Cadillac SRX Review

2013 Cadillac SRX Premium 4dr SUV Exterior

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The Cadillac SRX is a luxury crossover SUV that has lived two lives. In its first incarnation, the SRX borrowed its rear-wheel-drive underpinnings from the original CTS sport sedan and boasted options like a third-row seat and a V8. In its current form, the SRX rides on a front-wheel-drive platform (related to Chevy's Equinox), is smaller, is limited to five seats and only offers V6 power.

Like all crossovers, the Cadillac SRX utilizes components and construction more often associated with cars than trucks like its Escalade brand mate. The result is a more comfortable ride and better handling, since many consumers don't need the tougher, truck-type construction that is advisable for heavy-duty chores such as towing or off-road travel. We're bigger fans of the first SRX than the second, but even the new one is worth a look if you're partial to America's foremost luxury brand.

Current Cadillac SRX
The Cadillac SRX is a small luxury crossover SUV that seats five people. The only engine available is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Although this is one of the most robust engines in its class, the SRX's hefty weight means that acceleration is only average for the class. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

One of the SRX's most appealing traits is its healthy roster of standard equipment. There are four available trim levels for the SRX: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium. Even the base model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seatbacks, dual-zone automatic climate control and an eight-speaker Bose sound system. Higher trim levels tack on almost every conceivable luxury, including a sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, xenon headlamps and a hard-drive-based navigation system with a back-up camera. The all-wheel-drive Performance model receives a sport-tuned suspension with continuously variable damping.

In reviews, we've noted that the current SRX is a compelling entry in the compact luxury SUV segment now that it has the engine needed to keep up with the pack. Handling is surprisingly agile and the ride is quite supple, especially with the adjustable dampers. The well-appointed cabin is also notably quiet, although backseat headroom is a bit tight when it's equipped with the panoramic sunroof that comes standard on all but the base model. Tall occupants will find their heads uncomfortably grazing the roof. As long as you can live with that trade-off, the SRX is definitely worth consideration.

Used Cadillac SRX Models
The current, second-generation Cadillac SRX was completely redesigned for 2010. It is based on a front-wheel-drive crossover SUV platform rather than the rear-drive sport sedan platform of the SUV it replaced. Its subsequent size and lower price also meant that the SRX competed against compact luxury SUVs rather than those in the midsize segment. The latest luxury, convenience and technology features were also applied, along with the brand's most recent interior design themes.

For the first two model years there were two engines available. The standard 3.0-liter V6 produced 265 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque. This output was par for the class, but since the SRX weighed much more than its competitors, acceleration was sluggish. The optional 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque resulted in class-competitive acceleration, but you could only get it in an expensive, loaded Performance Turbo or Premium Turbo trim. From a used vehicle standpoint, the turbo engine is certainly desirable, though it will be hard to find, and there might be concerns about long-term maintenance.

The original Cadillac SRX was produced from 2004-'09. Its swept-back and angular styling suggested sporting intent, and it had the goods to back that up, thanks to mechanical underpinnings shared with the first-generation CTS sport sedan. For a driver whose priority is a responsive, luxurious people hauler, a used SRX of this vintage is one of our recommended choices. First-generation SRX buyers had a choice of a 260-hp 3.6-liter V6 or a 320-hp 4.6-liter V8, with the latter providing downright spirited acceleration. Rear-wheel drive was standard, and all-wheel drive was optional.

With its roomy second row, this SRX could comfortably carry four 6-foot-tall adults. An optional fold-flat third-row seat was available, but the 24 inches of third-row legroom made it suitable for only the smallest of children. Plus, with that third row in use there was no meaningful cargo capacity. Nevertheless, the third row was ideal for families who occasionally needed to tote an extra child or two on short trips.

As one would expect from a luxury SUV, the first-generation SRX had a comprehensive collection of safety and luxury-themed equipment. For big-sky fans, an optional panoramic sunroof gave the SRX a more open feeling. One option that maximized the ride and handling was GM's Magnetic Ride Control, which automatically adjusted suspension settings depending on driving and road conditions.

In reviews, we found the first-generation Cadillac SRX enjoyable to drive. The combination of the V8 and six-speed automatic transmission provided strong acceleration. The V6 was the more popular choice, however, and it should be adequate for most buyers. It also returned better fuel economy than the V8.

Changes to this SRX were minimal apart from significant interior updates for 2007, which greatly improved upon the cheap interior materials and bland design found in earlier SRXs. Also in 2007, V8-equipped models received a six-speed automatic in place of the previous five-speed.

Read the most recent 2014 Cadillac SRX review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Cadillac SRX page.


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