Under the skin, the 2010 SRX is about as different as a redesigned model can be from its predecessor. It's still a midsize five-seat crossover, but it's on a new front-wheel-drive platform, replacing the rear-drive version used from 2004 to 2009. All-wheel drive is still optional, but the new foundation promises mileage improvements and only a minor loss of passenger volume despite a decrease in the vehicle's length. The SRX competes with the Acura MDX, Lexus RX and Lincoln MKX.
The SRX at once looks taller, if not higher off the ground, than the previous generation, yet it bears a resemblance to the Cadillac CTS sport wagon. The roofline slopes downward as the beltline rises, resulting in side windows that narrow to a squint by the time they end at the D-pillars. Cadillac has long used vertical taillights as an homage to the old tail-finned designs of the 1950s, but the SRX's taillight lenses rise in a peak to form little three-dimensional tailfins.
Similar to the second-generation CTS, the new SRX has been rounded off a bit, though it still has the signature edges and facets and a prominent grille. It likewise adds chrome vents behind the front wheels that incorporate side marker lights. The standard wheels are 18 inches in diameter. Twenty-inchers are optional.
The interior is as big a jump from the previous generation as was the current CTS' interior. The SRX's design now emulates the sedan's, complete with an optional navigation touch-screen that rises from the dashboard. The materials are much improved, and the gauge lighting is top-notch.
The backseat accommodates three passengers and had 60/40-split, folding backrests that extend the cargo area forward. Both a power liftgate and an adjustable cargo-floor anchor system are available.
Convenience and entertainment technology includes standard Bluetooth connectivity and optional hard-disk-drive music storage, plus a dual-screen backseat video system.
Under the Hood
The SRX offers two engines: The base V-6 is a 260-horsepower 3.0-liter, and the optional upgrade is a smaller but turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 good for 300 hp. Both are direct-injection designs, a relatively new development in gasoline engines that improves power, efficiency or both. The SRX now includes an "eco mode" that, when activated, helps maximize mileage. The base engine runs on regular gas, while the turbo version prefers premium.
Both engines drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional, as is an additional rear electronic limited-slip differential, which transfers power between the left and right rear wheels for even better traction.
The SRX has front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats and curtain airbags that cover all the side windows. Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard, as is OnStar with a year's free subscription. Adaptive headlights, which swivel in the direction of a turn, are also offered.