2011 Cadillac SRX Review

Consumer Reviews
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The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
May 11, 2011

The 2011 SRX has the comfort and refinement luxury crossovers expect—plus a little Cadillac attitude.

Last year, an all-new SRX--based on Chevrolet's Equinox, but extensively reengineered--made its debut, replacing the old SRX model that had failed to strike a chord with luxury shoppers. The new design gives up on the former SRX's three rows of seating for a five-passenger design, and now has a primarily front-wheel drive architecture, though all-wheel drive is offered throughout the lineup.

The look of 2011 Cadillac SRX is quite different than the tall, longer, and narrower model it replaced last year; to most eyes, the SRX looks much better balanced, with less front and rear overhang. Vertically stacked headlights and a trapezoidal chrome grille give the SRX a Cadillac family look without it appearing cookie cutter. The dramatic side sections outdo Lexus's popular RX in terms of style, and there's plenty of nice detailing on the SRX, including a powerful character line beginning at the trailing edge of the front wheel well, culminating at the taillight lens. 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.

With the redesign the SRX received last year, it went from a V-6 or V-8 powertrain lineup to all V-6s; but that doesn't mean it performs any worse. The SRX comes standard with a 265-horsepower 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6 engine, or a 300-horsepower, 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6. Both engines utilize a six-speed automatic that powers the front wheels. All-wheel drive by Haldex is optional and includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential that delivers excellent poor-weather grip. Because it's quite heavy, the 2011 SRX is merely adequate with the base V-6, and bordering sluggish with the added weight of the all-wheel drive system. However once moving, either of the two engines provides rapid acceleration--including enough to quirt out high-speed passes without sweaty palms. The SRX only comes with automatic transmissions, and while there are no steering-wheel paddle-shifters, as are so common on upscale vehicles today, there are tap-up/tap-down buttons on the shift knob.

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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 seats are firm and well-bolstered, with plenty of legroom and headroom even for larger-than-average drivers; back-seat passengers, meanwhile, might enjoy the huge moonroof that allows a sky view above.

Crossover wagons aren't meant to be driven off-road, so their utility is measured more in terms of available cargo space for weekend Costco runs. In this regard, the 2011 Cadillac SRX is as useful as just 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 cabin of the 2011 SRX is remarkably well-hushed, with wind, road, and powertrain noise all well-muted. Ride quality isn't pillowy soft, but it's well muted while maintaining enough firmness for crisp handling control.

There's not a single conventional luxury or comfort feature the 2011 Cadillac SRX doesn't have; and in terms of high-tech safety, connectivity, and entertainment features, the SRX excels. Among the options, Cadillac offers adaptive forward lighting, three-zone climate control, integrated hard-disk audio storage, a power tailgate, and a rear entertainment system. Bluetooth is standard, as is OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation service for buyers who do not opt for the car's navigation system option.

New for 2011 is Cadillac's Premium Care Maintenance, which covers oil changes, tire rotations, filter replacement and other inspections for four year or 50,000 miles.

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2011 Cadillac SRX

Styling

The 2011 Cadillac SRX has a well-balanced design, though somehow not nearly as edgy or attention-getting as the brand's CTS sedan family.

The look of 2011 Cadillac SRX is quite different than the tall, longer, and narrower model it replaced last year; to most eyes, the SRX looks much better balanced. The SUV has an angular grille and vertically arranged headlights that give it familiar look that's not an exact copy of its siblings. It's dramatic, more so than the Lexus RX.

The SRX has a powerful line drawn down its side, from the front wheel all the way to its taillights. Those taillights tip back slightly, and look almost like mini-tailfins. Unlike the real Cadillac fins of the Fifties, these pieces help the SRX cut through the air more easily. The SRX also has a spoiler integrated to the rear roof that smooths the airflow at the end of the vehicle. Cadillac offers both 18- and 20-inch wheels on the SRX.

Inside the SRX cockpit, the dash is covered in hand-assembled leather. The audio and climate controls live on the center stack in an easy-to-understand layout. Navigation is an option and it displays on a screen that rises from the dash.

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7

2011 Cadillac SRX

Performance

The 2011 Cadillac SRX is no high-performance machine, but it performs better than its family-friendly appearance might suggest.

With the redesign the SRX received last year, it went from a V-6 or V-8 powertrain lineup to all V-6s; but that doesn't mean it performs any worse. The new SRX comes standard with a 265-horsepower 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6 engine, or a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6. Both engines utilize a 6-speed automatic that powers the front wheels. An available all-wheel-drive system has an electronic limited-slip rear differential so that the SRX can deliver excellent wet-weather grip. Because it's quite heavy, the SRX is merely adequate with the base V-6, and bordering sluggish with the added weight of the all-wheel drive system. However once moving, either of the two engines provides rapid acceleration--including enough to quirt out high-speed passes without sweaty palms. The SRX only comes with automatic transmissions, and while there are no steering-wheel paddle-shifters, as are so common on upscale vehicles today, there are tap-up/tap-down buttons on the shift knob.

