Cadillac SRX:

2015 Lincoln MKC – 2nd Volume Entry for Lincoln

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The 2015 Lincoln MKC hit Lincoln dealerships in June 2014 and promises to be the 2nd volume entry for Ford’s premium brand after the award-winning Lincoln MKZ.  Lincoln is the top brand in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research and the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid are the winners of their product categories.  The MKC (getting confused with the alphanumeric nomenclature yet?) is joining a booming market for smaller crossover SUVs and, based on our brief drive of the vehicle, the MKC should do very well in AutoPacific’s 2015 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.2015 Lincoln MKC F342015 Lincoln MKC R34

Excellent Package  The MKC is a “small” crossover SUV, but it does not feel small from the driver’s seat.  The front seating package is spacious.  Visibility forward is excellent.  Ergonomics are good.  Transmission shifting is through push buttons on the left hand side of the center stack.  The MyLincoln Touch system is more intuitive (but reading the channel numbers for SiriusXM is almost impossible because of tiny font sizes) and stable.  Losing the shifter in the center console is an excellent idea for many reasons.  It allows for more storage in the console and also allows the console to be narrower giving the front seat passengers more seat width.  The MKC is a persuasive package that will appeal to buyers across all age ranges.2015 Lincoln MKC Cockpit

Neat Features Abound on MKC  For those buyers who want the latest technology, MKC offers a lot.  Of course, there is MyLincoln Touch that sets the stage in the center stack.  There is Approach Detection where the vehicle reacts to the key fob approaching the vehicle at night and the headlamp accents, taillamp accents, door handle pockets and interior all light up.  There is even a Lincoln logo projected onto the pavement from the outside rear view mirror puddle lights.  Then there is Drive Control that includes continuously adjusting shock absorbers to provide a comfortable ride under all conditions.  Electric Power Steering and Active Noise Control are standard features that complement the Drive Control System.  Active Park Assist not only can park the MKC, but includes Park Out Assist to help the driver maneuver the vehicle out of a tight parking space.  As with many newly introduced vehicles there is a suite of electronic driver assist technologies:  lane-keeping system, driver alert system (checks driver alertness), adaptive cruise control, collision warning system with brake support, blind spot information system, and cross traffic alert.  These features may sound like overkill, but once you have used them, they become a necessity rather than a luxury.

Highly Differentiated from Escape – All EcoBoost Engines   The MKC is derived from the Ford Escape but shares no body panels or interior trim bits.  Without looking under the skin, the relationship is invisible.  The 2015 Lincoln MKC comes standard with a 240HP 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine.  Optional is a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder with 285-horsepower (with 93 octane gasoline – in California the top spec gas octane is 91 octane so the output for the 2.3L would be about 280HP).  The base vehicle is front wheel drive with all wheel drive available as an option.

Outstanding Dynamics  Starting in Santa Barbara and driving across the Los Padres National Forest to the Tejon Ranch , the MKC proves to be nimble and athletic on the twisty roads more suited to a sports car than a X-SUV.  With the 2.3L EcoBoost and AWD, the MKC is quick and solid over all road surfaces.

Price and Competition  The base price of the MKC is $33,995, but the versions Lincoln provided for the drive evaluation were all in the $50,000 range equipped with the full suite of electronic features and the big engine.  The size and price of the MKC puts it in the competitive set with the Cadillac SRX, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X1, Infiniti QX50 (i.e. EX), Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC60.  As if that isn’t enough competition, there is more to come:  Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi Q3, Porsche Macan.  Clearly, buyers will have a tremendous challenge sorting out which of these smaller XSUVs to select.

Now for the Nit-Picks  Ford (Lincoln) can be depended on to make mistakes in feature availability.  For a company that touts “democratization of technology” (meaning the neat electronic features found on the top of the line will be available in a Focus, for instance) the base MKC cannot be had with an in-vehicle navigation system.  Since MyLincoln Touch is standard and each vehicle has a center stack screen, and the navigation system is via an SD card, navigation should be available on all models.

Brand Challenge  The only thing standing in the way of the MKC being a whopping success may the Lincoln brand.  While AutoPacific’s research shows Lincoln is doing a great job satisfying its customers, the brand has languished and is only now starting to re-assert itself.  The MKC is an outstanding addition to the Lincoln portfolio.  Now the challenge is to get buyers into the dealerships to drive and buy the MKC.  It will be interesting to watch how Lincoln markets the vehicle in the coming months and to monitor its sales performance.


