For 2006, the Cadillac SRX receives a few changes. There’s a standard power rear liftgate; reduced step-over for easy exiting; newly-styled 17- and 18-inch wheels; an enhanced optional wood package; a new Cashmere interior colour; and on the outside, new Stealth Grey, Radiant Bronze, Blackberry and Infrared colours.

Bigger than a wagon but not quite an SUV, the SRX is one of the rare vehicles that truly merits the “crossover” designation. It uses GM’s Sigma platform, which also slips under the Cadillac CTS, although the two share no sheet metal. Engine choices are a 3.6-litre V6 or a 4.6-litre Northstar V8, both of which use their own versions of a five-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Both engine sizes can be optioned up to all-wheel-drive.

Standard features on the V6 include privacy glass, fog lights, heated mirrors, roof rack side rails, rear wiper/washer, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, variable intermittent wipers, cargo cover, automatic dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped wheel with controls for audio and voice recognition systems, express up/down on all windows, leather interior, eight-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 folding rear seat, CD player with seven speakers, four ventilated brake discs, automatic headlamps, rear parking assist and OnStar.

The V8 model adds driver’s side auto-dimming exterior mirror, passenger-side reverse tilt-down mirror, 18-inch aluminum wheels, garage door opener, driver’s position memory, rear floor storage system, wood trim package, heated seats with eight-way power passenger adjustment, and six-disc CD with seven speakers.

With greater capacity than a sedan, but without the bulk of the Escalade, the SRX is an excellent choice for those who need to carry a few things and want to do so in luxury fashion. Cadillac’s new edgy styling works well on a vehicle this size. Headroom is excellent, even in the second row, which is elevated in the popular “theatre seating” style that gives rear-seat passengers better visibility. There’s an optional electrically-operated folding third-row seat that increases seating capacity to seven, but only if those two extra people are very small. If you don’t need the extra seats, the re-configurable storage system with detachable storage bin – optional on the V6 and standard on the V8, but deleted if the third row seat is ordered – is a better way to fill the SRX’s back end.

The V8 is smooth and very powerful, but the V6 does an admirable job and keeps the price down. The SRX’s handling is more ‘big car’ than truck, nimble and responsive, with 51/49 front/rear weight distribution in rear-wheel-drive configuration (52/48 in AWD). The optional all-wheel-drive is full-time with a 50/50 torque split, and the optional Magnetic Ride Control, which automatically adjusts the shocks to compensate for any road imperfections, makes this smooth-riding crossover even more so.

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