2013 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
July 12, 2013

The 2013 Cadillac SRX has a roomy, rich, uniquely American interior, and with new interior technology it's now the iPhone of crossovers.

Cadillac updated the powertrain in the SRX mid-size luxury crossover last year, and now it's adding its new high-tech infotainment interface for 2013.

The 2013 Cadillac SRX shows a somewhat different, more distinctive personality on the inside than it advertises outside. While it fits right in with other luxury crossovers on the outside, its uniquely Cadillac interior continues to stand out in its class--both in the details and in the overarching design. This year, Cadillac's updating the grille for a little more presence; there are also new LED light pipes, and the 20-inch wheels are restyled, in either chrome or polished finishes. Inside, the look is uniquely American, and the ambient lighting and leather dash make for a rich environment.

But the big news is that the cabin of all 2013 SRX models will feature Cadillac's new CUE infotainment interface. From an 8-inch screen, almost all functions for the vehicle are now controlled via touch. The touch-based system responds to swipes, taps, and generates haptic feedback to positively confirm those gestures. The screen powers up out of the dash and hides a storage bin. The interface has HD radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and the ability to pair up to 10 Bluetooth devices.

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Cadillac has taken a comfortable, well-hushed interior and made it quieter for 2013 with new active noise cancellation. By sampling cabin noise with a microphone, the computer will counteract the sound waves through the audio system. The 2013 SRX interior also features a revised steering wheel, and shift knob design, a new instrument cluster which incorporates a revised driver information center for CUE, and a new Light Titanium interior color choice, which is matched with new Raven Sapele wood color accents. Thanks to well-contoured seats, front and back--including extending thigh bolsters in front and a good seating height--we find this interior very passenger-friendly.

The SRX continues with the new 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and 6-speed automatic that were added for 2012. Front- or all-wheel-drive models are available. All-wheel-drive SRX crossovers have a a Haldex setup with an electronic limited-slip rear differential providing excellent traction in bad weather.

The 2013 SRX has confident acceleration, although we can't say that it feels anywhere as sprightly as the Acura MDX, Lincoln MKX, or Lexus RX 350. But thanks to the engine's 265 pound-foot torque plateau, at just 2,400 rpm, the whole setup feels relaxed--and 60 mph comes on in a relatively quick seven seconds. It's not sprightly or nimble, though, due to the combination of rather tall transmission gearing and its substantial 4,500-pound curb weight. On the bright side, the hydraulic power steering is precise and confident.

The SRX is a safety superstar, with top ratings from the NHTSA and the IIHS.

For 2013 Cadillac is adding new safety features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic brake assist.These new features rely on radar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors to help prevent crashes. Whether you want traditional luxury, or high-tech connectivity or entertainment, the Cadillac SRX has a strong set of features. And for 2013, with the addition of CUE, and a revised set of steering-wheel and instrument-panel controls to match, the SRX offers one of the most advanced interiors on the market.

Top Premium Collection models include navigation, Bose surround audio, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated mirrors, a heated steering wheel, a Sapele wood-trimmed interior, remote start, tri-zone climate control, rear-seat audio controls, adjustable pedals, fog lamps, and rain-sensing wipers. This year, new 20-inch wheels, a few new colors, and a new Light Titanium interior and Raven Sapele wood accents all try to add a dash of the custom-look trims that have become part of buying a luxury vehicle.

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2013 Cadillac SRX

Styling

The 2013 Cadillac SRX is more distinctive inside than most other crossovers, though it's not all that attractive on the outside.

The 2013 Cadillac SRX shows a somewhat different, more distinctive personality on the inside than it advertises on the outside. While it fits right in with other luxury crossovers on the outside, its uniquely Cadillac interior continues to stand out in its class--both in the details and in the overall design.

