- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Wreath and Crest establishment is on a roll of late — and a rapid roll it is at that. One of the most impressive vehicles in the 2004 lineup is the all-new Cadillac SRX — a medium size Luxury Utility Vehicle. All things considered, I believe it stands out above the new Cadillac XLR luxury sport roadster.

The SRX comes with two available power choices: the all-new 3.6 liter V-6 VVT and the next-generation 4.6 liter Northstar V-8 VVT (variable valve timing) which pumps out 320 horsepower and 315 pound feet of torque. There are two five-speed automatic transmissions as well — the V-8 VVT gets the beefier of the two. Both rear-wheel and All-wheel-drive versions are available with either engine selection. SRX is based on GM’s Sigma architecture and features: speed-sensitive variable effort steering; four-channel ABS with Panic Brake Assist and traction control; four channel StabiliTrak active suspension control; and a segment-first Magnetic Ride Control electronically controlled magnetic-fluid based real-time damping system option on uplevel models.

SRX seats up to seven occupants with an optional third row seat, or an optional rear cargo management system as an available alternative to the third row. Also available are: the segment’s largest sunroof system (5.6 square feet); a DVD based navigation system, XM satellite radio; Bose premium sound and rear seat entertainment setup. GM’s OnStar system comes as standard fare.

In terms of its appearance, the SRX might well be likened to Cadillac’s CTS luxury sport sedan with an extended aft storage area.

But that’s over-simplification. In reality it carries Cadillac’s latest bold, angular design theme with the heart and soul of a sport sedan, but with the flexibility and functionality of a luxury utility vehicle. The SRX sits low, with a sporty, aggressive stance, poised to pounce into action.

The test SRX drew upon the 4.6 liter Northstar V-8 for its motive power. It was an all-wheel-drive version with the exterior sprayed a metallic Cashmere and the interior done in a light neutral tone.

The base price was set at $46,300 with a seemingly endless inventory of standard equipment and features. The final total grew to $58,140 after adding the options including the Luxury Performance Package with Magnetic Ride control, all-wheel-drive, DVD navigation system and in-dash 6-CD changer, 8 speaker Bose audio system, high intensity discharge headlamps, electrochromic inside rear view mirror; Ultraview sunroof; rear seat entertainment; third row power seat and destination charge.

The Cadillac SRX’s near 50-50 weight distribution, low center of gravity and outstanding powertrain combinations make for a truly impressive and desirable vehicle. It is suited to driving enthusiasts with a penchant for above average performance.

The handling characteristics are exceptional — positively responsive and extremely agile. The SRX doesn’t feel like other SUVs (excuse me… LUVs) — it is a cut above. It is the first AWD application for the Northstar engine family and the second RWD format.

The SRX is targeting a more youthful market than traditional Cadillac customers of yore, but let’s face it, appeal is a subjective issue and anyone who lusts after this LUV machine is welcome to purchase one — regardless of age.

Gender doesn’t matter either, as the SRX seems to stir the interest of male and female alike evoking a bold kind of elegance. SRX has it all — style, luxury, performance and utility.

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