Cadillac SRX (2006) review

Published:25 August 2006

Cadillac SRX (2006) review
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 2 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5

Hmmm, this looks like the dictionary definition of a Yank tank...

The SRX is nearly as long as a Range Rover and weighs well over two tonnes, so it's hardly compact. But you ain't seen nothing yet. Compared with its obese brother, the Escalade ESV (2696kg and 5.6metres long), the SRX might seem a bit on the diminutive side. It's also over here for the first time. The SRX is offered in left hand drive only and with a choice of 3.5-litre V6 or 4.6-litre V8 (tested here), seven seats and more kit than Chelsea.

So what is it?

Cadillac calls it a crossover - part estate car, part 4x4. The former's more convincing than the latter. It's a proper seven seater with good head and legroom and easily enough space to carry odds and ends. The boot is massive and with the seats fold down you could fit most of DFS in there. The four-wheel drive system is brutal but effective but the fragile-feeling suspension and meagre ground clearance knocks any cliff-scaling aspirations on the head. But then it could always tow the mountain behind it. Underneath is a mighty 4.5-litre Northstar V8 engine developing 325bhp and 315lb ft of torque - enough to blast the SRX to 62mph in a scarcely believable 7.4sec. That's only 0.2secs off a VW Golf GTI. The flipside to such energetic driving is economy hovering in the mid-teens and CO2 figures normally associated with products from Boeing.

It's fast but is it fun?

Fast yes, fun no. Despite the ludicrous acceleration the rest of the SRX can't quite keep up. The damping struggles to keep all that mass in check, the SRX bounces around instead as it becomes unsettled by bumps and rises in the road. The steering is vague and over assisted and the brakes lack the bite to really haul the SRX to a stop with conviction. What it does do very well however is cruising. The SRX is brilliant for motorway driving, it's quiet, the ride is smooth, the seats are more comfortable than the ones in my living room and the torque of that Northstar V8 means it cruises on tickover.

What's it like inside?

The squashy leather seats envelop you into a world of shiny wood and vaguely familiar bits from other GM products. Some of the plastics are poor and the general design is messy compared to European products but it's nevertheless very comfortable. The stereo is so loud you start to fear for the integrity of your skull and the air-con chills the mammoth cabin with alarming efficiency. Despite dark trim it actually feels very airy inside the SRX thanks to the huge sunroof.

Anything else?

The V6 model is the better choice of the two petrol engines. It’s very nearly as quick, £10,100 cheaper than the V8 we tested and comes packed with kit. Unbelievably the V6 is actually less efficient than the V8 with a combined economy figure of 19.2mpg (compared to 20.2mpg).

Verdict

Huge, flawed and surprisingly fast. It makes perfect sense in the US but in the UK where the roads are narrow and twisty, and fuel costs spiral ever upwards, it makes less sense. It's an awful lot of car for the money and a cushy way of killing motorway miles there is but its horrendous emissions and the inherent tax would be crippling.

Specs

Price when new: £27,995
On sale in the UK:
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Transmission:
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  • Cadillac SRX (2006) review
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  • Cadillac SRX (2006) review
  • Cadillac SRX (2006) review
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