Cadillac can’t seem to settle on a powertrain for its hot-selling SRX. The second-gen crossover was introduced in 2010 with Saab’s turbocharged 2.8-liter six as an option (it was sacked early this year; no big loss) and a 3.0-liter V-6 as the base engine (also gone for 2012). Both are being replaced by GM’s 3.6-liter V-6, which will be the only available motivator for now. A plug-in hybrid version—caught here by our covert photogs—should join the lineup soon enough. The 2013 model year also will bring a mild interior update with touch-sensitive controls.
These fresh spy shots show a pretty plain-looking SRX with one major exterior difference: a second fuel door stitched into the left rear quarter panel. (If it weren’t for the sloppy welds, we may not have noticed the extra orifice.) This Caddy’s range will be extended not by a second gas tank, but by a plug-in hybrid system charged through the port under that flap. And if you had any doubt that this is indeed a hybridized Cadillac, check the hybrid-badged Dell laptop sitting inside. Proof positive.
The system likely will be an evolution of the plug-in system almost offered on the Saturn Vue Green Line two-mode hybrid—the brand was killed before that ute could see the light of a showroom. As such, a V-6 (smaller than the 3.6 used in Saturn’s iteration) or even an efficient four-cylinder would suck the gas, while a lithium-ion battery would supply amps. The trap-door grilles offered in the eAssist Buick LaCrosse as well as the upcoming Chevy Malibu Eco may be applied here to aid aerodynamics.
Aside from the engineer’s computer cluttering up the cabin, this prototype show some other interior updates coming to all SRXs. Chief among them is a static center touch-screen display, which replaces the pop-up-toaster-style unit on the current car. Below that, you may notice a complete lack of controls. Instead, there’s some metal trim that resembles a Guy Fawkes mask, which we expect will become the touch-sensitive interface for multimedia, navigation, and climate-control adjustments. GM has already gone this route on the Volt, and it’s similar to Ford’s MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems, which use capacitive-touch sensors and sliders in place of buttons and knobs. Whereas the Volt gets its functions silkscreened onto the respective button-replacing areas, Cadillac appears to be going the backlit route, possibly so that functions can be changed depending on what’s being controlled.
The same style of controls also can be seen on the steering wheel, where the all-black areas will light up with their functions. The wheel sits below a revised gauge package; the hood over the pod has been reshaped, and the gauges themselves go more traditional, eschewing the current car’s center LCD. We expect most, if not all, of its info—plus hybrid-specific data—will instead be seen on the new, bigger center screen.
The updated interior should arrive at the same time as the plug-in model, and be a part of all SRX variants, regardless of powertrain. The touch-sensitive infotainment controls probably will spread throughout the Cadillac lineup. The CTS is a good candidate for a retrofit, and we already spotted the system in the upcoming XTS. As for the plug-in model, we’re hopeful Cadillac can get acceptably large rocker-panel decals to announce its hybridity—they’ve worked so well to move hybrid Escalades.
Thanks to: Car and Driver