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Monday, January 5, 2009

2010 Caddy SRX gets Turbo V6

What is it?
2010 Cadillac SRX

What's special about it?
If you listen to Cadillac, the problem with the outgoing CTS-based SRX has been that it looks too much like a CTS wagon. Its roof line and hood were too long, the thinking goes. It was not convincing enough as an SUV-ish thing.

Whatever. We liked it. But for the 2010 model year, Cadillac takes another stab at the two-row crossover market with a new SRX that's aimed squarely at the Lexus RX 350.

The new five-seater might carry the same name, but it's a different breed of cat than the vehicle it replaces. There will be no V8 or optional third-row seating. And instead of using the CTS's excellent platform that gives you the choice between rear- and all-wheel drive, the new SRX uses a version of the front- and all-wheel-drive architecture that underpins the new Chevrolet Equinox and the upcoming Saab 9-4X. This means the SRX swaps its sophisticated front suspension with dual control arms for simpler (and cheaper) struts. A real-time damping system, similar to that now featured on the Escalade, will be optional, but the current SRX's sophisticated (and expensive) optional Magnetic Ride Control system will not be offered. And the 2010 model will be built in Mexico instead of Lansing, Michigan.

The new vehicle, which goes on sale in the second quarter of 2009, has the coveted SUV-ish proportions Cadillac felt the old vehicle lacked. It's shorter in overall length by 5 inches than the old car, and rides on a wheelbase that's 5.5 inches shorter. But it's 2.5 inches wider than the long-and-slender 2009 model. Maximum cargo space shrinks from 69.5 cubic feet to 61.2.

Two new engines will be available in the 2010 model. The base engine is a 3.0-liter version of the familiar 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 used in the CTS sedan. At 260 horsepower, the 3.0-liter makes 5 more horses than the existing car's 3.6-liter, which lacks the direct fuel injection. Owing largely to its smaller displacement, the 3.0-liter makes 33 fewer pound-feet of torque than the old motor. Cadillac says the new V6 should return 10-15 percent better fuel-efficiency than the former V6, which was rated at 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway in the all-wheel-drive SRX. The base V6 is also 15-hp shy of the output from the 2010 RX 350's 3.5-liter.

The new optional engine for the SRX is a turbocharged 2.8-liter V6, which makes 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. Initially a version of the CTS's 3.6-liter was to be the upgrade motor for the SRX, but instead the new turbo engine has been borrowed from the upcoming Saab 9-4X. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. The base V6 comes with a GM Powertrain Hydra-matic and the turbo motor is bolted to an Aisin Warner-supplied tranny.

What's Edmunds' take?
We might be in the minority on this one, but we kind of miss the old SRX. But then, we'd be happy driving the upcoming CTS wagon. — Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit