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The 2015 Cadillac SRX is a smaller, more carlike counter to the macho, super-luxurious Escalade. At the same time, it takes aim at a completely different crowd—those who want a comfortable, manageable utility vehicle that performs well but is more mild-mannered and economical to drive and own.
The SRX is the most dated model in the Cadillac lineup, yet it still still does manage to look contemporary. It wears the edgy Arts and Science design that we've come to know from Cadillac, and its upscale interior harkens more to the brand's newest sedans than any of GM's lesser vehicles.
Power for all SRX models comes from a 308-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine, with a six-speed automatic transmission. You can get this vehicle with front- or all-wheel drive, and the all-wheel-drive models use a Haldex system with electronic limited-slip differential; the latter is a great choice for snowy climates and bad weather. Overall, though, the SRX isn't as quick or nimble as you might guess for this size of a vehicle with more than 300 hp; that's because of rather tall gearing and a hefty 4,500-pound curb weight. The engine makes its peak torque at 2,400 rpm, so the setup is relaxed enough, and the dash to 60 mph takes just seven seconds. It's from a standing start, or in passing maneuvers where the SRX doesn't feel as quick on its feet as the Acura MDX, Lincoln MKX, or even Lexus RX 350.
Among Cadillac models, the SRX is perhaps the one most focused more toward space and versatility than performance. Although the interior has just two rows of seating, 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. 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.
Compared to its top-selling rival, the Lexus RX 350, the SRX is a striking outlier, inside especially, even if it doesn't carry the swept-back, long-hooded proportions of those sedans—or quite enough of the panache and presence of the new Escalade, in our opinion. It fits in with other luxury crossovers on the outside, while the details and the overarching design of its interior make it its uniquely Cadillac.
The 2015 SRX remains at the front of its class for safety, whether you judge that on occupant safety or active measures. It's earned top five-star ratings from the federal government as well as Top Safety Pick status from the IIHS; and last year Cadillac added an array of radar-, camera-, and sensor-based safety systems, including adaptive cruise control, cross traffic alert, a safety alert seat, and automatic front and rear braking assist. Last year Cadillac has added its Intellibeam headlamps as part of the Driver Awareness Package.
The SRX has one of the most advanced instrument panels on the market, with the CUE infotainment system included across the model line; it includes enhanced steering-wheel and instrument-panel controls, plus an eight-inch capacitive screen interface with proximity sensing—giving you more options only as your hands approach. The touch-based controls feature both haptic feedback and proximity sensing technology to ensure consumers know when a command has been registered. And the touch-screen is motorized and can flip up to reveal a hidden storage cubby. CUE can pair up to ten Bluetooth devices, and incorporates all the latest technology including standard HD radio, Bluetooth audio streaming.
Luxury Collection, Performance Collection and Premium Collection models add many more features, including three-zone climate control; adaptive forward lighting that swivels the headlamps in sync with vehicle steering; a power liftgate with adjustable height setting; and a dual-screen video system for rear entertainment.
New for this year is OnStar's inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity, with the ability to create an in-car WiFi network to utilize the data plan.