Cadillac tunes the SRX two different ways. Base cars can be upgraded to an FE3 setup with adaptive damping. Even when it's shod with the optional 20-inch wheels, The SRX rides smoothly. Better yet, steering response--with an excellent hydraulic assist system--is more akin to a sport sedan than what you'd experience in many other crossovers, including the Lexus RX 350. Our only complaint is that at high engine speeds (over 6,000 rpm), the engine is too loud for this level of luxury vehicle.

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2011 Cadillac SRX

Comfort & Quality

There's no third row in the 2011 Cadillac SRX, but accommodations for all five occupants are first-class.

The 2011 Cadillac SRX doesn't have the third-row seats that have almost become requisite in this class; however it's one of the better interiors among luxury crossovers. It has very good front seats with lots of support, a good driving position, and second-row seats that adults won't fear. The front seats have thick bolsters and firm cushions, and the SRX doles out lots of head and leg room even for bigger drivers. Rear-seat passengers might like the huge moonroof that opens up a view of the sky above.

Crossovers, or CUVs, aren't meant to be driven off-road, so their utility is measured more in terms of available cargo space for weekend Costco runs. In this regard, the 2011 Cadillac SRX is as useful as just 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 SRX holds up well to the magnifying glass, in terms of interior quality and fit and finish. The level of attention rivals that in the CTS sport sedan, in execution and in design.

The SRX cabin is well-hushed, with wind, road, and powertrain noise all well-muted. Ride quality isn't pillowy soft, but it's well muted while maintaining enough firmness for crisp handling control.

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10

2011 Cadillac SRX

Safety

With outward visibility one of the only exceptions, the 2011 Cadillac SRX provides top-notch safety features and occupant protection.


The 2011 Cadillac SRX comes with all the safety features that you'd expect in a luxury crossover, and crash tests have shown its occupant protection to be excellent. Head-curtain side airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, safety belts with dual pretensioners and load limiters, and OnStar are included in all SRX models. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the SRX and given it top 'good' ratings in all categories, along with its Top Safety Pick designation, which ranks the SRX among the safest new vehicles. It hasn't yet been tested by the federal government, however.

The SRX also introduces the use of Martensitic steel, one of the strongest available. It helps protect against intrusion during a side impact, while also maintaining the structure during front and rear crashes.

One quick glance at the Cadillac SRX is enough to realize that driver visibility isn't the best in the crossover segment; the rear styling is light on glass and heavy on sheetmetal, but the rear-view mirror--now standard for 2011--helps with that during parking-lot maneuvers. The adaptive headlight system, another option, helps illuminate around dark corners.

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2011 Cadillac SRX

Features

It's all here; while there aren't any truly groundbreaking features in the 2011 Cadillac SRX, no tech tidbits are conspicuously absent.

There's not a single conventional luxury or comfort feature the 2011 Cadillac SRX doesn't have; and in terms of high-tech safety, connectivity, and entertainment features, the SRX excels. Standard features on all SRX models includes keyless entry, cruise control, heated mirrors, steering-wheel audio controls, and a CD/MP3 sound system with XM Satellite Radio. In addition to the base model, the 2011 SRX is offered in Luxury Collection, Performance Collection and Premium Collection models. Highlights offered with those packages 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. Bluetooth compatibility is standard, as is OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation service for buyers who do not opt for the car's navigation system option.

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6

2011 Cadillac SRX

Fuel Economy

For anyone moving from a larger SUV and thinking they're going green, the 2011 Cadillac SRX is a bit of a disappointment

The 2011 Cadillac SRX doesn't make a lot of sense for green shoppers, as its fuel economy ratings, at just 15 to 18 mpg city and 22 to 25 highway, aren't that impressive. For getting passengers around efficiently, a number of larger crossover vehicles--and even minivans--get better mileage than this somewhat compact model. Turbocharged engines sometimes bring better mileage, but at 15 mpg city, this turbocharged 2.8-liter is far from frugal. In a real-world drive of the SRX, The Car Connection's editors didn't do well either, averaging.

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January 7, 2016
2011 Cadillac SRX AWD 4-Door Performance Collection

So safe, you can total it and go to cheer practice the same afternoon.

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I hAd a beautiful 2011 SRX, red with red caliper covers, premium chrome wheels and a custom grill. I knew my car was built for safety among other qualities including style. It had been raining for days here in... + More »
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April 16, 2015
For 2011 Cadillac SRX

lovely vehicle

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great all around suv couldnt ask for a better machine
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