New Truck Review:
Cadillac '04 SRX V-8
Performance Is The Ultimate Luxury

Cadillac's new SRX is one of the best machines we've driven in the evolving category of what is loosely termed crossover vehicle: half car, half truck, built on a passenger car chassis. Historically, vehicles designed to perform in both roles compromised performance in all areas to such an extent that the end result was satisfying to no one. The Cadillac SRX avoided that evolutionary dead end. GM's engineers rightly chose to tune this sport utility for the road; you know, the surface on which even the most burly-man SUVs spend 90 percent of their service life.

That choice allows the SRX's ride height to come back to earth, giving not only supremely confident handling and cornering power but also car-like ease of entry. It also narrowed the range of use, which in turn allowed more precise suspension tuning, bestowing the SRX with a taught, sensitive ride without the harsh edge associated with sport-tuned suspensions.

Credit the SRX's ride quality to the Magnetic Ride Control (MRC). MRC uses magneto-rheological fluid in the dampers instead of traditional mechanical valves. Sensors read the road surface changes every inch at 60 mph and respond by commanding constant changes in damping force at all four corners. This system does a magnificent job of maintaining tire contact with the road surface as well as keeping the body flat, with smooth, well-controlled body motions even during aggressive maneuvers or on uneven road surfaces. It's eerie how well it works, especially with the four-channel StabiliTrak and AWD. Loaded, unloaded, rough, and crumbling road surface, or clean and smooth, the SRX just handles and rides great.

The choices in materials for the interior surfaces are in keeping with the character of the vehicle. The cowl, relative to seating position, is a little higher than we're used to in pickups, but is not at all unusual in performance cars. The cockpit is as thoughtfully designed and styled as any we've experienced, allowing easy use and monitoring of all the controls and instruments. In fact, the interior quickly becomes as comfortable and familiar as your own workspace, a quality that we found allowed us to more fully appreciate the fine-tuned howl of the small-bore DOHC V-8 as it got up on the cams with its high-revving snarl. Even though peak thrust comes in late, when it hits, it confirms the saying that "performance is truly the ultimate luxury."

Likes: Highest-quality ride, astonishingly comfortable seating, brilliant entertainment system, elegant stability control, magnificent handling, crisp styling, discerning ergonomics and interior materials choices, large sunroof, screaming-high rpm, DOHC aluminum V-8 power.
Dislikes: Can't afford one - yet.

Vehicle Specs:
'04 Cadillac SRX V-8 AWD
Base Price: $46,300 (not including DFC of $695)
Price as Tested: $58,140
Vehicle Type: midsize, four-door luxury sport utility; front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, and all-wheel-drive versions
Construction: body frame integral
Engine: Northstar V-8 VVT (LH2); aluminum block and heads; DOHC with four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing (VVT)
Horsepower: 320 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 315 @ 4,400 rpm
Fuel: premium
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 5L50-E five-speed electronic automatic
Suspension: F: independent short/long arm with aluminum upper and lower control arms; hydraulic control arm front bushings, solid-mounted front frame, MR shocks, 36mm stabilizer bar. R: fully independent multilink design with fully isolated subframe; aluminum upper control arms, knuckles, and rear differential; MR air life shocks and electronic auto-leveling compressor, 22mm stabilizer bar
Wheel: F&R: 18x8-inch cast aluminum
Tire: F: Michelin all-season P235/60R18 R: Michelin all-season radial P255/55R18
Brakes: power four-wheel vented disc with standard four-wheel antilock, dynamic rear proportioning, Panic Brake Assist
Wheelbase (in): 116
Length/Width/Height (in): 195/72.6 /67.8
Track (in): F: 61.9; R: 62.2
Turning Circle (curb to curb): 39.7 ft
Curb Weight: 4,442 lbs (Wt. Dist: 52/48)
Tow Rating: 1,000 lbs; optional: 3,500 lbs (avail. mid-year)
EPA City/Hwy/Combined Mpg: 15/20/N/A
Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 20 gal/400 mi (est.)
Acceleration 0-60: 7 sec