SRX 3.6 V6 AWD Sport Luxury
luxury crossover, has now crossed
over from America. It drives well
on British roads, delivers luxury
and space in a sharply-styled seven-
seat package thats
big on value
and it will get you noticed...
THANKFULLY WE DON'T all like the same things. Which is great news
when it comes to the cars we drive. As much as one might admire, for instance,
the MINI, image a world in which there was only one car to buy
confusing can't begin to describe it. So, while it's easy (and
sometimes downright enjoyable) to criticise what isn't our own personal
choice, it does mean that whoever you are and whatever your taste, there is
likely to be a car that suits you as closely as if you'd had a hand in designing
Cue Cadillac's SUV for Europe, the SRX. It's one of a kind and if you like to
stand out from the crowd then you'll already be hooked on the SRX because you
don't see many of these on UK roads.
For a start, the SRX is undeniably big but given it's American roots,
it's no colossus. And where you may have been expecting 'rapper bling', the
SRX is decidedly restrained. Cadillacs, traditionally, are sharply hewn from
the metal with square-cut looks defined by razor-sharp crease lines as straight
as perfectly-ironed trousers. The SRX complies and its distinctive bodywork,
striking vertical taillights and headlights and V-shaped front tapering into
the classic Cadillac grille give it more than a fair share of road presence.
No danger, then, of missing your 'Caddy' in the car park.
The SRX actually sits lower than you'd expect for a large SUV, adding to the
impression that it's more an XXL size estate. However, the top of its roof is
still level with a six-footer's eyes. Cadillac refers to it as a 'crossover'
or, to use their unedited soundbite: 'a true luxury crossover with the heart
of a sports saloon'. We'll see…
Once inside, first impressions are good. Our test car was a 257bhp 3.6 V6-powered
model in top-grade Sport Luxury trim. The alternative is the same but with a
315bhp 4.6 V8 under the hood… sorry, bonnet.
Sport Luxury specification means a lot of 'comfort and convenience' kit as standard,
including dual-zone automatic climate control air conditioning with a dedicated
rear air conditioning system, cruise control, power adjustable pedal set, electric
front and rear windows that all have auto one-shot up/down, speed-sensitive
power steering, power-folding third row seats, power-operated opening/closing
rear hatch, 8-way electrically-adjustable leather heated (3-stage) seats with
power adjustable lumbar support, a driver's seat memory package, multifunction
steering wheel controls, driver information centre, and radio/CD with 8-speaker
BOSE Premium surround sound audio system, auxiliary port for MP3/iPod connectivity
and in-dash 6-CD autochanger.
Technical kit includes auto-levelling Xenon headlights, heated, power adjustable,
power-folding, auto-dimming door mirrors, 18-inch alloys, rear park assist,
Cadillac's ESP-style StabiliTrak dynamic stability control, ABS, EBD, Emergency
Brake Assist, Traction Control, Magnetic Ride Control real-time variable damping,
a tyre pressure monitoring system, auto-dimming rear view mirror and six airbags
including two full-length curtain airbags.
Bearing in mind the on-the-road price for all this is just £32,100, it's a pretty
tasty deal. Settle back in the roomy command-view chairs and look around the
spacious cabin, where you'll spot plenty of echoes of the angular external design.
But that's no bad thing.
Emphasising the large amount of passenger space is the optional and giant Ultra
View electric glass sunroof. Front to rear it measures 41 inches and it is 24
inches wide. Fully open (a large pop-up wind deflector keeps it wind-roar and
buffet-free at legal motorway speeds), you and your passengers can enjoy open-air
driving. For convenience it has one-shot open/close operation as well as a powered
sunblind, if you really don't feel like catching some rays. That's a lot of
light it's letting in, and it improves the already great environment in which
Darkly-tinted side and rear glass provides privacy for those sitting in the
theatre-style seating behind the driver and his front passenger. The very accommodating
second row seats are 5cm higher than the first row while the third row seats
rise 12cm above the second, resulting in a better view out through the deep
side windows or a better view of the (optional) rear multimedia entertainment
system. Middle-row passengers are especially well catered for with 10cm of fore/aft
travel and a class-leading 10.4cm of legroom.
Seven seats there surely are, but only five are for adults. Note that seats
6 and 7 the rearmost pair are best left to the children. Getting
in and out of these can only be done from the car's offside because only the
second-row seat behind the driver slides for access.
The polished real wood trim an African hardwood called Sapele Pomelle
works well in this particular cabin; probably because there's not too
much of it. Chrome and brushed aluminium highlights are, likewise, restrained
and as a result fit in well and lift the cabin's plastics which, while perfectly
acceptable, are not in the Audi class (few are). Build quality, we should mention,
And there are some neat touches, too, such as the pedal set that slides fore
and aft at the touch of a button and which makes up for a steering wheel that
adjusts for tilt but not for reach. The driver's seat memory function stores
and recalls two sets of personalised settings for seat (including 'easy exit'),
brake/accelerator pedals, mirror and steering wheel positions.
