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.

There are four available trim levels for the SRX: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium. Even the base model comes with front and rear parking sensors, 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seatbacks, dual-zone automatic climate control, Cadillac's CUE infotainment interface and an eight-speaker sound system with iPod/USB integration. Moving up through higher trim levels adds luxuries such as a sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, xenon headlamps and a navigation system with a back-up camera. The all-wheel-drive Performance model features 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 model represents the second-generation Cadillac SRX that debuted for 2010. 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. Though output was par for the class, acceleration was sluggish due to the SRX's considerably above average weight. The optional 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque provided competitive acceleration, but it was only available in the expensive Performance Turbo or Premium Turbo trims.

For 2012 the 3.6-liter, 308-hp V6 replaced both of those engines, Bluetooth became standard and Cadillac retuned the suspension and added more sound insulation for a more comfortable and quiet ride. The following year brought the CUE infotainment interface along with new safety options such as a low-speed automatic braking system, a safety alert seat (that vibrates to warn the driver of dangerous situations), a lane departure warning system and adaptive cruise control.

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 2015 Cadillac SRX review.

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

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