Fleet News

Cadillac SRX

Review

THE Cadillac SRX is the American manufacturer’s first-ever luxury crossover vehicle.

Due in the UK in right-hand form towards the end of next year, the four-wheel drive SRX will line up size-wise against the likes of the Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70, but will be priced closer to the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M-class and Range Rover Sport.

But for now the range is only available in left-hand drive form, priced from £29,850 for the entry-level 3.6 V6 Elegance. The Sports Luxury 3.6 V6 costs £33,850 and the range-topping SRX V8 Sport Luxury has a showroom price of £39,850.

The right-hand drive premium will take the price nearer £44,000, however.

Add the optional UltraView power glass roof (£1,500) and rear seat entertainment package (which includes a Panasonic DVD player/screen and wireless headphones), and the price creeps up to £46,600. And this could present the SRX with its biggest problem. Although well-equipped (even without the glass roof and in-car entertainment options), and with a potent 4.6-litre V8 engine and an undeniable visual impact, if the car is challenging the X5/M-class/Range Rover Sport class, it looks a little out of its depth.

True, for the price customers get every conceivable toy such as electronically-adjustable pedals, eight-way adjustable seats, satellite navigation and a Bose sound system.

But the swathes of fake wood and questionable quality of some of the plastics used in the cabin conspire to counter the potential wow factor.

One trick up the SRX’s sleeve is its third row of seats. Currently an optional extra, Cadillac Europe is hoping to make it standard on right-hand-drive vehicles, allowing seven passengers to be accommodated.

However, those seats do affect boot space. With all seats up, available space is 238 litres, less than a Ford Fiesta. Just as well, then, that the third row lies flat and the process of stowing them is electrically operated, which boosts load space up to 918 litres.

The SRX is a true crossover vehicle: part-SUV, part-MPV and part-estate. The question is whether this means the vehicle offers a little of everything, but specialises in nothing.

Cadillac is reluctant to reveal sales targets. Its key objective remains the re-launch of the Cadillac and Corvette brands into the UK and to build a quality dealer network with its official partner Pendragon.

What it will say, is that last year Cadillac sales in Europe totalled 1,500 vehicles. SRX accounted for 800 of these, or around 55%, so company executives think it likely the 4x4 crossover vehicle will make up a similar percentage of total UK sales.

The left-hand drive SRX, together with the CTS and STS saloons, and XLR two-seater convertible, have been available in the UK since May.

The European designed and built BLS, based on the Saab 9-3/Vauxhall Vectra platform and with a diesel engine, which stands more of a chance of impacting on the sale charts, arrives next May.

A diesel engine will feature in the next generation CTS in two years’ time, so expect this to filter through to the SRX range in due course.

At just under five metres long and 1.8 metres wide, the SRX is a big vehicle, with a big spec.

But for the fully-optioned, top-of-the-range model at least, it comes with an asking price which is arguably just too high.

Behind the wheel

WITH a roof height of nearly 1.8 metres, the SRX isn’t the tallest vehicle on the road, but its length, width and wheelbase combine to make it feel like a substantial piece of metal.

This is great for interior space, but it does make the SRX feel a touch unwieldy at times, especially on B-roads.

The crossover 4x4 bristles with safety features, including stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes with Panic Brake Assist and Magnetic Ride Control (a magnetised fluid damping control system that works with the traction control).

And there’s more than enough power to get you out of trouble. The range-topping 325bhp 4.8-litre V8 Northstar engine delivers power throughout the rev range and feels well mated to the five-speed automatic gearbox. Motorway cruising is effortless.

There’s no doubting the 4.6-litre V8 delivers gutsy performance. Despite the SRX’s generous proportions, 325bhp and 315lb-ft of torque on tap means the range-topping V8 hits 62mph from standstill in 7.4 seconds and goes on to 140mph.

The wealth of latent power means motorway cruising is also relaxed and, combined with the SRX’s magnetic ride suspension and liberal sound-deadening, help make progress refined and unruffled.

It also scores highly on practicality too, with enough storage to house all the paraphernalia a modern family brings.

Yet despite this and the undoubted improvement in build quality over Cadillacs of old, the SRX is let down by intrusive cabin squeaks and rattles, especially on rutted B-roads. Essentially, the SRX still uses some very poor quality interior materials, which simply shouldn’t be found in a vehicle costing this much.

Driving verdict

THE SRX is a good effort, but in the final analysis it will struggle to steal sales from its European rivals. It has the performance and space, but lacks finesse.

Model: 3.6 V6 4.6 V8
Max power (bhp/rpm): 258/6,500 325/6,500
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 250/2,800 315/4,400
Max speed (mph): 125 140
0-62mph (secs): 8.1 7.4
Fuel consumption (mpg): 19.2 20.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 349 331
On sale: Now
Prices (OTR): £29,850–£39,850

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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