2009 Cadillac SRX Review

Consumer Reviews
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The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
December 31, 2008

The 2009 Cadillac SRX enters its last year as a good-looking and functional crossover, but tight third-row seating and poor fuel efficiency remain as blemishes on an otherwise solid package.

To put together this definitive review on the 2009 Cadillac SRX, TheCarConnection.com consulted with a wide range of reviews from across the Web. TheCarConnection.com's car experts have also driven several versions of the Cadillac SRX to be able to deliver a conclusive opinion on the car, to compare it with other cars in the class, and to help you make a smart purchase decision.

The acclaimed Cadillac SRX crossover continues to offer one of the segment’s most satisfying combinations of sports sedan-like driving character and SUV spaciousness. It delivers these attributes with the dramatic design, technology, and craftsmanship driving Cadillac’s ongoing renaissance.

For 2009, the SRX crossover maintains its distinctively styled exterior and luxurious interior. Performance is derived from either a 3.6-liter V-6 with variable valve timing or a powerful 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 renowned for its power and smoothness.

The 2009 SRX remains a tastefully drawn crossover vehicle that's aging well in its final years on the market (it was introduced in 2004 and will be replaced in the 2010 model year). The interior was redesigned mid-cycle, and the updated center console and trim impart a much richer feel to the Cadillac SRX than the original cockpit. The wagonesque rear defers to utility over style, but the design has improved with age. The SRX's interior can hold as many as seven passengers with the optional power-folding third-row seat, but those in the third row should be very small—elementary-school small. The second-row seat is much more hospitable to adults and teenagers alike.

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The 2009 Cadillac SRX handles nimbly, with either its standard suspension or GM's optional Magnetic Ride Control, which uses magnetic force to control the stiffness of the shocks. The SRX is built off the same platform as the Cadillac CTS and STS; although not a lot of parts are shared, it nonetheless shows the benefit of good building blocks.

The 2009 SRX comes with a 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower V-6 as the standard engine teamed with a five-speed automatic. This is the price leader, but it won’t satisfy your needs if you are looking for performance, and its fuel economy is not worth the sacrifice in acceleration. Luckily there is the optional 4.6-liter, 320-horsepower Northstar V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It provides a lot more power; it can launch the crossover to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, but fuel economy is still an issue. Available in either rear- or all-wheel drive with either engine its 4,000-pound-plus heft cuts fuel economy to 13 mpg city with the V-8 versions and only ranges up to 15 mpg with the base V-6 rear-wheel-drive version. .

The ’09 SRX also features the popular Adaptive Remote Start system, which starts the engine, can adjust cabin temperature to personal preferences, engage the defrosters, and activate the available heated seats from up to 200 feet away. Other features include a standard navigation system on the V-8 version (it's optional with the V-6). OnStar-equipped models also get turn-by-turn navigation assistance. Adaptive Remote Start is a new option for 2009; it permits the driver to start the engine, adjust the heat and air to a preset temperature, and defrost the windows. An optional Ultra View sunroof opens nearly all the first two rows of seats to sunshine. Six airbags and stability control are standard.

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2009 Cadillac SRX

Styling

The 2009 Cadillac SRX might be aging but it is doing it gracefully.

The SRX was introduced for 2004, but it remains a tastefully drawn crossover vehicle that's aging well. The wagonesque rear of the 2009 Cadillac SRX defers to utility over style, but the design has gotten better with age.

Cadillac’s edgy “Art & Science” was the theme when the SRX was introduced in 2004, and it still fits in well with more sophisticated Caddys like the 2009 CTS. Autoblog appreciates the "V-shaped grille and chiseled vertical tail lamps" on the 2009 Cadillac SRX and notes enthusiasts might want to opt for the Cadillac SRX Sport Package with a more substantial front grille, along with a "lip spoiler and 20-inch wheels." Car and Driver chides the 2009 Cadillac SRX for having "wagon-like boxiness [that] may polarize audiences," though it also says, “Like a coronation tuxedo, the SRX looks as starched and crisp as something from the Queen's own cleaners.” Edmunds comments, “The SRX's swept-back and angular styling suggests sporting intent.”

