- Bold, broad-shouldered exterior
- Rich interior
- Smooth, strong new engine
- Plenty of storage spaces
- Straightforward nav/audio interfaces
- Not a comfortable back seat
- Drives heavy, feels heavy
- Unimpressive gas mileage
- Mushy brake pedal
With a smooth new engine and a rich, uniquely American interior, the 2012 Cadillac SRX appeals to those who want a lot of luxury and flair but don't require driving excitement.
The SRX is Cadillac's mid-size luxury crossover wagon, and it gets a new engine and a better driving personality for 2012, with both the 3.0-liter V-6 and 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6 now replaced by a larger 3.6-liter V-6.
While the larger engine goes counter to the trend toward smaller engines and turbocharging, the SRX feels more confident and refined with it--and more appealing. Overall, the SRX is neither a particularly rewarding vehicle to drive, nor a particularly space-efficient or fuel-efficient one, but its strength is as a vehicle with a lot of style and feel-good luxury comforts, and a distinct cabin ambiance that's more distinguished than other luxury crossovers in this price range.
The 2012 Cadillac SRX continues mostly unchanged otherwise with the new body style that was introduced for 2010. While the package was a bit more conventional overall, the look is a bit bolder and more broad-shouldered than most other vehicles in this class--especially the very conservative Lexus RX 350. Vertically stacked headlights and a trapezoidal chrome grille, plus tall taillights and some powerful side sculpting give the SRX a Cadillac family look without it appearing cookie cutter. Inside the SRX, hand-cut-and-sewn coverings on the instrument panel and ambient lighting make for a rich environment that continues Cadillac's commitment to top-flight interiors.
Cadillac has completely revamped the Cadillac SRX's powertrain lineup for 2012; both the somewhat sluggish base 3.0-liter V-6 and the thirsty turbocharged V-6 have been dropped this year, replaced by a single engine: a 308-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. The rest of it hasn't changed; there's a six-speed automatic delivering power through to the front wheels. All-wheel drive by Haldex is optional and includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential that delivers excellent poor-weather grip. While the former base engine had to be revved well into its rev band during normal acceleration, the new engine's 265 pound-foot torque plateau at just 2,400 rpm, makes the whole setup a little more confident and relaxed. Steering is one of the better units in this class--a nice hydraulic system that's nicely weighted--but the SRX isn't all that reassuring near its limits and its brake pedal is on the mushy side, with some nosedive.
Inside the SRX there's a lot to like, with great front seats, a nice driving position, and a second-row seat that's usable for adults. The cabin is remarkably well-hushed, and while the SRX is based on the Chevrolet Equinox, it's extensively padded, insulated, and reengineered. Seats are firm and well-bolstered, with extendable thigh bolsters and plenty of legroom and headroom even for larger-than-average drivers; back-seat passengers might enjoy the huge moonroof that allows a sky view above, though the seat itself doesn't feel contoured for adults or long-distance comfort. Ride quality isn't pillowy soft, but it's well muted while maintaining enough firmness for crisp handling control.
As for utility, the SRX should probe just as useful as about any other crossover on the road. The 60/40-split back seat can fold flat, and a power liftgate and an cargo-anchor system are on the options list.
The 2012 Cadillac SRX is looking like a safety superstar, with top crash-test scores from the NHTSA and the Top Safety Pick nod from the IIHS. With the usual roster of safety features, OnStar roadside and emergency assistance services are included in all SRX models, as well as stability control and anti-lock brakes. Also, an available adaptive headlight system helps illuminate around dark corners.
If you dip into the SRX's options list, or go with one of the somewhat more expensive Performance Collection or Premium Collection versions of the SRX, you won't find a thing missing in terms of high-tech connectivity and entertainment features. Highlights offered in special packages on the SRX include three-zone climate control; adaptive forward lighting that swivels the headlamps in sync with vehicle steering; a power liftgate with adjustable height setting (it won't hit your garage door if opened while parked inside); an integrated hard disc drive for audio storage; and a dual-screen video system for rear entertainment.