The naming of new cars must be a curious process. Animals are popular choices for various makes and models, and those selections often make sense But in recent years it seems manufacturers have one only criteria — the more obscure the name, the better. Volkswagen has its Touareg and Phaeton. Toyota has the Prius. Pontiac has the Vibe. Oldsmobile has the Alero.
So when Cadillac introduced its first car-based SUV this year, couldn’t it have taken the lead from either the name traditionalists or the new breed of name-makers?
The Cadillac Deville, Seville and Escalade are well-established vehicles, but who’s going to remember the SRX?
Fortunately, an odd name is about the only thing not right with the new Cadillac. It may be the most comfortable, well-equipped and stylishly appointed SUV available.
For my weekly drive, I tested the 4.6-liter, 320-horsepower, 5-speed, all-wheel drive, automatic transmission SRX. The vehicle’s light platinum exterior was well-matched with an ebony interior and the car nicely continues the manufacturer’s reputation. In short, the SRX, like other Cadillacs, has a commanding road presence.
More impressive is the vehicle’s performance and its features. Acceleration to steering and handling, ride comfort to instrumentation, the SRX has few weaknesses.
With its sizable engine, the SRX moves briskly from a standstill and while accelerating at any speed. The ride is firm and smooth and the steering and handling couldn’t be better. Turns are handled with confidence and the steering has a natural feel. The steering]]> wheel, by the way, a combined leather and burled walnut trim, is elegant yet sturdy.
The driver, front-seat passenger and all other second and optional third-row seat passengers have ample head and leg room, and the list of standard safety and performance features is impressive. They include: rear window defogger, daytime and twilight running and fog lamps, power and heated front seats, rear air conditioning, power and heated outside mirrors, AM/FM radio, cassette and CD changer with seven speakers and the Onstar safety and security system.
The base price of the SRX is $46,595. But my test vehicle also included three additional options, The added costs represent the potential downside of vehicle — financial considerations.
The all-wheel drive transmission, for example, included among standard features on many vehicles, is a $1,900 option. Likewise, the eighth-speaker Bose audio system ($1,100) and third-power seat ($1,000) features, plus a $325 additional for the XM satellite radio, catapults the vehicle’s cost past the $50,000 plateau.
The estimated gas mileage of 15 mpg (city) and 20 mpg (highway) are not great numbers, either.
Still, it’s hard to find fault with the SRX. It may be the best SUV on the road today, and it would be even more popular — if it only had a memorable name.
Safety Features — Driver and front seat passenger, front and side impact and curtain side impact and front to to second row curtain side impact air bags. Tire pressure monitor.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 15 mpg (city), 20 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 6 years, 100,000 miles; Roadside assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles.
Base Price — $46,595.00.