First Drive: 2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T

Don Sherman
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In October, Cadillac will introduce its first turbocharged engine, joining the dozen or so boosted four-, six-, and eight-cylinder gas and diesel engines already energizing the crossover category.

EXTERIOR DESIGN

With the flamboyant Art & Science themed exterior and stunning 20-inch wheels hogging all the attention, who will notice the 2.8T badge quietly added to the tailgate? Probably no one other than Lexus executives who now have a 300-horsepower competitor to fret over. Like a CTS on growth hormones, the rad-Cad SRX brings in-your-face styling to a segment famous for conservative dress. Cadillac believes that customers are ready for something more creatively contemporary. If so, SRX could elbow a few BMWs and Benzs aside to take a serious shot at the other X-model (Lexus RX) that has dominated this category since its inception more than a decade ago.

INTERIOR

The center stack that entertains so well in the CTS also works convincingly here. Wood adornments come from actual trees, not injection molding machines. The top grade leather is neatly trimmed and stitched. The touch-sensitive nav screen rises majestically whenever its services are required. In place of the base 3.0-liter V-6's mpg gauge in the right cluster circle, there's a boost gauge to report how hard the turbo under the hood is working on your behalf. The tach, located to the left of the speedometer, is redlined at 6200 rpm but also ventures a few hundred rpm higher before fuel cutoff. At the center of the analogue speedometer, there's an electroluminescent display that reports velocity digitally and other information such as whether or not the Sport mode is active.

The rear seats split and fold flat to double the cargo room from 29 to 61 cubic feet. In addition, there's a handy well under the load floor in SRXs not equipped with the optional spare wheel.

Thick D-pillars and a small window in the tailgate make the view out the back seem like peering through a telescope but at least the double-paneled UltraView sunroof allows you to brighten the interior mood at the touch of a button.

ELECTROTOYS

Bluetooth cell phone connectivity is standard. Those skip the extra cost of a navigation system can instead use OnStar's handy turn-by-turn service to find hidden destinations.

The Bose sound system plays AM, FM, XM satellite radio, MP3, and CD or DVD material through eight or ten speakers. A USB input, a minijack, and 40GB of media storage are also available as standard or optional equipment.

A rear seat entertainment system is optional.

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