The interior of the SRX has been updated and is generally liked by reviewers. The "tasteful wood and alloy trim" that impresses Edmunds is accompanied on the 2009 Cadillac SRX by "supple leather upholstery and classy touches like an analog clock." Kelley Blue Book singles out the 2009 Cadillac and its "new dash" as "straightforward."

“The center stack has been revamped,” mentions an impressed Autoblog, commenting that the Cadillac SRX models are "now capped and bordered by an aluminum trim piece that adds much needed detail." Other Cadillac SRX features reviewers single out include "classier-looking heating vents" that give the 2009 Cadillac SRX an "uncluttered look."  Cars.com says the "curvy center stack and conventional slatted air vents" are standouts.

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2009 Cadillac SRX

Performance

Crisp sport-sedan handling sets the SRX apart, but its fuel economy won’t win friends.

The 2009 Cadillac SRX handles surprisingly well for an SUV, and with the Magnetic Ride Control option, you’ll quickly forget that you are piloting a taller vehicle.

The 2009 SRX comes with a 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower V-6 as the standard engine teamed with a five-speed automatic. This is the price leader, but it won’t satisfy your needs if you are looking for performance, and its fuel economy is not worth the sacrifice in acceleration. Luckily there is the optional 4.6-liter, 320-horsepower Northstar V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It provides a lot more power—it can launch the crossover to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds—but fuel economy is still an issue. Car and Driver characterizes both the V-6 and V-8 as "engines to be proud of," though they called out the V-8-powered 2009 Cadillac SRX as “a sports car among SUVs." Autoblog believes that Cadillac and SRX enthusiasts will enjoy the "smooth operation and responsiveness" of both 2009 Cadillac SRX engines. They declare the 2009 Cadillac offering of a "3.6L [as] very good—quiet but stout enough to move the SRX briskly." Edmunds reports, “The combination of the Northstar V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission provides strong acceleration,” but adds that the V-6 is “adequate for most drivers.”

The SRX is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive, and with either powertrain, fuel economy is unimpressive—as low as 13 mpg city with the V-8. Unlike many other SUVs, the 2009 Cadillac SRX V-6 option impresses ConsumerGuide by using "regular-grade gas," while recommending "premium for the V-8."

The 2009 Cadillac SRX handles nimbly, with either its standard suspension or GM's optional Magnetic Ride Control, which uses magnetic force to control the stiffness of the shocks. Autoblog attests "in terms of overall ride and handling, [the Cadillac SRX] is nothing short of excellent." Kelley Blue Book declares the "2009 Cadillac SRX glides serenely without veer or vagueness." While the "steering feel is light at first," they say, the suspension "quickly firms up as the speed rises." A hallmark of the crossover SRX, Cadillac designs a reasonable turn radius that makes it "relatively easy to park and maneuver in tight spots." MyRide.com, though, notes the SRX "tends to understeer heavily when entering a turn too hot, and the body leans more than a typical passenger car." Car and Driver contends the SRX “feels like a sports car among SUVs with predictable steering, athletic handling, and well-weighted throttle and brakes.”

Other reviewers rate the Magnetic Ride Control as a must-have. ConsumerGuide says the Magnetic Ride Control system is nearly essential: "without it, SRX suffers from lots of bounding and other unwanted body motions, even on mildly rippled pavement."

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2009 Cadillac SRX

Comfort & Quality

Keep the third-row seats stowed away and you’ll be happy with the 2009 Cadillac SRX.

The 2009 SRX's interior can hold as many as seven passengers with the optional power-folding third-row seat, but those in the third row should be very small—elementary-school small. The second-row seat is much more hospitable to adults and teenagers alike.

Car and Driver likes the “roomy interior” and “proficiently sculpted front seats” in the SRX, while Kelley Blue Book reports that up front in the SRX, "the seats are firm and supportive." The second-row seat is hospitable for adults, too: “With an impressive 41 inches of legroom in the second row, the SRX will comfortably carry four six-foot adults,” Edmunds says. Cars.com notes "all passengers sit higher in the SRX than in a luxury sedan but lower than occupants in a typical SUV." Kelley Blue Book agrees that the SRX is ideal for those who "would prefer to sit up a bit higher." Automedia states that “the second-row seat boasts class-leading legroom and folds virtually flat, while the third-row bench power-folds into the floor.”

