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Somebody's Been Paying Attention

2010 Cadillac SRX

Regular readers of this space know by now how I despise almost all car introductions where the new improved model is bigger in every dimension—even though that trend does seem to mirror the way the typical American physique seems to be going, or should I say, growing.

But the folks at Cadillac, bless their hearts, have completely redone their midsized crossover, the SRX. And it’s actually smaller than the previous model. Bravo, Cadillac! As a matter of fact, I’m a bit surprised they even kept the SRX moniker, this car is so different. The wheelbase is six inches shorter; overall length is down almost five inches; the width bucks the trend with an increase of 2.5 inches, but that’s okay, as the old SRX could have used the room—its proportions were oddly narrow-looking for its length and height; the new SRX is also shorter in height by a little over two inches, making the new car much more attractive (although I still think it too much resembles a Saturn Vue, especially from the rear three-quarter view).

Although I’m known around town for my campy- (or is that, crappy) looking 1995 Buick wagon, I do have a bit of history with the SRX. No, I’ve never owned one. As a matter of fact I’ve never paid more than 14 grand for a new car. But, for a short time I was actually a Cadillac salesman at a local dealership which will go unnamed here. Before you ask, no, it wasn’t Keyser Cadillac in Williamsville, which is where I borrowed the Caribbean Blue SRX for this week’s column. Oh, that color is a real eye-catcher. The test car was the Luxury Collection All-Wheel Drive model, which should go a long way in making people forget the old, somewhat dull SRX. Just for the record, and I know you’re dying to know, prices start at $33,330 for the base (if you can call it that) front-wheel-drive SRX. The Luxury Collection model starts at $36,910 and adds a sunroof, power liftgate with height memory, and front and rear parking assist. From there you move up through the Performance Collection ($41,350) and the Premium Collection ($43,895). Add around $3,600 for the All-Wheel-Drive version of each. Before I get to the actual car, I must comment here on Cadillac’s model naming for the SRX. All of those “Collection” names seem a bit tedious. I’m sure if I were still selling Cadillacs I’d rather have something like a name combined with some sort of premium letter designation for the higher-up models (the Caddiwagon SS maybe, or the LT for the more luxurious model—and hey, if you have to pay more for the “luxury collection” on a Cadillac, something’s gone terribly wrong in the marking department!).

With all of that shrinkage, the new SRX also lost one other thing besides bulk: the third row seating option. From what I remember, the old SRX third row was where you either put someone as punishment, or, as your very young offspring, they fit just fine once they clambered back there. And the new smaller size drives better, too. Even though the 2009 and 2010 models’ weights are nearly identical, the new car has a much better weight distribution (51/49 front/rear) making it handle much better. Steering is very responsive, and even with the shorter wheelbase the overall ride is still very Cadillac-like. I did find myself a bit distracted by the instrument panel though. For some reason Cadillac has chosen to put a “miles per gallon gauge” in there—no numbers, merely minimum and maximum. Surprise, surprise—flooring it from a stoplight will get you minimum miles per gallon, while coasting gets you maximum! Isn’t modern technology fascinating?

When all is said and done though, if you find yourself wanting a medium-sized crossover with luxury and style, something from the new SRX “Collection” might be right up your alley.

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