Cadillac SRX AWD Turbo Premium

It’s somehow appropriate that I drove this car during the week planes across Europe were grounded, because you do feel like a bit of a pilot in front of all those dials and screens.

In a good way. There’s plenty of bling to fiddle with right up front. The touchscreen infotainment system with voice activation is enough to spoil anyone.

On the other hand, I’d just completed a week in the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon — which is a heck of a lot more fun for the driver. Not that the SRX Turbo doesn’t put out. It just spreads a bit more love to the passengers than pilot.

It may be that that pilot’s more likely a woman, and even more likely a mom.

There’s the sheer height of this substantial crossover; central accessibility of the master and child-security door locks; front and rear parking assist that’s so sensitive it practically cried at the of Avatar; and with individual DVD screens built into the back of the front seats, it’s also a plane-like experience for the kids. My daughter watched old episodes of Friends. (I’ve honestly never seen one, but from what I could hear in the front seat, that Chandler sure is dumb!) It just feels family friendly without being the socially challenging minivan compromise.

To be fair, a gentleman will still be excited behind the wheel.

It’s got big engine: a 2.8L DOHC turbo V6 that revs up to 300hp. With that much kick, it’s surprising how the SRX prefers to speak in an indoor voice even when challenged. To brutally stretch the plane analogy, you’re piloting a stealth bomber. Even when I used the driver shift 6-speed transmission and ripped into it, it barely growled — although the tachometer and speedometer registered a sudden leap in speed (as did the odd finger of jealous other drivers). Not that anyone’s complaining. The Bose surround sound didn’t want to be disturbed.

Normally I’m so-so on the all-wheel drive thing: It’s a significant expense of several thousand dollars; a weighty addition that only increases the gas bill; and most people don’t even need it. Still, if this actually is for those urban moms with their precious cargo and aggressive driving styles to make playdates, it’s a good thing. Just remember the AWD will get you started in most conditions, but it won’t stop you any better.


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