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2012 Cadillac SRX Most Satisfying Luxury Crossover SUV

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Best In Class 2012 Luxury Crossover SUV:  Cadillac SRX

2012 Cadillac SRX Winner of AutoPacific's 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award

The Luxury Crossover SUV category is a very diverse segment with several very competitive entries.  Owners of the 2012 Cadillac SRX give the vehicle sufficient scores in importance and satisfaction to win the segment with only six top ratings among forty-eight characteristics measured in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.   The SRX gets top marks for:  Brand of Audio System, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Dealership Experience, Price and Advanced Powertrain Technology. With a possible high score of 5.0 rating points for each attribute, a rating of 4.6 or higher can be considered to be very good.  SRX owners give the crossover SUV scores of 4.6 or higher in: Overall Satisfaction, Image, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Interior Styling, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliability, Brand of Audio System, Dealership Experience, Feeling Safe While Driving, and Overall Quality.  Owners are least satisfied with five of SRX characteristics giving them a satisfaction rating of less than 4.0 satisfaction points:  Fuel Economy, Range, Visibility, Environmental Friendliness, and Recyclability.


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2010 Cadillac SRX: Stylish and Modern

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With the 2010MY, it could be said that Cadillac launched their first real modern crossover SUV. The 2004-09MY SRX was not without its charm, but it always felt more like a big wagon than SUV, with its length, stiff sides, and flat roof. Today’s SRX, previewed by the cleverly named 2008 Provoq concept, brings style and elegance to the formula, evolving and warming the Cadillac design themes.
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Our first drive in a 2010 Cadillac SRX came this winter, in a nice, snow white (actually Platinum Ice Tricoat, a color worth its $995 premium) exterior. The interior, a two-tone shale with brownstone, was warm and inviting. Our $47,010 test car, being a Premium FWD model, took navigation as standard, including the 40GB hard drive, Bluetooth phone, rearview camera, Ultraview extra-long sunroof, autosense windshield wipers, intelligent key, and heated rear as well as front seats; the only options were the paint color and a $1295 rear-seat entertainment system. The Premium model makes my favorite, gotta-have features standard, appropriate for Cadillac and easier than sorting through a series of bundles and packages to get the right mix of content.


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Cadillac SRX Sports a New Interior

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Though the SRX has not seen many changes since its introduction in 2003, for the 2007 model year it gets a new interior. The new interior is possible in part by using methods developed with the uplevel interiors of the STS and XLR V-Series models, which feature hand-sewn leather and sumptuous dashboards.

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Coverings for the instrument panel, center console, and door panels being cut, sewn, and wrapped by hand. One of the advantages of this means the elimination of the need for a door shape for the passenger-side airbag to pop out of, giving a cleaner look to the dashboard. Instead of the plastic door, perforations on the underside of the leather allow the airbag to deploy when needed. There are more storage cubbies, including one hidden on the passenger’s side of the instrument panel above the glovebox under the wood trim. Speaking of wood, that’s new, too, at least when you take the optional interior. Instead of a traditional wood, Cadillac uses an exotic wood from East Africa called Sapele (sa-pell-i) Pommele, traditionally used for fine home furniture and high-end acoustic guitars.
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The former optional stereo is now standard and there is a new theater package optional stereo system with Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround sound, DVD navigation, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and an auxiliary port for MP3 players. We haven’t seen it in the leather yet, but this could be a luxurious year to choose the SRX.
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The change does not affect engine offerings. SRX buyers continue to choose between a 3.6L V6 or 4.6L V8, though the V8 gets a six-speed automatic this year instead of five speeds.
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Crossovers… Media – Industry Forcing a Definition

We at VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) and the VehicleVoice Blog-o-Rama (http:/.vehiclevoice.com) often feel that we are fighting an uphill battle concerning the use of the word “Crossovers”. This is a term that has come to mean SUVs based on car platforms and mechanicals. That’s fine. However, it is industry jargon that has not been adopted by the public. The media, picking up on industry jargon is forcing the term where no-one needs it.
An SUV is an SUV or Its NOT
Based on our research, it’s simple. American vehicle buyers have categorized vehicles into several basic categories: cars and trucks further subdivided into luxury cars, mid-size cars, economy/compact cars, sports/sporty cars, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans/minivans.
The SUV category seems to be giving folks the most trouble. To a typical vehicle-buyer, an SUV is an SUV is an SUV. There are big ones and small ones, but an SUV is an SUV. Muddying the playing field, however, is the notion of a “crossover”. A Traditional SUV in this more complicated world is a truck-based SUV like Ford Explorer or Toyota Sequoia. A crossover SUV is an SUV based on a car platform, a “unit-body” platform. But people often forget that the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Mitsubishi Montero are all based on unit-body platforms but are not car-based. Does this make them a crossover? NO!
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Chevrolet Trailblazer… a “real” Truck-Based SUV

Post-Modern SUV… Soft Roader… NOT Crossover

So, it’s pretty muddy. What crossovers need to be are at-a-glance SUVs. The basics of the SUV equation are well known so deviating is a risk. An SUV must have a basic two box bodystyle, relatively tall glass for good visibility, a relatively upright windshield that provides a stiff A-Pillar allowing easy ingress/egress, and a command seating position. At the same time interior roominess and the ability to carry cargo is very important. From our perspective, this most American of vehicle types is very easy to understand but easy for a foreign car company to get wrong.
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Pontiac Torrent… Car-Based Post-Modern (Crossover) SUV
Let’s read on about how USA Today recently reacted to the issue of “crossovers”…


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