When it comes to selling automobiles, particularly the luxurious variety, first impressions are important.
Controversial as we’ll admit the Cadillac CTS is compared to sophisticated vehicles like the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-class, making a big splash is part of what the luxury crossover segment is all about and so we’d call into question anyone’s sanity who didn’t find the SRX a more attractive piece of driveway jewellery than pretty much anything else in this price range.
|1. Standard SRX models come equipped with a 265-hp 3.0L V6.
2. While entry-level model’s aren’t as well equipped, one step up will bring you to the Luxury trim with a push-button ignition, remote start, a power liftgate, ultrasonic park assist and a the ultraview sunroof.
3. Pricing starts at $33,300 with Luxury models starting at $36,910.
4. Cadillac also sells a high-performance SRX model with a 300-hp 2.8L turbocharged V6.
The crystal red paint really sets the car’s lines off and works well with the generous amounts of chrome trim that Caddy likes to provide. It will cost you an extra $995 over standard paint, but it’s both worth it and charging a little extra for a higher quality color is hardly unheard of in the luxury segment. Another nice upgrade are the 20-inch wheels (18s are standard). Not only do they add more style but the lower profile tires help give the SRX a slightly more dynamic edge.
As much as we like this luxury crossover’s exterior style, our opinion of the vehicle immediately dropped when we opened the door. Now the interior isn’t bad (not by a long shot) but with an exterior that looks this good, we had high expectations. The design is nice enough but the monotone leather and dash combo aren’t overly inspired. The worst aspect has to be the loose fitting leather on the seats, which gives them a worn-out look. As for the metallic-trim, it just looks like the same plastic found on the Camaro and every other GM product these days and much of the switchgear is shared with the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. Thankfully, wood trim is kept to a minimum.
Now we hate to rip on the SRX’s interior too much and don’t want to sound like we’re just beating the same old “crappy GM interiors” drum that everyone’s been pounding on for years. In fact, the reason we were so let down by the SRX was because of the car we were in just before it – another Caddy. That’s right, after the luxurious CTS SportWagon, the SRX seems cheap by comparison. And for good reason we suppose, the SRX starts at $33,300 while the CTS wagon begins at around $40,000.
That’s about the same asking price for our SRX tester, however, with the AWD Luxury trim level starting at $39,405 ($36,910 for FWD). A step above the base model, (which comes with leatherette, rather than genuine leather), highlights include a push-button ignition, remote start, a power liftgate, ultrasonic park assist and a simply massive ultraview sunroof. Additional standard equipment on this trim level includes the usual power accessories, heated mirrors, power driver and passenger seats with lumbar on both, a tilt and telescopic wheel (manual) and adjustable pedals. There’s also driver’s seat memory.
Noticeably absent was Cadillac’s cool pop-up navigation system, which is available on this model. As a result, the little hood that would normally cover over the Nav system blocks much of the top row of info on the radio display.
The crossover’s interior isn’t all bad. In fact, we like the gauges as well as the small LCD screen where much of the car’s trip and fuel economy info is displayed. Particularly handy is that the screen can be programmed to show the car’s speed digitally. This may sound trivial, but when automakers like Acura or Mercedes put a big screen on the dash to show trip info, a digital odometer isn’t asking much and it makes knowing your speed a lot easier.
Another highlight that can’t go unnoticed is the illuminated “Cadillac” doorsill option. The soft glow when you enter or exit the car at night really adds a touch of class.
On the whole, Cadillac offers some original items on the SRX, but the quality of the interior just isn’t up to some of the segment leaders like Lexus, Mercedes and Audi.
Cadillac has equipped most SRX models with a 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes a peppy 265-hp that won’t leave you wanting. Those in search of more performance can opt for a new turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 with a significant 300 horses. As it stands, the base engine can tow up to 3,500 lbs and we were surprised at not only how much get-up-and-go it has, but also how nice it sounds with the pedal mashed. The gas pedal is quite relaxed, however, so you’ll need to apply plenty of pressure if you’re in a hurry. The up side is that this makes for smooth operation; while the down side is that the transmission likes to stay in a higher gear. While this does optimize fuel economy, it dilutes the driving experience quite a bit.
As for fuel-economy, we were impressed with our 23-mpg average, considering Cadillac only rates the AWD version at 17/23 mpg (city/highway). A front drive model will get a few ticks better at 18/25 mpg. Compared to the Lexus RX, this is about one mpg short in both the city and highway.
If you do plan on using your SRX for family duty, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s plenty of rear seat legroom. GM is particularly good at offering bountiful space in its crossovers, where passengers can stretch out their legs. As for cargo room, it’s good, but not exactly class leading – due mostly to the Lexus. Behind the rear seats you’ll find 29 cubic feet of space, with 61 cu.-ft. total once the rear seats are folded flat. That’s on par with the RDX and a couple boxes more than an Audi Q5, BMW X3 or Mercedes GLK. None of the vehicles in this class even touches the Lexus in cargo room.
As much as the Cadillac SRX doesn’t look it from the outside, its main competitor in this segment is probably the Lexus RX which, we’ll admit, is such a dominant force that it’s actually everyone’s rival in the entry level luxury crossover segment.
The reason that the SRX competes so closely, however, is that, like the Lexus, it takes a well-rounded approach. It even foregoes the sporty aspirations of many for a relatively subdued feel, which, let’s be honest, is what people shopping in this segment are really after. Plus, it’s a great highway cruiser and in true GM fashion, the Caddy does have a solid amount of horsepower.
Unlike the Lexus though, it doesn’t opt for a lowest common denominator philosophy when it comes to design, offering instead a bold exterior look, which we particularly like and have to rate up with the Mercedes GLK or even the Infiniti FX. This, however, makes the crossover’s interior drawbacks all the more evident.
Surprisingly, when stacked up straight against the RX, it does have a few fewer ponies and doesn’t get quite the fuel economy. It does, however, offer more equipment at a lower price point, which, when combined with all that style, might just be enough to win over a few Lexus customers.