hardly needs another. And while Cadillac keeps GM’s perpetual tease going, it’s come to our attention that the brand has become […]

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The Cadillac XTS ConceptCadillac is showing off this teaser of its XTS concept, previewing the look of its forthcoming “flagship.” It’s edgy, it’s wedgy… too bad it’s almost certainly another Epsi-II variant in a GM lineup that hardly needs another. And while Cadillac keeps GM’s perpetual tease going, it’s come to our attention that the brand has become the carrier of a now-expired GM legacy, visible after the jump.

Courtesy: @joelfeder

Cadillac’s SRX, by virtue of being released just before the Chevrolet Equinox, is the last GM vehicle to bear the now-extinct “Mark of Excellence,” a fact that had escaped us thus far [Hat Tip: Twitter's Joel Feder]. And as a new 2010 model, those two nasty letters will grace the Caddy CUV for years to come. Sure, some vehicle had to be the last to bear the badge of pre-bankruptcy corporate pride, but how inappropriate is it that GM’s luxury brand is the last one wearing The General’s chiclet?

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Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX V6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/review-2010-cadillac-srx-v6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/review-2010-cadillac-srx-v6/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2009 16:53:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336023 Since day one, the Cadillac SRX was a desperate underdog looking to dethrone the Lexus RX: Middle America’s CUV of choice. But the SRX was a muscular macho machine and the Lexus is an overstuffed Camry Wagon. Now, with a more mundane blueprint, Cadillac believes their latest SRX utility is “the new standard for luxury […]

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(courtesy:Jalopnik)

Since day one, the Cadillac SRX was a desperate underdog looking to dethrone the Lexus RX: Middle America’s CUV of choice. But the SRX was a muscular macho machine and the Lexus is an overstuffed Camry Wagon. Now, with a more mundane blueprint, Cadillac believes their latest SRX utility is “the new standard for luxury crossovers.” Plus, as the promotional material claims, it’s also the Cadillac of Crossovers. Whoa dude: what standard are they holding themselves to, and does anyone still believe Cadillac is the ultimate word in luxury?

Starting from the greenwashed Provoq concept of 2008, the SRX is the nicest interpretation of the brand’s jarring Art and Science aesthetic. The bumper’s pronounced wedge flows logically into Cadillac’s corporate grille and stacked headlight clusters. The fastback roofline drops behind the B-pillar, yet passenger ingress/egress isn’t affected. And while the large D-pillar and tailfin-esque rear lighting pods are undoubtedly Cadillac, something looks wrong.

2010_cadillac_srx_rearGM Theta Platform uber alles: the wrong-wheel drive architectural hard points mean last year’s muscle makes way for clumsy and un-American. The side profile’s swage line works, until it draws you to the solid ventiports that don’t bother with a misleading grille. Even worse, it sports a GM Mark of Excellence logo that won’t come off with a screwdriver and WD-40. The tall front fenders are pure import-wannabe, with fake greenhouse extensions giving the illusion of a vehicle with a more unique blueprint. At least the optional 20-inch, six-lug hoops provide a tough stance, even if the dual exhausts look better than they sound.

But go inside, getting back to Cadillac’s “new standard” for the CUV-genre. The center stack is an upscale affair, even with DNA shared with lesser GM products. Too bad adjusting the long toothed vent registers creates more flex than the sails on a vintage racing boat in a typhoon. The door’s rich wood paneling is denied access to the dour dashboard and overwrought, plasticized console. Yet the SRX’s front buckets truly disappoint: the driver’s seat bottom has respectable bolstering and an M-series worthy pull out thigh support, but the passenger gets a hunk of foam with the consistency of a half-melted marshmallow. Then I clocked the badge on the tiller: this is supposed to be a Caddy?

But the SRX occasionally raises the bar: witness the multi-information panel in the speedometer. The HDMI-worthy resolution screen, clear interface and beautiful graphics at start-up are a clear winner for any car, at any price. The jeweled edges to the cluster double as redundant turn signal indicators: the green arrows of conventional wisdom meet their match, even if Cadillac retained them for the un-intuitive.

While the 3D graphics on the (optional) navigation system are ergo-friendly and work sans i-Drive interface, the BOSE beat box lacks the imaging qualities of the Lincoln MKX’s bullhorn-esque rear THX tweeters and the awesome thump of Lexus’ Mark Levinson-fettled cabins.

Not all is lost elsewhere. The SRX shines on the open road, though safe passage in a parking lot is no small feat with forward leaning, thick A-pillars blocking views of curbs, strollers and 2010_cadillac_SRX_intsubcompacts. Smooth roads exploit negligible body roll at sane speeds. The whole experience is Teutonic, with less tendency to understeer than a car, much less the roly-poly Lexus RX. But the hydraulic based steering gear was a surprise: excellent on-center feel and brilliant communication in fast sweepers. So Cadillac made quite the corner carver. You know, for a CUV.

And the excuses continue underhood, as the 3.0L direct-injected V6 makes adequate thrust, provided stoplight drags with the RX350 aren’t in your future. On the plus side, torque steer (with 223lb-ft) on the 4300lb Caddy is a non-issue. While a smaller displacement, turbocharged and all-wheel drive alternative is en route later this year, Cadillac is going about this incorrectly: why go smaller and busier when a V8 is the logical choice?

Oh, that’s right: global designs, cost savings and all that jive. So the SRX makes due with everyone else’s engineering, rearing its ugly head in ride comfort. While road noise is Lexian at speeds, the big wheels, firm dampeners and clumsy CUV stance make for a crude ride on pothole-soaked urban roads. Forget about wafting like a real Caddy, the SRX has nothing on the RX350. And this grip/comfort trade off is reverse Viagra for the average CUV buyer.

Plus, with nearly a 20 cu-ft deficit in cargo space, the Lexus RX’s perennial success remains untouchable. Cadillac is a brand in desperation: from the standard leatherette interior to the gutless engine, the SRX looks for signs of life via blueprints from the best (worst?) intentions of others. So GM’s top brand is doomed to live in a Lexus-shaped shadow until they grow a pair, investing in a unique platform. And sweat every last detail in the process.

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