New & Used Cadillac SRX: In Depth
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The Cadillac SRX is a mid-size crossover that is a rival for vehicles like the Audi Q5, Lexus RX, Lincoln MKX, Mercedes-Benz GLK/GLC, and Volvo XC60. A front-driver in base form, it offers optional all-wheel drive, with both versions now powered by the same V-6 and six-speed automatic.
With only two generations behind it, the Cadillac SRX is relatively young--but in the midst of a slew of new Cadillac launches, it's now the oldest product in the lineup. A new, third-generation SRX is expected to arrive soon.
The first time around, the SRX was a very different vehicle than what is available today; more of a luxury wagon than a full-on crossover, it was based on the architecture shared with the first-generation Cadillac CTS. As such, it offered rear- or all-wheel drive and came with a choice of V-6 and Northstar V-8 engines hooked to either a five- or six-speed automatic transmission. It was well received by critics and also did well in crash tests, although it didn't prove as popular with consumers as Cadillac might have liked.
MORE: Read our 2015 Cadillac SRX review
The second generation made its debut in 2010, and its aggressive design proved a hit with buyers.
Based on the Provoq concept, the new SRX's form is edgy and modern. It’s also a bit more compact than its predecessor, offering only V-6 engines. The SRX is built on its own platform, but shares elements of the underpinnings of the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. The shift to the new platform also included a change to either front- or all-wheel drive, ditching the previous model's rear-drive basis.
It took a while for Cadillac to find an engine it liked for the SRX. At launch, the second-gen model had a 265-hp 3.0-liter V-6 as standard, with a Saab-sourced, 300-hp, 2.8-liter turbocharged six as an option. Both were offered with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, but neither engine was a favorite, with the 3.0-liter feeling a bit anemic and coarse and the 2.8 providing surgey power delivery. Cadillac eventually dropped both by 2012 in favor of a 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 that largely solves those problems, giving strong and smooth performance with maybe a little too loud of a soundtrack.
More high-tech options and a more refined interior are the hallmark of the new SRX. Whichever basic setup you choose, the SRX is available with a range of optional upgrade packages, though the front-drive vehicle’s upgrade path is skewed toward luxury features, while the all-wheel-drive SRX is pointed more toward a mixture of luxury and performance upgrades. Standard features across most of the range include dual-zone climate control, XM Radio, OnStar telematics, and tire pressure sensors. Optional upgrades add lots of potential, with a large UltraView sunroof, memory seats, a rearview camera system, wood trim, and a universal home remote available in many packages.
For the 2013 model year, Cadillac installed its CUE touch-screen interface--with capacitive controls, a reconfigurable instrument cluster, new steering-wheel controls, and extended voice controls--into the SRX. The system can connect up to ten smartphones or other media devices. Otherwise, the SRX got a couple of new active-safety packages—including a haptic-feedback seat that vibrates along with audible alerts—and a new entertainment pack, while active noise cancellation was made standard throughout the model line.
New for the 2015 model year is the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity. It offers quicker connections to OnStar and, for an extra monthly fee, can create an in-car WiFi network for mobile devices like phones, tablets, and laptops.
A new SRX, or at least an update to the current model, is expected to be announced soon, likely appearing for the 2016 model year. Don't expect too many changes from the current formula; advances are likely to be made in comfort and technology, with power and packaging remaining similar to today's model's. The updated model will get a new name, however; as part of Cadillac's latest rebranding, cars get names starting with CT while the crossovers and SUVs get XT names, with a trailing number to denote its place in the lineup. The SRX will become the XT5 as a result. Cadillac is also likely to better fill out its crossover lineup in the future, with the XT5 likely to be joined by a larger, three-row, car-based utility.