By on May 8, 2014

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Reader “Bunkie” aka Peter Hansen, sends us his impressions of the 2014 Cadillac SRX, versus his 2010 CTS Wagon.

There are times when it’s a good practice to review long-held beliefs. I’ve never owned an SUV or a CUV. I have owned two Rangers, back when I lived in Columbus and had the whole house/2 kids/2 cars/mortgage-in-a-new-subdivision sort of life. I loved my Rangers. The last one came in really handy when that life imploded and I needed to ferry my things to the storage unit that I referred to as the “museum of my former life”.

Since then, it’s been a life lived in Manhattan with a progression of 3 Taurii (wagons) and 2 Cadillac sedans Now, I drive a 2010 CTS Wagon purchased as a CPO car back in 2012. We keep our car in a garage, which is an unholy but necessary expense. Our usage pattern is to escape the city on Fridays, driving about 120 miles to a weekend house in Pennsylvania. This results in about 15-18K miles per year.

Two cars back, we got our second Cadillac (a CPO STS with the Northstar) from R.J. Burne in Scranton, and I returned to the dealer to purchase our CTS. When our CTS Wagon went in for service, R.J. Burne was kind enough to give me a loaner SRX, since they’re quite a distance away from New York City, and I was interested to see how a CUV would compare to my beloved station wagon. By the time I pick up my car (which should be as you read this), I will have put almost 200 miles on the SRX, over a mix of highways and very rough back roads.

I like a certain amount of functionality in a vehicle. I love sports cars, but we live in the real world with a single vehicle, so I must compromise. That’s exactly why I worked so hard to locate a CTS Wagon. The biggest letdown is the 3.0L V6, which feels inadequate compared to the torquey turbo 4 in my sister’s 328xi. I hadn’t yet tried the new 3.6L V6, but the SRX loaner afforded me that opportunity.

Like most CUVs in this class, The SRX’s shape and size is defined by its mission to provide a high level of comfort and space. To me, it looks short and squat with overly large wheels. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the new grill, as it appears too busy. I’ve always liked the vestigial tail fins that are part of the tail lights, largely because I’m a child of the 1960s and loved the befinned Caddies of my youth.

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Maybe it’s my age, but my very first impression was how damned easy it is to get into the driver’s seat. I’m about 6’2” with long legs for my height. I usually swivel my butt over and drop into the seat then swing my legs into the car. In the SRX, I was able to just step in and sit down. Like Etta James, the SRX appears to be built for comfort, not for speed. The second impression is that the driving position is more upright. This SRX was a Luxury trim, which included a thigh support. I’ve seen this feature on other cars, but the seat height has been to low for it to make a difference. Here it worked wonderfully and, for the first time, the weight of my upper legs is actually supported by the seat, not my knees and hips.

Visibility isn’t quite as good as our CTS Wagon. The A-pillar is huge. This SRX has deeply tinted rear and passenger windows, but at least the side mirrors are large and have a blind-spot monitoring feature. The rearview camera is acceptable, with a curving path graphic when you turn the wheel.

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This was my first experience with CUE, and I found the learning curve to be brutal. Nothing was intuitive and every action, from setting the climate control, to finding Deep Tracks on SiriusXM, took a long time. The sound system is from Bose and, frankly, the sound quality isn’t very good. As someone who builds speakers as a hobby – and onced worked for Bose – it’s disappointing to think of how many superior components are out there.

I have yet to find the way to reset the fuel mileage and trip computer, I suspect that I won’t get time to figure this out. Having said all that, we must accept that if we want this level of control and this rich feature set, there will always be a learning curve.

The driving experience far surpassed my expectations. Compared to the most recent CUV I’ve driven (an Ecoboost Escape), the SRX felt well-planted, free of the usual top-heavy sensation through curves. The steering does an excellent job of pointing the car despite lacking feedback. The primary characteristic when pushed hard into a corner is mild understeer. Body roll is well-controlled. The brakes are nice and linear, well-suited to the car’s weight. Ride quality is another surprise. Compared to my CTS, the SRX feels sharper yet the effect of this year’s crop of monster potholes barely unsettled the car. Road surfaces that have the CTS transmitting every small irregularity to the seat bottoms are no problem for the SRX. You feel them, but the amplitude and impulse are greatly reduced. Another side benefit is that the car is very quiet, more so than the CTS.

The difference between the 3.0L in the CTS and the 3.6L in the SRX is vast. In the 3.0L, there’s simply no torque below 4000 rpm – manual shifting and driving like a lunatic are needed to extract its full performance. The SRX is almost 1000 lbs. heavier than the CTS yet it feels much stronger. Put your foot in it, and it needs one less downshift to find the ponies. Shifts are smooth but leisurely. Manual mode is better, but compared to the 328, they are slow – not that any GM/Cadillac transmission I’ve experienced has performed with authority.

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From a practicality perspective, the SRX has a shorter cargo area than the CTS wagon, by about 4-5 inches. Depth is better and hatch height is much better. The CTS manages barely 19 inches while the SRX is about 28 inches.

Feature-wise, I like the driver info center. This is an area where all cars have been getting better with more customization. My loaner SRX has the Intellibeam automatic headlight-dimming feature. We had this on our STS and, at times, it required manual intervention. The SRX is much improved. It dims when following other cars, and isn’t fooled by reflective signs. I miss the fog lights and adaptive lighting from my CTS, however.