Reviewers are thoroughly impressed with the versatility of the interior and the sheer number of places to put smaller things. Automedia reports, “The optional rear cargo management system, with three cargo compartments and a removable storage bin, will stow anything from a car care or emergency kit to sports equipment to DVDs or CDs.”

The SRX offers a third row of seating, but after reading a range of reviewers, it’s clear that they’re extremely small and cramped, with very limited cargo space when they’re in place. Edmunds notes the optional fold-flat third-row seat has only “24 inches of legroom,” which “makes it suitable for only the smallest of children. Plus, with that third row in use there is no meaningful cargo capacity.” MyRide.com confirms the SRX’s cargo space is “small for vehicles of this size,” and Kelley Blue Book thirds it, noting the SRX "loses most of its cargo space" when using the optional third row of seats. With the third row of seats lowered, Edmunds finds the 2009 Cadillac SRX has "plenty of sprawl room."

The recent redesign of the center console and trim imparts a much richer feel to the materials and surfaces in the 2009 Cadillac SRX. Car and Driver still is less than impressed with the Cadillac SRX quality when compared with other luxury SUV manufacturers, noting what they perceive as "poorer fit and finish than German competitors."

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2009 Cadillac SRX

Safety

The 2009 Cadillac SRX earns good crash-test scores and comes with many safety systems standard.

Nearly all of the most important safety features that protect passengers in a crash or help to avoid a collision are standard in all 2009 Cadillac SRX trims.

Cars.com reports that anti-lock brakes, stability control, and side and curtain airbags are standard on the SRX. MyRide.com notes "four-wheel-vented-disc ABS with Dynamic Rear Proportioning (DRP) included on every Cadillac SRX."

In federal testing at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the SRX was awarded four stars for front impact protection and five stars for side impact protection. Two-wheel-drive versions earned a rollover rating of three stars, but four-wheel drive lowered their center of mass slightly to earn a better four stars.

A “good” rating was awarded to the SRX for front impacts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but it didn’t test the crossover for side-impact safety.

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2009 Cadillac SRX

Features

The 2009 Cadillac SRX can be equipped to meet your needs and desires, though it lacks high-tech options such as adaptive cruise control.

The 2009 Cadillac SRX comes very well equipped, as you might expect from any Cadillac model; there’s also a short list that includes several clever and luxurious options.

Standard features include power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; air conditioning; and an AM/FM/CD player. Major options include the third-row seat, leather trim, and all-wheel drive with either engine/transmission combination.

Among the standout features, Cadillac's "Adaptive Remote Start system" allows starting and climate adjustment "from up to 200 feet away," according to Cars.com reviewers. An "SRX Sport package" comes "with 4-inch dual polished exhaust tips, a six-speed automatic with Drive Control shift, all-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential."

The 2009 Cadillac SRX sound system should appeal to younger drivers, according to Autoblog, citing the impressive "Bose 5.1 audio system, which includes a single-disc CD player, MP3 compatibility, DVD, navigation and XM radio." Also handy is a "center console [with] ample storage" and a "double glove box" with "a 'secret' compartment that's fully lined."

Meanwhile, outdoor types might be pulled in by the Premium Luxury Package, which Automedia especially likes. “For wind and sun worshipers, nearly the entire SRX interior can be opened to the elements with the optional ‘UltraView’ sunroof system, the largest available in the segment,” the reviewer declares.

A navigation system is standard on the SRX V-8 model, but it’s optional on the V-6. OnStar-equipped models also get turn-by-turn navigation assistance.

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April 28, 2015
2009 Cadillac SRX AWD 4-Door V6

A luxuary sporty SUV that is fun and comfortable to drive, yet a real workhorse to move cargo

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The 2009 Cadillac SRX is a wonder car to drive with plenty of get up and go. Provides a quality and comfortable luxury ride, yet can haul cargo with the best of the SUVs. The 2009 model was the last year for... + More »
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