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Carry-all Cadillacs: 2010 SRX and 2010 CTS Sport Wagon

2010_cadillac_srxNow that Cadillac has been designated a core brand for the new General Motors, expect to see a rush of new vehicles bearing the traditional wreath-and-crest.

Eventually, Cadillac wants to have a line of cars that matches Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, with models that come in small, medium, and large sizes. That would give Cadillac a range that faces off against Mercedes’ C-, E-, and S-class, or BMW’s 3-, 5-,and 7-series.

For now, Cadillac only has the CTS in the center of its lineup. The larger Cadillac STS has been an underperformer; ditto for the smaller Saab-based Cadillac sold in Europe.

But Cadillac isn’t waiting for the new cars to arrive. A pair of more utilitarian Cadillacs, both new to the brand, will show up at dealers this summer.

The old SRX nameplate has been grafted onto a new vehicle, a mid-size crossover SUV that shares its platform with an upcoming Saab. The sticker on my test vehicle was $37,735.

But there is no mistaking the identification of the brand, given the thick layering of Cadillac styling cues — chrome and chrome-finished trim inside and out, flashy fender vents, and so on.

In fact, the Cadillac stylists may have overdone it. The SRX wears as much bling as an extended-length Escalade but has far less space in which to display it.

The base 260-horsepower 3.0 V-6, which the SRX shares with the Chevy Equinox, doesn’t do much to give the vehicle a distinctive personality either, providing only adequate power and atmospherics — and adequate fuel economy: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway.

2010_cts_sport_wagonBy comparison, the Sport Wagon seems perfectly comfortable in its Cadillac finery. For my money, this is the sharpest looking CTS variant. The sharp angles of the roof rack and the rear window complement the jutting front grill.

This is also a Cadillac that can get out of its own way. The standard engine is a 3.6 liter, 304-hp, V-6 that provides plenty of oomph.

Surprisingly, the close fit of the Sport Wagon body sacrifices little in the way of cargo room to the SRX. It has 25 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat and 121 cubic feet overall, vs. 29 cu. ft. and 129 cu. ft. overall for the crossover.

I did miss a start-stop button on the CTS; because the platform is older, it still has the ignition switch mounted on the steering column.

Pricing is unavailable at this time, But the CTS Sport Wagon is my favorite of the Cadillac carryalls — and my favorite Cadillac overall — in almost every way.