By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 2/25/2011
In today's economy, playing in the luxury Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment is not easy. Money from consumers isn't flowing freely like it used to and, with a number of well-established players – such as the Lexus RX 350, BMW X3 and Mercedes Benz GLK350 – fighting for customers, Cadillac's newly-redesigned SRX is in a tough market. Still, the SRX has a lot going for it with CTS-inspired styling, lots of Caddy chrome and a handsome cabin. But the SRX's ace in the hole is its size. Although priced in line with the X3 and GLK, the SRX's dimensions are closer to (and in some cases bigger than) the much more expensive BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML CUVs. And, while there is no V8 option, there is a turbocharged V6 good for 300 horsepower that should satisfy all but the most fanatical speed freaks.
If you're seeking an artful blend of style, utility, car-like comfort, ride, handling and surprisingly fuel-efficient performance (on regular-grade gas), all in a luxury CUV, it will be difficult to overlook the SRX.
If exhilarating performance and razor-sharp handling are high on your list, you may be happier with a BMW X3 or X5, Mercedes GL or ML, or even the Acura RSX.
New standard features for 2011 include a rear backup camera and Cadillac's Premium Care Maintenance program that covers, at no charge, scheduled oil changes, tire rotation and replacement of engine and cabin air filters for four years or 50,000 miles. Full keyless access is now standard on Luxury and Performance models.
Although it lacks the previous generation's V8 engine option, the 2011 SRX remains true to the spirit of a performance CUV. The standard 3.0-liter V6 performs well, but it's the optional 2.8-liter turbo that offers V8-like muscle with V6 economy. With its hydraulic speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering (not the energy-efficient but often-numb electric power steering found in many competitors these days), the SRX delivers sport-sedan feel and feedback with strong on-center feel. And, because our test car was equipped with the continuously variable real-time dampening suspension, we found the SRX a delight to drive in town, on high-speed highways and especially on twisty two-lanes.
Pop-Up Three-Dimensional Navigation
We love the available, easy-to-use pop-up navigation system with its nifty-looking three-dimensional imaging and that accurate "Turn-by-Turn" aural directions are also readily available through GM's OnStar.
Advanced All-Wheel Drive
The SRX's advanced all-wheel-drive system available with the 3.0-liter engine features an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) that enables it to distribute torque from side-to-side across the rear as well as front-to-rear, and it comes with continuously variable real-time damping that adjusts shock absorber rates to road conditions.
Inside the SRX is room for five adults although, in all honesty, four is a more reasonable figure. The SRX's cabin is bathed in rich leather, French-stitched seams and wood appliqués. The instrument panel wears hand-cut-and-sewn coverings, and subtle ambient night lighting lends an atmosphere of opulence and attention to detail. Winged air vents flank the center console, which features large buttons and three rotary knobs for easy control of the A/C, audio and available navigation system. The navigation option features a large LCD screen that rises from the console's top surface. Equally impressive are the Cadillac script logos in the front-door sill plates that illuminate when the doors are opened. The ninth-generation OnStar system now features flexible speech recognition software that understands common phrases such as, "I need to make a phone call." It even recognizes different dialects.
The 2011 SRX's tightly sculpted body has a wide stance with its wheels at the corners and a rising shoulder that culminates in Cadillac-signature large, vertical taillamps. The car's bold face is dominated by Cadillac's iconic shield-shaped grille and vertical headlamps that wrap over the front fenders. At the rear, an integrated spoiler on the back edge of the roof extends the roofline while improving aerodynamics. The most striking SRX features are a crisp side accent crease that sweeps upward from the tip of a chrome front fender vent to the rear door handle, and another that runs horizontally from the bottom of the vent, curves over the rear wheel and then continues to the rear bumper.
The 2011 Cadillac SRX's long list of standard features includes an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 eight-speaker Bose sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, rear backup camera with rear-view mirror display, cruise control, heated power outside mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, programmable power door locks, eight-way power driver's seat, manual tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with audio controls and a 60/40-split folding rear seat with a pass-through for long objects. Among its important standard safety features are GM StabiliTrak stability and traction control, roll-over mitigation sensing, trailer stability assist, front, side and side-curtain airbags and GM OnStar with a one-year subscription.
Among the significant SRX options are advanced all-wheel-drive with an electronic limited-slip differential that splits torque left-to-right between the rear wheels, a navigation system with a pop-up screen and three-dimensional imaging, adaptive forward lighting that swivels to follow the steering, a power liftgate with a programmable height setting, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, a hard disc drive with 10 GB of music storage, 20-inch alloy wheels and a tow package good for up to 3,500 pounds.
The standard 265-horsepower 3.0-liter DOHC direct injected, variable valve timing, four-valve-per-cylinder V6 is a smaller version of the award-winning 3.6-liter DI V6 found in Cadillac's CTS sedan and other GM models, and the optional 300-horsepower 2.8-liter turbo V6 is derived from a family of GM engines used in luxury European models. Both drive the front wheels through six-speed automatic transaxles, the 2.8-liter turbo's with a driver-selectable "eco mode" that alters shift points to optimize fuel economy.
265 horsepower @ 6950 rpm
223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (FWD); 17/23 (AWD)
2.8-liter Turbocharged V6
300 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
295 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (estimated)
The 2011 Cadillac SRX has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) starting around $35,000, with a fully loaded all-wheel-drive model topping out close to $57,000. The SRX's entry-level price undercuts the Lexus RX 350 by about $4,000, the BMW X3 by $3,000, the Mercedes-Benz ML350 by a whopping $13,000 and all other contenders except the turbocharged four-cylinder Acura RDX. The available all-wheel-drive package adds about $7,000. To get the best deal on your SRX, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price to learn what buyers are actually paying in your area. On the resale value side, the SRX retains residuals similar to the ML350 over time, but trails the rest of its rivals.