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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Pontiac Torrent… Car-Based Post-Modern (Crossover) SUV
Let’s read on about how USA Today recently reacted to the issue of “crossovers”…