Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cadillac SRX - Wrapup

Goodbyes are always bittersweet, but it's hard to place what our departure from Cadillac's SRX was - was it more bitter or sweet?

Certainly, our time with the sporty car wagon crossover-utility had its sweet moments. Like we said in the beginning, Cadillac's done quite a bit up in front to revise an otherwise dreary interior. Trim materials felt solid, and the overall appearance of the IP was quite impressive.

Tick the $1,400 option box for the luxury seating pacakge, and front passengers will find themselves coddled by the most comfortable seats GM's ever purchased from a supplier. They're bolstered in just the right spaces but remain plush enough to provide occupants (provided they're not driving, mind you) the perfect space for a cat nap.

But then there's the bitter. Those front seats are great, but the second-row is a cement slab rolled in leather. That giant moonroof was great for open-weather cruising or for navigating safari-style, but it was also prone to enter into resonance while closed. Not so much so that it rattled, but enough so to create an annoying high-pitched sqeak.

That wasn't the only noise issue; in fact, Cadillac seemed to drop the ball in terms of NVH engineering. Sure, window seals kept road noise to a minimum, but engineers seemed to forget about placing insulation on the firewall: every noise that occured underhood poured into the cabin with little, if any, abatement.

This wouldn't have been a problem, but the valvetrain on this particular example of the 3.6-liter V6 amplified engine noise to a new level. Some praise the motor for being relatively smooth (which it is), but we fail to see where this engine sets new records for NVH. Hopefully the new 3.9-liter with direct-injection improves on this; perhaps it too will rectify the occasional starting issues we had with the mill. On some cold starts (by cold we mean engine temperature; it was actually in 70-90 degree farenheit climates), the motor rocked side to side on its mounts, shuddering the entire vehicle. It almost felt as if it was missing or timed improperly, but the tachometer read a constant speed. No engine codes were triggered, but it would have been interesting to read the OBD-II output to see what was going on.

Even more dissapointing is the SRX's fuel economy. The 3.6-liter V6, coupled through a 5-speed automatic and an all-wheel drive system delivered a combined economy of around 14.8 mpg - 17.4 if we put it on a long stretch of highway. Not as horrible as a Hummer H1, mind you, but in comparison, the '07 Silverado 4x4 with a 5.3-liter V8 averaged a combined fuel economy of around 16 mpg. You do the math while we craft an adjective for the SRX's performance: poor.

So, given the money, would the GMT Blog buy an SRX?

Perhaps, so long as we opted for these few options:

-Northstar V8, 6-speed automatic and no all-wheel drive. With Stabilitrak and traction control mitigating virtually all slip-n'-slide situations, why deal with the extra weight and fuel consumption of a transfer case and an extra differential?

-Magnetic Ride Control - the SRX doesn't ride all that bad, so long as you're not crossing pavement sections that lift above others. Magnetic ride control helps levy that, and if you live in a northern state, it's a must-buy.

Are there other doo-dads that we'd like? Sure, what techophile wouldn't love the sunroof or the DVD-based sat-nav? Ultimately, we prefer mechanical competence over technological sophistication, and we hope Cadillac can improve on this point for future crossovers.


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