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Expert Reviews 3 of 5
By Anita And Paul Lienert
The Detroit News
October 29, 2003
Despite cheesy interior, Caddy SRX impresses With the exception of Lincoln, Cadillac appears to be virtually the last premium brand to bring a crossover utility vehicle to market in North America. Its all-new 2004 SRX joins an overcrowded
segment already populated with some formidable competitors that wear such familiar labels as Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The old industry chestnut about "last to market, best to market" is only partly true in the case of Cadillac. The SRX is a
remarkable and capable vehicle -- but is not without flaws. We tested a very well equipped V-8 model with a sticker of $58,140. HE: It was sheer coincidence that we tested the new Volkswagen Touareg and the Cadillac SRX back to back -- but it
raises an interesting question. What if you could order an SRX body and chassis with a Touareg cabin? SHE: You've always been into mixing and matching, some times unintentionally. Remember the day you went to work with one black shoe and one brown
one? HE: I was just testing you. But I'm serious. I wouldn't say the SRX is the prettiest crossover vehicle out there, but it certainly has the most distinctive design, one that perfectly embodies the evolving Cadillac family look, which is very
angular and chiseled. Like it or not, there's no mistaking the SRX for anything but a Cadillac. But the chassis and driveline are also among the best we've tested. This is a remarkably competent vehicle in all kinds of weather, on all kinds of surfaces,
thanks to some very sophisticated chassis technology. But it comes at a price. SHE: I tested the SRX last winter up in northern Michigan, and was impressed by how well it negotiated really slippery, snowy roads, thanks to standard features like
stability and traction control and speed-sensitive power steering. The vehicle we just tested here in the Detroit area was also equipped with Cadillac's optional Magnetic Ride Control, which is bundled into a $7,145 package that includes all-wheel drive,
a DVD navigation system, a Bose audio system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer plus high-intensity-discharge headlamps. It has to be one of the smoothest-riding utility vehicles we've driven this year. HE: I am so impressed by the capability of the
SRX, including that powerful and wonderfully responsive Northstar 4.6-liter V-8, which makes 320 horsepower and 315 pounds-feet of torque. But I was really disappointed by the cheesy interior, which appears to have been lifted nearly intact from the CTS
sedan. The rubber material and fake wood look like they would be more appropriate for a $20,000 Chevy than a $58,000 Caddy. SHE: That bothered you more than than it did me. I was impressed by all the features on the SRX, including power adjustable
pedals, a power folding third-row seat, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and huge sunroof that stretches over the first two rows and costs an extra $1,800. We
should probably mention that the third row is pretty cramped, and we had some trouble getting the power-fold feature to work. I was also a little surprised that in a luxury vehicle that costs nearly $60,000, the only rear-seat climate control is a fan --
no temperature control of any kind. HE: There's an awful lot to love about the SRX, including some nifty little touches like the Saab-design air vents on the instrument panel and the neat pull handle on the tailgate. SHE: And some world-class
safety features, including standard front and side air bags and side-curtain bags, rear park assist, antilock brakes and a tire-pressure monitor. Cadillac should have extended the side curtains to cover the third-row occupants, like Volvo does in the
XC90. And as good as the chassis technology is, it would be nice to see some other advances,including adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control, both of which are offered on the Lexus RX 330. Both the Volvo and Lexus vehic
es, by the way, top out at thousands of dollars less than the SRX. HE: We're still talking about a vehicle that is far more civilized than a BMW X5 or a Mercedes-Benz ML430, at least as far as ride and handling are concerned. I'll tell you what.
Since you've agreed to let me mix and match, here's my ideal crossover vehicle. I'll take the SRX chassis and driveline, add that gorgeous Touareg interior and wrap the whole thing in a slinky body shell from the Infiniti FX. What do you think? SHE:
Have you checked both shoes today?