Full 2014 Cadillac SRX Review
What's New for 2014
Apart from the discontinuation of all-wheel drive on the base trim level and minor updates to option packages, the 2014 Cadillac SRX is unchanged.
Small and midsize crossover SUVs are now among the best-selling vehicles in any luxury automaker's lineup, and that's certainly the case with the 2014 Cadillac SRX. It's easy to see the appeal of crossovers like the SRX, which combines roomy accommodations for five with an attractive interior and refined ride and handling characteristics. Of course, other luxury crossovers offer similar attributes, so last year Cadillac attempted to set the SRX apart a bit by retrofitting its touch-based CUE infotainment system. We'd call it a mixed success.
Shorthand for Cadillac User Experience, CUE is slick and aesthetically pleasing, as it dispenses with traditional buttons and dials in favor of a central touchscreen display surrounded by other touch-type controls that require you to tap or slide your finger as if you were using a smartphone. It's a hands-on glimpse at the future of automotive design, but we've also found CUE slow to respond to touch inputs and, in some cases, clumsier to use than a conventional control layout. You get used to these foibles in time, but fortunately there are other good reasons to consider the Cadillac SRX.
Wide availability of safety features is one reason, as the SRX's equipment list includes automatic brake intervention in low-speed front- or rear-end collision situations and a safety alert driver seat that vibrates on either the right or left side to alert you to potential hazards on either side of the vehicle. Another feather in Cadillac's cap is the driving experience itself. Although it's not the most athletic crossover SUV in its class, being behind the wheel of an SRX definitely imparts an authentic luxury experience and it strikes an enjoyable balance between ride comfort and handling. It's also one of the few entry-level luxury crossovers that still has a standard V6 engine. The Cadillac is heavy for its size, though, so it never feels blazingly quick and fuel economy suffers as well.
Based on the strength of its overall package, the 2014 Cadillac SRX remains a solid pick in this category. We'd certainly recommend shopping around a bit, though. The 2014 BMW X3 is the front runner among compact to midsize luxury crossovers, as it offers a spacious interior, powerful and efficient engines, and truly outstanding handling for a crossover. Another to consider is the 2014 Audi Q5, which also feels athletic when driven around turns and offers both hybrid and diesel drivetrain options. The best overall value in this class is likely the 2014 Acura RDX, which also has a standard V6 engine but undercuts the SRX's pricing. The Acura doesn't come close to the 2014 SRX's long list of available safety technology, though. If this is a priority for you, the Cadillac is definitely worth a closer look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Cadillac SRX is a compact luxury crossover SUV available in four trim levels, including Base, Luxury, Performance and Premium.
The base model comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, a reclining and 60/40 split-folding rear seat, cruise control and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The CUE infotainment-control system with an 8-inch display is also standard, as are OnStar, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, two USB ports and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Luxury trim adds a keyless/remote ignition, a blind-spot warning system, a rear cross-traffic alert system, a rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate with adjustable opening height. Inside there's leather upholstery, adjustable thigh support for the driver seat, an eight-way power passenger seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, driver memory functions, power-adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, interior wood trim and accent lighting and a cargo management system. A voice-activated navigation system and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system are optional.
Optional on the Luxury trim level is the optional Driver Awareness package, which includes forward-collision and lane departure warning systems, automatic high beams and a safety alert driver seat. Also available is the Driver Assist package, which incorporates adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation and automatic braking (when your SRX identifies a potential low-speed front- or rear-end collision situation).
The SRX Performance model adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive dampers (all-wheel drive only), variable-effort power steering, adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, the navigation system and the Bose surround-sound audio system.
The top-of-the-line SRX Premium adds the Driver Awareness package as standard, along with tri-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear-seat audio controls.
A towing package and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual seatback-mounted screens are available on all but the base model.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2014 Cadillac SRX model is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for all trim levels other than Base. In Edmunds testing, a front-drive SRX model ran from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, an average time for compact luxury crossovers.
The SRX's fuel economy ratings are slightly below average, with an EPA-estimated 19 mpg combined (17 mpg city/24 mpg highway) for front-drive models and 18 combined (16 city/23 highway) for AWD. Properly equipped, the SRX can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The 2014 Cadillac SRX comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. The OnStar system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation. Front and rear parking sensors are standard on all models, while a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts are included starting on the Luxury trim level.
The optional Driver Awareness package (standard on the SRX Premium) adds forward-collision alert, lane departure warning and the safety alert driver seat. The latter vibrates on the left or right side of the seat, based on the direction in which a potential hazard looms. The optional Driver Assist package features automatic collision preparation and automatic low-speed braking, both when going forward and when in reverse.
In Edmunds brake testing, a front-drive SRX Performance came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, a good number in this class. In government crash tests, the SRX received four out of five stars in frontal crash testing and five out of five stars in side crash and overall crash test ratings. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the SRX received the top rating of "Good" in the moderate overlap, side-impact and roof strength tests. The IIHS also rated the SRX's optional frontal collision warning and mitigation system as "Superior."
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the SRX's interior trim has a high-quality look and feel, and everything is nicely put together for the most part. We wish some of the wood accents didn't look quite so polished, but the overall impression is an excellent blend of technology-meets-luxury.
The centerpiece of the cabin is certainly the CUE interface, which includes a crisp, clear 8-inch touchscreen that offers mostly intuitive control over audio, phone (and other electronic devices) and climate control functions. It also controls the navigation system when that option is equipped. Much like a smartphone or tablet, the CUE screen responds to familiar touch commands such as swipes and pinches, and includes tactile (haptic) feedback to let you know when a command has been accepted.
Unfortunately, the system is often slow to respond to inputs, and certain features like the slide-bar volume adjustment turn out to be more difficult to use than a conventional knob. In this class, we prefer the BMW iDrive and Mercedes-Benz COMAND interfaces (both of which use a multidirectional dial-type controller). On the upside, the SRX has a good voice recognition interface, so if you get tired of fiddling with the touchscreen, initiating commands by voice is pretty painless.
The Cadillac SRX offers ample room for four adults, although headroom is snug in the rear seat, particularly when the panoramic sunroof is in place. Cargo room is average for the class: 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 61 cubic feet with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down.
The 3.6-liter V6 moves the 2014 Cadillac SRX with assurance in most situations, though acceleration is better described as satisfying rather than exhilarating. The six-speed automatic transmission is a good companion, as it changes gears in a smooth, unobtrusive manner. Occasionally, it's a little slow to downshift during highway passing maneuvers, however.
You're likely to be surprised by the crispness of the 2014 SRX's handling coupled with this crossover SUV's comfortable ride. Many premium-brand crossovers give you one or the other, but the Cadillac is a nice compromise of agility and comfort. If you regularly detour onto back roads, we'd recommend an all-wheel-drive Performance or Premium model, as these SRXs feature quicker, sportier steering and an adaptive suspension that together give it an extra measure of capability around turns.