The Cadillac SRX is likely to be the biggest seller in the Americans’ relaunched range of cars for Europe. It’s a crossover sized around the Volvo XC90, but this time round the new Caddy SRX has just two rows of seats; they’ve listened to criticism of the last SRX (which sported seven seats in three rows) and tried to make this one less like a jacked-up station wagon and more like a crossover.
While some may rue the loss of practicality that entails, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is in fact a very roomy thing. The boot is flat and equipped with Saab-style aluminium luggage rails; the floor is quite high up, but there’s a handy cubby hole beneath and the bootlid is operated electrically from the keyfob, driver’s chair or back door. Those rear seats fold flat with a clever action, the seat base automatically folding as you lower the backrest.
So the 2010 Cadillac SRX is practical. Space for bodies too?
Yep. There’s no transmission tunnel at all, making rear access very easy. You can easily get three adults to sit in the back: there’s plenty of head- and legroom and a good view out. Unlike other Cadillacs we’ve driven recently, the materials used in the rear compartment are decent quality too.
The front seats are let down by a few cheaper shots, however. The ashtray behind the gearlever is flimsier than a child’s papier mache half-term project and the chocolate trim in our test car was all pervasive. At least most of the cabin borrows the better quality trim and switchgear from the CTS.
How does the new Cadillac SRX drive?
Really quite well. While the Escalade feels like a product of the 1980s, the SRX feels much more competitive. The Luxembourg test route of the launch sported surprisingly smooth roads, but the SRX nonetheless rides well. There’s a sophisticated feel to the bump absorption and the SRX handles in a benign way. It’s far from the best in class dynamically, but it certainly feels up there with the likes of the Volvo XC90.
The SRX comes with only one choice of engine: a 3.0-litre petrol V6. Yes, that limits its appeal enormously in Europe, where you may as well lurk in the shadowy fringes unless you offer diesel power.
It doesn’t feel that fast a performer, despite the figures promising 0-62mph in 8.4sec. This is a heavy car at nearly 1.9 tonnes and the drivetrain conspires against the SRX. The six-speed auto transmisison is very badly tuned, and the merest flex of a toe seems to send the ‘box hunting and the revs soaring. It really ruined the driving experience for me.
There’s no getting away from the fact that a diesel with a lazier, torquier delivery would suit the SRX better. At least the traction is strong, with four-wheel drive standard and a planted stance even on slippery, hilly roads.
Would you consider a Cadillac SRX over established European players? To be honest, you probably wouldn’t if we told you it will be sold only in left-hand drive, from a sole UK dealership and only in petrol form.
It’s a chicken-and-egg situation. Cadillac says it can’t invest in such conversions unless sales in Europe justify the cost. Last year Caddy sold 31 SRX crossovers in the UK. Despite some real merit, it’s hard to see that number climbing hugely this time round.