2014 Cadillac SRX
One of the top-selling luxury crossovers in the U.S., the Cadillac SRX boasts unique styling, luxurious cabin appointments, a powerful engine, and a ride that's smooth and able.
Cadillac launched its first SRX for 2004. The 2013 Cadillac SRX got a revised interior that incorporated Cadillac's CUE touchscreen interface. An acronym for Cadillac User Experience, the large screen uses proximity sensors, haptic feedback and voice recognition to control phone, audio and navigation functions. Unlike many luxury vehicles with proprietary interfaces (like the BMW iDrive and Mercedes Benz's COMAND system), there is no central control knob on the center console; all functions are performed either through voice or via the touchscreen. CUE has received mixed reviews from experts and consumers. Its natural voice recognition, when it works properly, is a refreshing change from some systems that require the user to memorize specific commands. But a few idiosyncrasies, and a glossy screen that shows fingerprints, easily make CUE far from perfect.
New safety packages, already found on Cadillac's XTS and ATS sedans, also debuted on the 2013 SRX. With the Driver Awareness package, the driver's seat will vibrate to warn the driver of an impending collision. More active-safety features are available, such as automatic collision preparation and automatic low-speed braking, both when going forward and when in reverse.
Except for three new color choices, little has changed for 2014, except that Intellibeam headlamps are included in the Driver Awareness Package. With those headlamps, high beams deploy automatically when needed and instantly turn off when oncoming traffic is detected. Later in the 2014 model year, 18-inch chrome-plated wheels will be available on the Luxury Collection. Otherwise, the SRX carries over essentially unchanged following a significant update for 2012. Four trim levels are offered: base SRX, Luxury Collection, Performance Collection, and Premium Collection.
Cadillac SRX is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The 3.6-liter V6 uses many weight-saving techniques, such as a plastic intake manifold, lighter connecting rods, and exhaust manifolds that are integrated into the cylinder heads. To combat the ticking noise characteristic of direct-injection systems, Cadillac engineers packed on added sound-proofing material in strategic places, which helps to keep the cabin quiet. Active noise cancellation promises a quieter experience in the SRX.
Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available for all but the base model. AWD incorporated an electronic limited-slip differential, to improve traction on slippery surfaces. It can also provide side-to-side transfer to enhance control during hard cornering.
Fuel economy for the 2014 Cadillac SRX is an EPA-rated 17/24 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel drive, or 16/23 mpg with all-wheel-drive models. All SRX models have a 6-speed automatic transmission. A driver-selectable Eco feature alters shift points, boosting gas mileage by up to 1 mpg, according to Cadillac.
Inside, the SRX continues to impress with upscale materials and thoughtful design. Smart cargo solutions appeal to practical senses. An optional Pet Guard Cargo Net behind the front seats can help keep your dog in back and may help prevent cargo from flying up front when braking hard. A rear U-well rail system uses adjustable sliding bars to keep gear in place, rather than using nets or boxes that rattle. For 2014, the center console has two additional USB ports, an SD card slot and a 12-volt power outlet.
Midsize premium crossovers such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 give the more powerful SRX a run for its money, but we'd take the Cadillac any day over the best-selling Lexus RX.