Anyone who doubts that Cadillac is back as a genuine player in the luxury vehicle marketplace need only look to the new 2012 SRX as proof.
|1. The 2012 SRX is powered exclusively by a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 with 308 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque.
2. Fuel Economy is rated at 17/24 mpg for front-drive models and 16/23 mpg for AWD.
3. Pricing starts at $36,860 with the top trim Premium model at $47,650.
4. Next year the SRX will get Cadillac’s new CUE telematics system, with iPad like touch controls.
Sure the Escalade is the favorite of the rich and famous who are looking for a big roomy truck that can go from zero to 60 in less than 7 seconds, haul an 8,000 lb trailer, and still pamper the occupants in unrivaled luxury. And the CTS-V is a legitimate rival to German performance sedans. But the re-loaded 2012 SRX, boasting a new engine with class-leading power, is the true favorite where it counts – sales numbers.
Only the Lexus RX sells more vehicles in the mid-size luxury crossover segment, with the SRX Caddy’s most popular model. Better yet, over 70% of SRX customers are first time Cadillac buyers, which bodes well for the brand’s future.
NEW ENGINE FOR 2012
As mentioned, the biggest news for 2012 is the new 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 motor, similar to the one in the CTS, which puts out 308 horsepower, and 265 lb-ft of torque at a low down 2400 rpm. It’s a huge improvement over the previous year’s offerings of the 3.0-liter V6 or even the 2.8-liter Turbo V6. And gas mileage on our AWD test car is still a respectable 16 mph city and 23 mpg highway, which is 1 mpg fewer than the standard front wheel drive models. During a 500-mile highway trip, our SRX registered 25.5 mpg when cruising at 70 miles per hour and 23 mpg when at 75 miles per hour. Regular gas is recommended, instead of Premium that was required on last year’s turbo.
Now all those horses still have to move 4,442 lbs of automobile (AWD adds 165lbs to the front wheel drive models). So while acceleration isn’t neck snapping, (zero to 60 is in the 7 second range) the SRX still moves smartly and the 6-speed automatic transmission makes all shifts smoothly and effortlessly, with quickly downshifts for passing maneuvers. The All-wheel-drive model is equipped with an electronic limited-slip differential, and it can route as much as 85 percent of the power to the rear wheels. Also, like the Acura SH-AWD system, it will even send power individually to the left or right wheels for maximum grip and performance.
COMFORTABLE BUT NOT FLOATY
Cadillac paid a lot of attention to the SRX’s ride quality. It’s firm, not floaty, though it does lean in turns as all SUVs do. Thankfully its relatively minimal and quick side-to-side directional changes won’t upset the car or driver. It also absorbs bad pavement and potholes well, even on our SRX tester with optional 20-inch wheels. Part of the FE3 package, other goodies include adjustable shock absorbers that firm up at the push of a button should you require added sport.
The SRX’s steering is well executed, and aids in the sharp handling. It responds quickly, with good feel because it isn’t over boosted. There isn’t much play in the wheel, and the steering system meshes nicely with the suspension. By comparison the Lexus RX feels sloppy.
If we have a complaint about the driving experience, it’s the brakes, which are effective in slowing the SRX, but they lack feel.
DESTINCTIVE STYLING INSIDE AND OUT