Since the release of the first crossover 11 years ago, the field has become the fastest growing segment in the automotive industry, and with good reason.
Car-like interiors with the higher stance of a SUV make this class appealing to those who no longer want a sedan but are not quite ready to make the leap to a full size SUV. The midsize crossover has developed appeal with all generations which has helped ease suburbia from the land of the minivan, into the land of the SUV. With the clouds clearing in Detroit, Ford and GM have finally stepped up with their finest in hopes that they can break into this competitive market as well as bring back their once loyal following.
When GM unveiled the redesigned Cadillac SRX with the signature “Here I am, look at me” front end, it made me stop and stare. Gone was the boxy, awkward past SRX and in the place was one that stood out in this already busting at the seams class. The sleek lines of the exterior wrap this crossover into a visually appealing package. From the front to the rear, it doesn’t look like anything else out on the road these days.
With four trim levels: Base, Luxury, Performance and Premium, and an array of standard options, this midsize crossover gives several manufactures a run for their money. The SRX starts at $33,330 and comes standard with FWD, a 3.0 liter V6 with 265 horsepower and optional AWD available. It provided enough get up and go, but late this fall, and well worth the upgrade, is the 2.8 turbocharged V6 that boasts 300 horsepower and 295 foot pounds of torque that would put a little zing in your drive.
The Haldex AWD system with electronic limited-slip and a tweaked suspension really make this one stand out. Both come standard with the upgrade.
The six speed transmission allows you to not only get around town in a conservative fuel sipping mode, but by switching to Sport, allows you to really enjoy the drive and watch this vehicle come alive. Braking was responsive and smooth.
The Cadillac quality we have come to expect is not forgotten once the door is opened. The interior provides a solid, quiet ride at both highway and city speeds. The optional soft, buttery leather wraps you in a power seat that would make the elevator in Willie Wonka seem sub-par — it goes in every direction possible. The ample legroom up front as well the ability to not rub elbows with the passenger make the interior of this midsize appear larger than it really is. The backseat provides room to seat two adults comfortably, three children not being an issue. Rear cargo room is ample enough to lug not only a double stroller but leaving room for groceries. By laying down the 60/40 split rear seats, a healthy shopping trip at your local home improvement store or a day of retail therapy could easily be contained in the 61.1 cubic feet.
The instrument cluster is neatly displayed with the center LCD allowing the owner to program and personalize the display. The layout of the entire dash is done in a neat, organized fashion that allows every control within reach surrounded by satin nickel and warm toned wood. The optional pop-up DVD navigation with a 40GB hard drive would impress even the techiest of techs. The options most now consider necessities such as integrated iPod connectivity, XM radio and OnStar are just a few additional features one can come to expect with a GM. With the optional sunroof, you just might find those riding in the rear a little more fascinated with the view from above thanks to the almost the entire center being composed of glass. For the those times you just want to crank up the radio loud and not enjoy the silence, the optional 10-speaker Bose‚® 5.1 Cabin Surround‚® Sound System will deliver crystal clear quality, no matter what you’re listening to.
The positives of the SRX include the multiple trim levels to appeal to even the savviest of buyers, zippy performance with surprising well handling, attractive styling and impressive features. The downsides are the average fuel economy, smaller cargo area and larger SUV sized pricing. The quality this vehicle oozes makes would make whomever owns it, proud to display the GM name once again on the road and in their garage.
Lincoln stepped into the scene in 2007 with their crossover, MKX, refining a few areas for 2010 model. The MKX is classy with the signature flashy Lincoln grill coupled with large headlights that make for a happy looking front and a smooth all around appearance. Starting price for the MKX is $38,345 for the FWD version, with several optional packages to pick from. Both the FWD and AWD come with a 3.5 liter V6 that has 265 horsepower and 250 pounds of torque each equipped with a six speed automatic transmission. The Duratec V6 provides enough power, but in the one I tested, was nothing to write home about. The transmission does not allow for any variation in drive style but it is surprisingly unnoticeable while accelerating. The braking patterns hint more like a truck, sometimes a bit sluggish and not as quick to respond for a vehicle this size.
Through the windows, the cashmere colored leather with black piping that came as part of the optional Monochrome Limited Edition package, made the interior appear bright and appealing. However, I was immediately disappointed with the excessive plastic that covered the door once I opened it. The ebony wood placed throughout the cabin appears plastic-like too. The front seats were given more than enough leg room with the distance between the two being comfortable, not squished. The supple leather cooled front seats provided another level of comfort during the hot October day. In the backseat, there is adequate seating for two adults. I felt claustrophobic as the roof felt rather close even at my average height. Any taller, one would find their head mashed against it, so forget about rocking a beehive if you plan on riding to the in the backseat. Leg room was appropriate and the backs of the seats were sufficient in providing ample support for those extended drives.
The interior remained quiet and provided a great buffer to the sounds outside of the vehicle even while stopped. A great option, Easy Fold release, allows with a push of a button for the rear seats to fold flat giving you a whopping 68.6 cubic feet of space to stuff with snowboards, camping gear, estate sale finds or annuals from the garden center. With the seats raised, a week worth of groceries and other normal sized items fit into the area with ease.
The instrument cluster fell under the category of boring even with the chrome and bright nickel accents. It’s plain, flat, uninteresting and can I say boring once more to drive it home? Lincoln played it too safe and could stand to add little WOW factor.
The optional voice activated navigation system provided by Integrated Sirus Travel Link, was very easy to use, but the screen is set too low. I had to look down for too long while driving.
MP3 player connectivity, Sirius radio and Sync are all available in the MKX. One of the best options has to be the Vista Roof, a large sliding front piece and a rear fixed panel. All passengers would dig the THX II Certified Audio System with 14 speakers, in dash 6-disc changer and a whopping 600 watts which cranked out enough power to satisfy the metal heads three cars over in traffic. It was loud, crisp, and I rocked out.
The positives of the MKX are the solid built construction Lincoln has perfected over the years, tomb like ride, satisfactory cargo area and an awesome audio system that you just might possibly be able to reenact the old Maxell commercial in. The downsides are the unimpressive engine, overly plastic interior and claustrophobic feeling one might have while riding in the rear seats.
Overall, the SRX wins in appearance, performance, and features. The SRX is a breath of fresh air to a class that provides many options but only a few can say they are truly a luxury midsize crossover. As Cadillac promised, when I turned on the SRX, it returned the favor. At a time when comebacks are welcomed, this one just might do the trick for GM.