2014 Cadillac SRX Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 11, 2014

The 2014 Cadillac SRX is the uniquely American pick among luxury crossovers; and its interior appointments and class-leading technology don't disappoint.

The 2014 Cadillac SRX has a chiseled, gleaming exterior that fits right in with that of the Escalade SUV, and its daring interior style follows closely in the footsteps of the GM luxury brand's contemporary sedans. Yet as the more carlike crossover utility vehicle in the luxury brand's lineup, it's something quite different.

The SRX is a striking outlier in a class that includes vehicles like the conservative Lexus RX. The Cadillac has some of the swept-back presence of its sedan cousins, and some of the panache and presence of the brawny Escalade.Cadillac has kept the interior contemporary with some fresh trim and material combinations each year, and 2014 is no exception. This year there's a new trio of exterior colors--Graphite Metallic, Terra Mocha Metallic and Sapphire Blue Metallic--while there's a new Caramel interior with Ebony accents.

Of all the vehicles in the Cadillac lineup, the SRX is the one most aimed at drivers who need space more than performance. The two-row SUV has seats for five, nicely contoured chairs front and back, and a good driving position. The cabin is quiet, thanks to active noise cancellation.

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All SRX crossovers draw power from a 3.6-liter V-6 with 308 hp. A 6-speed automatic moves power to the front or to all four wheels. The SRX may have superior traction with all-wheel drive, but it's also a hefty machine, with 4,500 pounds of curb weight blunting its strong V-6. Handling is less than nimble, and the transmission's tall gearing doesn't help much.

The SRX still leads in safety. The NHTSA gives it five stars overall, and the IIHS gives it a Top Safety Pick nod. Cadillac offers a roster of safety technology with features like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking.

The CUE infotainment interface is also cutting-edge, but not quite ready for prime time. Its touch-sensitive screen can accept tap, swipe, and pinch gestures and generates its own tactile feedback as a substitute for real buttons. It's not as quick to respond as we'd like, and it gets hung up on occasion. Behind the infotainment screen hides a storage bin; the screen motors out of the way to expose it.

All SRXs come with power features, cruise control, and Bluetooth with audio streaming. Upper trim levels get automatic climate control; a power liftgate; a twin-screen rear-seat entertainment system; and adaptive headlights that swerve along with changes in the direction of the car.

7

2014 Cadillac SRX

Styling

The 2014 Cadillac SRX doesn't seduce from a distance, like some of other Cadillac products, but its interior is top-notch.

Like much of Cadillac's lineup, the 2014 SRX is chiseled and squared-off at the corners, with a look that's distinctive, and really different than anything else on the market if you go by design details. Inside especially, the SRX strikes out on its own path, with details and an overarching design that are uniquely Cadillac.

The SRX doesn't have the panache or the gargantuan presence of the big Escalade, but it's a tidy fit with other luxury crossover SUVs. It's less a cookie-cutter vehicle than the Lexus RX. It's more sculpted, more dramatic, and more finely chiseled at the ends. The proportions aren't ideal, but the SRX has no boring angles.

The cockpit got a refresh in the SRX last year and received the CUE interface and its touchscreen. That screen sits front and center on the console. It has slide controls and proximity-sensing surfaces instead of switches and buttons. That plus the ambient lighting and supple leather on the dash give the SRX a tech-forward, but rich, appearance.

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2014 Cadillac SRX

Performance

You won't find a lot of nimbleness or responsiveness in the Cadillac SRX, but its powertrain is very smooth.

We'll call the 2014 Cadillac SRX confident, but not all that quick or inspiring--especially considering that it has a 308-horsepower engine under the hood.

Where's the urgency you'd expect with that power? The SRX has a transmission that's geared fairly tall, which means long spans between ratios. It makes peak torque at a fairly high 2,400 rpm, and the 6-speed automatic is fairly quick to upshift, in the interest of saving fuel. It doesn't respond quickly enough when a quick zap of power is needed to overtake on the highway. It is capable of shuttling to 60 mph in 7 seconds, which puts it in the realm of the Lexus RX and the Acura MDX.

The SRX comes as a front-wheel-drive vehicle in base trim. All-wheel drive, supplied by Haldex, is an option. It incorporates an electronic limited-slip differential that helps gather grip in wet-weather conditions, but it's not meant for any serious off-roading.

The SRX lumbers along through most maneuvers, hampered by a 4,500-pound curb weight. The hydraulic steering unwinds from corners nicely, and feels predictable. The weight is the big issue: the SRX feels heavy when it leans into corners. The height of the vehicle doesn't help, and the brakes feel spongy. On the up side, the SRX doesn't ride roughly, even on 20-inch wheels, and even with the optional sport suspension, which comes with adaptive dampers that take the sting out of the worst road conditions.

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2014 Cadillac SRX

Comfort & Quality

With a lavish feel and great seats, the interior of the 2014 Cadillac SRX is first-class.

