2010 Cadillac SRX fwd Premium Collection review: Driving Cadillac back

2010 Cadillac SRX 2010 Premium

2010 Cadillac SRX 2010 Premium Collection

With a huge Cadillac wreath-and-crest logo on the eggcrate grille, there’s no hiding that the 2010 Cadillac SRX is indeed a Cadillac. Perhaps that’s ostentatious. Or it could be seen as bold…and not as large as the three-pointed star on the bow of some Mercedes-Benz models.

No, we’d rather think that Cadillac is proud of a remarkable luxury crossover, enough so that the 2010 Cadillac has placed the wreath-and-crest not only on the usual places–such as on the center of the 20-inch wheels and the also-large wreath-and-crest on the lift gate–but also a tiny wreath-and-crest inside the huge plastic dome over an intricate and expansive headlight complex. One needs to look to see it, but it’s there.

Of course, quality doesn’t come from slapping on badges like flowers on a Hawaiian shirt, but the 2010 Cadillac SRX earns the right to wear the famous logo with the quality–this sounds cheesy but it’s true–that come from within.

2010 Cadillac SRX Premium dash

The dash of the 2010 Cadillac SRX Premium is similar to that of the Cadillac CTS sedan.

Our test 2010 Cadillac SRX was a front wheel drive model with the standard 3.0 V-6 and something called the “Premium Collection.” It sounds like an option package but it’s really trim levels in a program that starts with the base SRX, available only with front-wheel drive but with a base price of $33,330, moving up through a Luxury Collection ($36,910/$39,405 front/all-wheel drive), Performance Collection (with sport suspension and such, $41,350/$44,995 front/all-wheel drive), and Premium Collection ($43, 895/$47,540 front/all-wheel drive).

As such, our test Cadillac SRX Premium Collection included top-of-the-line audio (40 GB hard drive Bose 10-speaker), navigation with rear-view camera, leather heated front and rear seats with front ventilated,  adaptive Xenon headlamps as standard equipment, and added dual-screen DVD player with wireless headphones and remote control for $1,295. With a destination charge of $825, our test Cadillac SRX totaled $46,015.

The 2010 Cadillac SRX is a complete conversion of the previous generation into a much smaller, lighter vehicle, with significantly more influence from the car side of the crossover concept. It’s shorter and lower  and without the pretense of a third row seat that consumes interior volume while contributing little utility. The was impossible to get into third row seating of the old SRX was, unpleasant while there and requiring a Chinese contortionist’s skills to get out of.

2010 Cadillac SRX instrument panel

The data screen in the center of the 2010 Cadillac SRX’s speedometer “scrolls” up or down, depending on how a collar on the turn signal is twisted.

The 2010 Cadillac SRX is sportier, with a lower ride height and even with standard suspension (we haven’t driven the sport suspension so we can’t comment) what we would call a more European handling feel though.

The Cadillac SRX, in fact, will be sold in Europe as a part of GM’s expanding Cadillac’s presence there, and the platform had been intended for use by Saab for the 9-4X, though the fate of that crossover is more tenuous than that of Saab itself.

As this is written, only the 3.0-liter V-6 is available, same variable-valve-timing direct-injection engine that’s the base engine in the Cadillac CTS, though with five less horsepower in Cadillac SRX. The 3.0-liter is a good compromise between power, economy and price. Rated at 265 bhp, with a peak torque of 223 lb-ft that doesn’t max until 5100 rpm, the engine responds to a foot mashed to the floor with the same enthusiasm as in the CTS. The Cadillac SRX is only a couple hundred pounds heavier than the CTS, so while the CTS has the edge, it won’t be by much. We’re not sure Cadillac owners will be indulging in impromptu my-CTS-is-faster-than-your-SRX showdowns, but there you are.