Cadillac has managed to keep the SRX from looking too cookie-cutter. The SRX cuts a crisp profile, with strongly sculpted sides that complement its sharp front and rear ends. There's not a single boring angle, no ungainly ones either. Its relatively tidy front and rear ends, vertical headlights, and bright and angular grille lend it a combination of nice proportions and details.

Eighteen-inch wheels are standard and 20-inch wheels are offered, and when the doors are opened an illuminated logo shows through the sill plates.

Inside, the SRX feels top-lux and distinctly American. Its ambient lighting and hand-stitched leather dash make for a rich environment that continues Cadillac's commitment to excellent cabin appointments. This year the cabin gets a futuristic overtone as well, with the incorporation of the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) touch-screen interface, as well as special capacitive controls for climate and audio just below, plus a reconfigurable gauge cluster. Last year's partially concealed screen is gone, but the end result is a more uniform, less cluttered look.

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2013 Cadillac SRX

Performance

The 2013 Cadillac SRX has a very sweet powertrain, although nimbleness eludes it.

A new powertrain last year gave the Cadillac SRX a personality transplant, doing away two former engines (one sluggish, the other thirsty) and introducing a single engine: a 308-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. It comes hooked up to a six-speed automatic, delivering power through to the front wheels. And you can opt for an all-wheel drive by Haldex that includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and delivers a lot more confidence in foul weather.

The 2013 SRX has confident acceleration, although we can't say that it feels anywhere as sprightly as the Acura MDX or Lincoln MKX or the Lexus RX 350. That's in part due to its rather conservative throttle calibration (something we appreciate), but it's also a matter of heft (the SRX's 4,500-pound curb weight is a few hundred pounds heavier tham most other models in this class). But thanks to the engine's 265 pound-foot torque plateau, at just 2,400 rpm, the whole setup feels relaxed--and 60 mph comes on in a relatively quick seven seconds.

The SRX isn't at all nimble, thanks to that hefty curb weight. It has tall gearing, and that means that you'll be downshifting frequently for even mild acceleration. It feels heavier than it should when snaking through corners, too. The center of mass is higher than in a sedan, and that amplifies the effect of its extra pounds. The steering is old-school hydraulic and has good weighting. It unwinds predictably, like a good luxury car should.

The new powertrain emits refined vibes. It throws off a slight purr at idle, revs with a silky note through the powerband. The brakes feel too spongy, and the suspension allows too much nose dive under hard braking. Some of that can be nullified with the optional sport suspension and adaptive damping. On the flip side, even with available and big 20-inch wheels, the SRX has a controlled, firm ride.

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8

2013 Cadillac SRX

Comfort & Quality

The 2013 Cadillac SRX has a first-class interior, with a lavish feel and great seats.

Some other vehicles that are sized about the same as the 2013 Cadillac SRX manage to package in a third-row seat. The SRX sticks with five seats, and its for the better. The interior has ample room, and it's lavishly appointed, one of the nicest in this size and price range.

From either of the front perches, there's a lot to like, including a nice, upright driving position, well-contoured front seats with robust bolstering, and even extending bottom cushions that will make tall drivers more comfortable.

Especially from one of the front seats, the SRX sets a pleasant tone. The upright driving position lends good outward vision. The seats in front have fairly deep contours and thick bolsters. In back, leg and head room seem tight for a vehicle of this size, but the moonroof lets in plenty of light, and the seat are shaped well for long-distance comfort.

The SRX has split-fold rear seats, and available cargo anchors and a power tailgate.

The SRX gains active noise cancellation for 2013, but even before it the cabin was remarkably well-hushed, with wind, road, and powertrain noise all well-muted. And thanks to the new engine, there's less noise from under the hood this year, too.

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.

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10

2013 Cadillac SRX

Safety

The SRX is a safety superstar, with top ratings from both U.S. agencies and some standout accident-avoidance technology.

The 2013 Cadillac SRX includes some of the most impressive safety features in its class, as well as pretty much the best-possible set of safety ratings. So it should rank high among safety-conscious family shoppers.

