Review: 2012 Cadillac SRX
We drive Caddy's luxo crossover.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: January 23rd, 2012
When Lexus launched its RX crossover SUV well-nigh a decade ago, it only made sense that rival luxury makes would follow with five-seat crossovers of their own.
Cadillac's first SRX didn't quite click with audiences, despite offering third-row seating. When the brand unveiled its second-generation SRX, it downshifted to offering only five seats, placing it even more firmly into the RX's realm.
Price-wise, the SRX is right there, too, with our all-wheel-drive Premium Collection tester tipping just barely over the $50K mark.
While the RX may still rule the soccer-mom roost, the SRX makes a worthy competitor, thanks to its angular styling and Cadillac luxury (more on that in a moment). A new engine enters the picture for 2012—all SRX models have a 300-horse 3.6-liter V-6 that's E85 capable—while the same 6-speed automatic transmission carries over.
Features & Prices
Premium means lots of standard goodies for the price, such as: Bluetooth, a 10-gigabyte hard drive, an 8-inch touch screen, rear-seat audio controls, OnStar, a sports suspension, 20-inch wheels, an auxiliary jack, a USB port, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, cruise control, power adjustable pedals, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, fog lamps, remote vehicle start, heated rear seats, rain-sensing wipers, a power sunroof, satellite radio, front and rear parking assist, a rearview camera, stability control, headlamp washers, a power liftgate, and more. The base price on our tester was $48,785, and a $1,395 dual-DVD entertainment system brought the price to $50,180. The $875 destination took the as-tested total to $51,055.
Slide into the SRX and step on the gas, and you're rewarded with a nice growl from the V-6 as those 300 ponies set to work. Acceleration is lively, at least by crossover SUV standards, and the exhaust note filters into the cabin at just the appropriate volume. Unlike the isolating RX, the SRX involves the driver, but never to the point of annoyance. Sheltered suburbanites won't complain, but enthusiasts will notice that the SRX has at least some soul to speak of.
Some might say that the 20-inch wheels give the SRX too much soul, at least when it comes to ride. The SRX can be plush on the right type of pavement, but get onto a broken road and you'll get bounced around a bit. Not enough to spill your triple-shot half-caf double-chocolate mocha, but enough to notice. The SRX is still car-like enough to satisfy the McMansion masses, but it has a ways to go to match the RX for on-road composure.
Handling feels nimble-ish, as is par for the course for these soft-roaders, but the head of the PTA cares not a whit about such things. Instead, most buyers will appreciate the power liftgate and large cargo area. The up/down nav screen is also quite neat.
Rear seat space is a bit tight—both in terms of headroom and legroom—for grown adults, but front seat space is more than adequate. If you need more space, Cadillac dealers have an Escalade they'd love to show you.
Inside, the SRX coddles, although some materials lag behind the rivals in quality. Still, we took our tester from Chicago to Detroit and back with little complaint after plenty of seat time.
Fuel economy is predictably rated on the low side, thanks to AWD plus the V-6 plus the over two-ton curb weight. The EPA ratings check in at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway, and we averaged 18.29 mpg in our time with the SRX, which included a round trip from Chicago to Detroit.
What the SRX is then, is the luxury crossover for those who only want to be mostly isolated. It’s louder and rougher around the edges than its rivals, but that doesn't mean it’s uncouth. The smallest mansion on the block is still a mansion.
All of which is to say, the SRX does the luxury thing well. And it's quick and fun to drive (at least by crossover SUV terms). It's just not quite as car-like and insulating as the RX.
Which is fine by us. Sure, the RX rules the carpool lane. But there's nothing wrong with being different--especially when you don't have to sacrifice.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2012 Cadillac SRX, click here: 2012 Cadillac SRX.