Something else to like is the large degree of customisation available for a
range of functions, from automatic door locking/unlocking/delay, exit/approach
lighting, warning chime volume, parking assist, powered easy exit seat and memory
seat recall and auto dip for the door mirrors (for easier reverse parking)
choose one, both or none.
Other useful information, such as average mpg, tyre pressures and remaining
oil life can easily be called up. There's also lots of room to rest your left
foot beneath the foot-operated parking brake. The SatNav features a touch screen
display and the only thing you need to get used to is the softly-spoken American-accented
female telling you where to go.
Incorporating one of the longest wheelbases in its class (2,957mm) within its
overall almost five metre length (4,950mm) ensures legroom for the front two
rows. When it comes to load lugging, the SRX offers up to 1,968 litres of cargo
space with the rear and 60:40 split middle seats folded down. With just the
rear seats folded into the floor (simply press a button and they disappear automatically
into the floor) cargo volume is still a useful 918 litres.
Used as a seven-seater, the SRX's boot takes 238 litres. The SRX runs on 18-inch
255/55 Michelin Pilot tyres and, should you need it, you'll find a space saver
spare mounted externally under the boot floor. Using the remote, the rear tailgate
also features 'touch button' power opening and closing.
Fire up the engine and move the selector lever out of Park and back into Drive
ignoring for the moment that the SRX also offers clutchless sequential
manual shifting including a Sport mode use your right hand to release
the foot-operated parking brake then it's foot down and away. With 250lb
ft of torque and 257bhp, step-off is a lot sharper than you'd expect from a
five-door, seven-seater that weighs in at two tonnes. For the record, the top
speed is 125mph with 0-62mph acceleration taking 8.1 seconds.
The next big surprise is the shift quality. If you were expecting a typical
American slush 'box you're out of luck. The five-speed auto mated to the 3,564cc
V6 is a smooth operator. Upshifts are clean and unfluffed, giving seamless progress
the only real clue that you've just stepped up another gear is the drop
in the engine note. Downshifts are equally quick and well-timed.
The downside is that you will pay for all this smoothness at the pumps. The
3.6's fuel consumption is, perhaps, too richly American for our European tastes
the official miles-per-gallon figures are 15, 21.1 and 27.7 respectively
for urban, combined and extra-urban. Over a week's mixed road testing we averaged
15.2mpg and it didn't get a lot better: the best we saw was 18.6mpg. Ouch! And
with a 317g/km CO2 emissions figure, road tax is £400 per year.
Not that the SRX's full-time four-wheel drive helps much when it comes to economy.
However, it does add valuable stability in all weather conditions, which is
good news in wet and windy Britain. Its 4x4 system doesn't make the SRX a proper
off-roader in the mould of, say, a Range Rover the Cadillac has neither
the ground clearance nor the low gear ratios for that. But it will obligingly
and happily tow a boat or a horsebox wherever it needs to go, be it across a
soggy field or a slippery slipway.
And there's yet more good news: with a proper independent suspension set-up
beneath the bodywork and Magnetic Ride Control electronically taking care of
the damping (it adjusts 1,000 times a second and is said to be the world's fastest
reacting suspension control system), the big SRX rides fluently. Make no mistake
we're not talking soft or sloppy here. For a big seven-seater, the SRX
demonstrates good grip and decent body control with minimal roll.
It handles in a reassuringly composed manner, at the same time soaking up the
bumps and serving up a very stable and agreeable ride. Add to that effective
sound insulation, and the SRX proves to be a car in which, ensconced in its
big, soft, shapely and supportive seats, you can travel pleasantly all day long.
There's good stopping power, courtesy of the ventilated discs fitted all round.
For such a large car, the SRX has a fairly tight turning circle and the speed-sensitive,
variable-assist power-steering, despite feeling a tad over-assisted, does ensure
the SRX goes where it's pointed.
Reasons for buying this luxury crossover American alternative to a Mercedes
ML-Class or BMW X5 apart from on purely pragmatic costs grounds
include its striking looks and decent handling as much as its seven-seat layout,
generous equipment tally and the fact that it's also comfortable, easy to drive
and a relaxed cruiser. If you hanker after attention then the SRX will generate
that, too admit to owning a Mercedes, BMW or Jaguar these days and they'll
just nod and carry on talking. But mention that you drive a Cadillac and suddenly
you're no longer extraordinarily ordinary! MotorBar
Cadillac SRX 3.6 V6 AWD Sport Luxury | £32,100
Maximum speed: 125mph | 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds | Overall test MPG: 15.2mpg
Power: 257bhp | Torque: 250lb ft | CO2 317g/km | Insurance group 17E