Head-curtain side airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and OnStar roadside and emergency assistance 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. And structurally, the SRX is one of only a few vehicles, according to GM, to use Martensitic steel, one of the strongest available, to help prevent against intrusion in a side impact.

Newly available for 2013 are Driver Awareness and Driver Assist technology packages, adding Safety Alert Seat Technology, Automatic Front and Rear Braking, and Adaptive Cruise Control, among other features.

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's also earned top five-star ratings from the federal government in frontal and side impact, as well as a five-star overall score. There's one issue, and while it's potentially minor, it's one you should keep in mind on the test drive. Take a look over your shoulder and you might realize that the Cadillac SRX isn't all that great for outward visibility. Between the standard rear camera system, along with front and rear parking sensors, you should be able to make do, but whether you're confident with it might depend on your height.

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2013 Cadillac SRX

Features

The Cadillac SRX already had a bountiful feature list; now for 2013 the CUE interface ties all your infotainment together.

Whether you want traditional luxury, or high-tech connectivity or entertainment, the Cadillac SRX has a strong set of features. And for 2013, with the addition of the new Cadillac User Experience (CUE) interface, and a revised set of steering-wheel and instrument-panel controls to match, the SRX offers one of the most advanced interiors on the market.

CUE includes a large, high-contrast touch screen, with a special set of capacitive (touch-sensitive) controls just below for audio and climate control. The panel with those controls is motorized and can slide out of the way to reveal a 'hidden' bin for smartphones or other smaller items. Also included is a new set of steering-wheel controls, as well as a reconfigurable gauge layout, and voice commands help make many simple tasks easier. The system can connect up to ten Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices.

Keyless entry, cruise control, heated mirrors, steering-wheel audio controls, and a CD/MP3 sound system with XM Satellite Radio remain among the many standard features on the SRX. 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.

Top Premium Collection models include navigation, Bose surround audio, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated mirrors, a heated steering wheel, a Sapele wood-trimmed interior, remote start, tri-zone climate control, rear-seat audio controls, adjustable pedals, fog lamps, and rain-sensing wipers.

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 (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.

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6

2013 Cadillac SRX

Fuel Economy

For a vehicle that's far smaller than the Escalade, the 2013 SRX has disappointing gas mileage.

It's hard to make a strong argument for the SRX if fuel economy is one of your priorities.

EPA ratings for the 2013 Cadillac SRX land at 16 to 17 mpg in the city and 23 or 24 mpg on the highway. And considering that a number of larger crossovers--like GM's own full-size SUVs such as the Buick Enclave, or even the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid--get around the same, with much more passenger space, or towing ability, it's impossible to call the SRX fuel-efficient.

GM didn't improve things by swapping the 3.6-liter engine into the SRX. Ratings actually went down 1 mpg versus the previous 3.0-liter engine. We saw a real-world 19 mpg in an extended drive of a 2012 SRX.

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February 20, 2016
2013 Cadillac SRX AWD 4-Door Luxury Collection

Excellent - Except...

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This cross-over gives up some rear volume to gain a sporty look. Kept well it gets its share of compliments. Interior quality is very good with some contrasting leather and it is a comfortable, quiet vehicle... + More »
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August 25, 2015
2013 Cadillac SRX AWD 4-Door Performance Collection

Comfortable, Beautiful, but...

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CUE system is very slow, Navigation takes up to 3 minutes to load. System does not come on all the time, have to shut the car off and on. Heated seats had to be fixed 2X and the parts were hard to get. Not... + More »
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April 15, 2015
For 2013 Cadillac SRX

Mediocre transmission is the only complaint I have.

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Poor transmission...2nd-3rd shift at 1/2-3/4 throttle is terrible and two attempts to fix failed....what next?
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April 14, 2015
For 2013 Cadillac SRX

I love my SRX.

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Comfortable, beautiful, economical SUV.Great handling in winter conditions.
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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 10
Features 9
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