Cadillac SRX fits in perfectly for family road trips

2010 Cadillac SRX front image 2010 Cadillac SRX front image Photo Credit: Cars.com

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When the 2010 Cadillac SRX arrived in my driveway for a test drive, I was preparing for a trip north with my family. Talk about perfect timing! If I'd had the option to pick any crossover for our road trip, the SRX would have been my choice. It's packed with luxurious appointments for the front and backseat passengers, including a rear entertainment system. That's a beautiful sight for any parent psyching themselves up for a three-hour ride with the family.

This crossover, with its sharp exterior and lush interior, has amazing cargo space, which is a must on any long trip with the family. It held our cooler, suitcases and beach equipment with ease.

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    In the driver's seat, I enjoyed an elevated view and great forward visibility. Of course, I also enjoyed the SRX's turbocharged V-6, which allowed me to keep pace with all the other cars rushing north for some R & R. I liked the SRX's agility and quick-to-respond braking, which were gained without taking obvious or drastic weight reduction measures from the crossover. All the doors were solid and hefty, with no tinny "ding" when closed. Instead, each offered an assuring "thud" with every entrance and exit.

    My loaded test car, a SRX Turbo Premium, will set car shoppers back $53,980. The base model starts at $33,830, so a lower price point does exist.

    Exterior

    Redesigned for 2010, the SRX caught my eye right away. It's sharp-looking. Literally. The body comes to a point both in the front and back. This car looks so good and represents GM's attempt to grab the attention of younger buyers and more aggressive drivers. That said, my dad, who's in his 50s, liked the SRX's looks as much as I did.

    The SRX sits just high enough off the ground to give the driver a great view of the road. That same stance, however, caused problems for little ones trying to get in and out of their second-row seats. The second-row's doors didn't open wide enough for my kids (or me when I tried it), and the step-in height was significant enough that my boys had to climb onto the floor and then climb up into their seats. Between the small door openings and the limited floor space, this was a tough maneuver for them.

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    Front-row passengers have a much easier time getting in and out of the crossover since the doors and openings are larger.

    Space isn't an issue in the huge cargo area. A power liftgate with programmable height positioning, which allows the liftgate to open to a preprogrammed height, makes life with luggage and/or groceries simple.

    My test car, the Turbo Premium with all-wheel drive, is the top-of-line trim. It boasts a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6, and yes, it was quick. Despite the spec sheet saying regular gasoline would do the trick in the five-seater, the sticker on the fuel door requested premium. I obliged ... begrudgingly. The SRX gets an EPA-estimated 15/22 mpg city/highway. During my week test driving it, I averaged just over 20 mpgs.

    Interior

    In true Cadillac style, the SRX had every standard amenity I could dream up: heated and cooled front seats, navigation, rearview camera, rear entertainment system, XM Satellite Radio, auto everything, and front and rear parking sensors to keep me from hitting anything ever. It felt like feature overload and made me think I'd need a college-level course to understand all I could do with this car.

    I'll give it to the SRX's interior designers though, who managed to package all of this technology in an appealing way. With touches of genuine wood trim on the door, gearshift, center stack and steering wheel, I couldn't help but be reminded of a country club lounge with mahogany paneling. Even the legroom in the front row reminded me of a lounge, with plenty of room to stretch out. The only thing that threw off my country club image was the amazing panoramic sunroof, which let in a ton of light and was anything but stodgy.

    While the legroom in the front was ample, it wasn't so great in the second row. But thanks to the rear entertainment system with dual screens tucked into the front seats' seatbacks, my kids had no complaints once we were buckled in and rolling. The kids also liked that the back seat had its own air-conditioning controls, so they could keep the temperature just right for them. In the fold-down armrest, the kids had easy access to two cupholders and a storage cubby that could hold snacks and small toys or the available wireless headphones for the entertainment system. A bottleholder can be found in each door.

    In the cargo area, there's a hidden storage well beneath the cargo floor that's surprisingly spacious. It'd easily hold the kids' soccer gear, an overnight bag or two, or maybe even a smaller stroller.

    Safety

    The Cadillac SRX has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn the safety honor, a car must achieve the highest score of Good in front, side-impact, rear and rollover crash tests. It also must have standard stability control, which the 2010 SRX does.

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    In addition to stability control, the SRX has standard four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, front and rear parking sensors, a backup camera and six airbags, including side-impact airbags for the front row and side curtains for both rows. A one-year OnStar subscription with Turn-by-Turn Navigation is standard. All-wheel drive is optional.

    I especially appreciated all of the parking sensors. I like these little helpers because the parking lot at my sons' elementary school gets so chaotic at times that it's scary.

    With two kids in booster seats, I found myself relying on the SRX's light-up display in the instrument cluster that let me know when all of my rear passengers were buckled. With a quick glance, I could tell if my gaggle was ready to go. My boys' booster seats fit well in the SRX. However, it could be difficult to fit a rear-facing convertible or infant-safety seat in the second row because of the legroom constraints. A forward-facing convertible should fit without any problems. The lower Latch anchors are buried under the seat cushions, but aren't too hard to get at.

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