Two for the Road USA
Automotive News and Reviews

Cathy’s Car Corner

July 2, 2011

What Happens in the Cadillac, Stays in the Cadillac

By: Larry Edsall

STAYS IN THE CADILLACI’m a grandfather, so I guess I should really like Cadillac’s new 2010 SRX, because my grandchildren certainly do.
They find it easy to climb into the roomy rear seat and up into their booster seats. They like the roominess of the back seat, and I like the fact the seat is roomy enough that they can sit without having their feet up against the back of the front seats. And that power-opening and closing rear hatch makes it really easy for them to deposit their backpacks on the drive to and from school.

My grandson really loves the beneath-the-cargo-floor storage area, which I find an ideal place to put the groceries so they don’t slide around when I drive with some enthusiasm on the way home. But my grandson likes that area because what he wants to do is to fill the plastic liner with water, rocks, twigs and such and then use it as a live tank to keep the turtles, frogs, bugs and the other critters that seem to come home with him from everyplace he visits.

But I’m sure the grandchildren’s favorite feature is the SRX’s optional rear seat entertainment system, with screens mounted on the back of the driver’s and front passenger’s seats so they can watch movies as they ride.

Pity that grandpa finds the “intuitive infotainment” technology not nearly as intuitive as Cadillac says it is and thus can only figure out which buttons to push to play that movie about half the time. Why can’t there be a nice, clear “DVD” or “Play” buttons somewhere on the center console?

My daughter finally informs me that I should push the button with an arrow on it. To me, “intuitive” means not having to hunt through an owner’s manual, plow down through screen displays, navigate a series of switchgear, or ask my daughter how to make something work. To me, “intuitive” means obvious, able to be done without much if any thought.

I know, I’m being really picky. But a vehicle such as the SRX, especially in the “AWD Performance Collection” setup with its $47,115 as-tested sticker that I’m driving, seems to have been designed with grandparents in mind.

It’s most definitely a luxury vehicle, even with that $1,195 entertainment system with its dual screens and wireless headphones and remote control — ah, that’s where I made my mistake: I should have just given my grandson the remote control and let him intuit with a 7-year-old’s perspective.

(One more note to grandparents before we close this conversation: I mentioned above that sometimes I like to drive with what I call “enthusiasm.” If you share that spirit, you might want to have a talk with your grandchildren before you get back to their parents’ house. I was recently in Illinois visiting my other daughter and her family and just happened to be driving a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, which has a Corvette-based, 426-horsepower V8 engine. I volunteered to take my 4-year-old grandson to T-ball practice and, well, he really wanted to see what the car could do and we had some fun on the way home. Nothing dangerous, but there was some engine noise and perhaps a little tire squeal as well. My grandson loved it as much as I did, but when we got home, the first thing he did was run into the house and gleefully told his mom how “fast” gompa was driving. Of course, he didn’t bother to mention how much fun he thought it was. Immediately, in a reversal of the father/daughter relationship, I was being scolded for setting a bad example.)

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