There are vehicles on the market that are more space-efficient than the 2014 Cadillac SRX--fitting three rows of seating into about the same footprint as the two-row SRX--but this Cadillac has a very comfortable, usable space for five plus excellent versatility.

The interior has just two rows of seating, but it's really for the better; there's ample space for five, with well-contoured seats front and back--plus extendable thigh bolsters in front and what most adults will find to be a great seating height. As such, the interior is roomy, nicely detailed, lavishly appointed, and one of the nicest in this size and price range.

Especially from one of the front seats, there's a lot to like. The driving position is upright, and front seats are nicely contoured and well bolstered--even with extendable thigh bolsters for taller drivers. Back-seat passengers will like the long moonroof, which gives the interior an airy feel. Head and leg room back there is a little tight, but good contouring and long cushions saves it.

The SRX acquits itself well against its competitors, in terms of storage space and usefulness. The back seat splits and folds to expand the cargo area, and Cadillac offers a cargo anchor system and a power liftgate with programmable opening positions.

What sets the SRX apart from mainstream crossover models, other than its feature set, is in the details. Its design holds up well, with materials, fits, and finishes that feel as good or better than other vehicles in the class, and a level of detailing that closely parallels what you see in the new XTS flagship. There's a sense of solidity throughout.

With either of the suspension setups, ride quality isn't pillowy soft, but it's tight enough for crisp handling without being too jarring. Your passengers will be happy, and this is actually a decent vehicle for realtors or others who want to impress clients but not be too over-the-top.

A new active noise cancellation system introduced last year uses a microphone to detect ambient noise and counteracts harshness; with it or not, the SRX cabin is a very quiet, comfortable place for the commute or a long road trip. There's also remarkably little noise from under the hood.

10

2014 Cadillac SRX

Safety

Top ratings from both U.S. agencies and some standout accident-avoidance technology make the 2014 SRX a safety superstar.

The 2014 SRX should rank high among safety-conscious shoppers, as it has some of the most impressive safety features in its class, plus top ratings for occupant protection.

The IIHS says the SRX is a Top Safety Pick; the NHTSA gives it five stars overall for crash protection. Cadillac fits the SRX with adaptive cruise control and front and rear emergency braking assistance--and this year, adds adaptive headlights. Forward-collision warnings are available, and the IIHS says the system is one of the best you can buy,

All SRX crossover SUVs get OnStar hardware, which offers subscription plans to deliver data and concierge services into the car, as well as automatic crash alerts.

Outward vision isn't a strength of the SRX, though. The parking sensors and rearview camera mitigate the problem, but short drivers will notice the sliver of a rearward view, caused by the vehicle's thick roof pillars.

9

2014 Cadillac SRX

Features

With CUE in the middle of the dash and a long list of luxury features, the Cadillac SRX aims upward.

For traditional luxury or high-tech connectivity, the 2014 Cadillac SRX has a strong set of features, including a great collection of entertainment and active-safety extras. And you have a lot of choice in interior appointments, with some plush upgrades if you check the right option boxes and have a little more room in the budget.

A new infotainment interface is dubbed CUE, for Cadillac User Experience. The touchscreen system can be controlled by voice, by steering-wheel controls, and by proximity and touch/swipe/pinch gestures on its 8-inch screen. The system offers haptic clues when you press on its surface, but it's not as predictable or as familiar as ordinary switches and buttons. Behind the touchscreen, Cadillac's hidden a storage chamber for electronic devices. Bluetooth connectivity and HD radio are a part of the system.

Upper SRX trims get standard adaptive headlights, a power tailgate, automatic climate control, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

The most expensive SRX Premium crossover has Bose audio, ventilated and heated front seats, navigation, heated side mirrors, heated rear seats and steering wheel, special wood interior trim, rear-seat audio controls, adjustable pedals, and remote start.

Even base versions have a lot of standard equipment, including power features, keyless entry, satellite radio, and Bluetooth with audio streaming.

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2014 Cadillac SRX

Fuel Economy

Mileage is disappointing, for a vehicle that's barely mid-size.

Considering all the other more fuel-efficient choices in its niche, it's hard to make an argument for the Cadillac SRX if you're motivated to in any way 'buy green.'

The EPA rates the SRX as low as 16 mpg city, and as high as 24 mpg highway. Some of its rivals, like the Audi Q5, get up to 30 mpg highway in their most efficient versions--which perform about as well as the chunky SRX.

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August 17, 2015
2014 Cadillac SRX FWD 4-Door Luxury Collection

BEATS OUR PRIOR SUV ...HANDS DOWN !!!

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In our thirty year marriage, my wife has never been completely satisfied with any vehicle we've owned UNTIL now... Our 2014 SRX by Cadillac has fit the order and she has yet to complain after 10 months of... + More »
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