Now we come to re-examining part. I’ve stated publicly that I don’t like CUVs all that much. But as my needs are changing, I have become more impressed with the segment – provided that they are executed properly. Since I can’t have a pickup, I own a cheap trailer and can tow it behind my CTS. While my car is only rated for 1000 lbs, the SRX can tow 3500 lbs. I probably won’t even exceed the CTS’ rating, but it’s nice to know the extra capacity is there.

As someone who needs one vehicle to do it all, the SRX really won me over. I like the idea of the higher ground clearance and AWD (even with proper snow tires, the CTS does require more care in winter weather). The better seating position and larger cargo capacity are welcome. The 3.6L is a gem, and makes the 3.0L mill in my car look stone age. I may need to re-consider my biases against CUVs. At the very least, the SRX is a way for Cadillac to keep us CTS Wagon owners (all 4 of us) in the fold.

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120 Comments on “Reader Review: 2014 Cadillac SRX...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    And here we have, children, another example of why you don’t buy a used car with an engine GM only used for two years.

    Also the SRX has rubbish gauges, still.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Straight off a 90s Pontiac (except a little less informative than the Pontiac). They bothered to update the interior of the SRX but not the gauges. At least the ’98 Bonneville had a sweet digital picture of the car in GM dashboard green.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        Actually the 2010-2012 SRX had better looking gauges.

        http://l.yimg.com/dv/izp/cadillac_srx_premium_collection_2010_dashboard_instrumentcluster.jpg

        don’t why they replaced them with those 90s Pontiac gauges, the rest of the interior looks nice though.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          So they made it worse on purpose. Damnit GM.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Wow, those are nice

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Right. And really the earlier gauges with the circular center LCD seemed like they were intended for Saab, since the 9-4X and the short-lived 2nd-gen 9-5 both made use of this display in order to show airplane-like graphics, and it was actually a lot more natural than even what Cadillac had been doing.

          http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/62544219.jpg

          Really, this is the first time that Cadillac has begun using the same instrument clusters across the lineup, but it’s a tactic that the other luxury automakers have been doing for quite some time. If you look at the latest BMWs, there are three sets of instrument clusters, differentiated mostly by the LCDs that they include. There’s one with a very small color LCD, which seems to be standard in the 2, 3 and 4-Series, and X3. Then, there’s a mid-level instrument cluster with a screen that takes up half of the width of the cluster and that has more functions, which is standard on the 5-Series and optional on the 2, 3 and 4-Series, and X3. Lastly, there’s a very nice instrument cluster with an LCD that takes up the full-width of the cluster, and this is standard on the X5, 6-Series and 7-Series, and available on the 5-Series. Similarly, Audi usually has two sets of instrument clusters as well, but the Audi low-end instrument clusters have dot-matrix-style displays and are pretty much the same ones that most Volkswagens use, while the high-end clusters have LCDs that are full-color and that include more features.

          This one is Cadillac’s low-end cluster. The problem with it is that, unlike the other automakers’ low-end clusters, it looks unfit for a luxury car. Seriously. Buick has a better instrument-cluster setup, and for less money. Cadillac’s low-end cluster isn’t so much plagued by the LCD as by the gauge arrangement, which is ho-hum and indeed reminiscent of a low-end ’90’s Pontiac. Cadillac’s high-end cluster is of course a full-LCD affair. I believe it is available on the CTS and XTS, and standard on the new Escalade and the ELR. But I don’t believe that high-end cluster is available *at all* on the SRX or ATS.

          Oh, and while we’re complaining, I think the SRX looks better with the 3-spoke steering wheel that was used previously. Since Cadillac appears to use the same airbag cover across the board (and one that originated with the 2nd-gen CTS), I’ll bet you can just swap the wheel for the three-spoke one from the ATS and new CTS.

          TL;DR: This instrument cluster is subpar compared to the old one, and it’s subpar compared to the competition.

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          Wow Carfan94, those are so much better. Still hilarious that it goes to 160 though.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            This isn’t unique to the Cadillac SRX. It’s very common, in fact. Our 2005 Nissan Murano SL also had a speedometer that read up to 160 MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Ditto on the gauges, come on, Cadillac. And Peter, if you’re gong to criticize the the grill, how about including a pic? Good review overall though.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Hansen

        Ah, my bad. I did shoot a picture of the grill, I included the gauge picture twice instead of sending Derek the grill picture. I’ll see if I can get that fixed…

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          Oh thank god. Came back to see comments, first thing I see is the grill pic, and I’m thinking “How the heck did I miss THAT?” And I agree, it’s kind of cheezy.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I don’t have a problem with the grille – seems “Cadillacky” enough for me.
            And that driver’s seat looks *awesome* for a 6.33 footer like myself.
            Two nits on this one – the wheels look like Pep-Boys plastic wheel covers (WHY, GM?), and the gauge cluster is definitely Pontiac-level stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            I don’t find the grill to be deal-breaker bad, but I definitely preferred the pre-facelift one. No surprise, I guess, since 90%-plus of facelifts make cars look worse (see 2015 Cruze).

            My parents cross-shopped one of these against the RX 350, and it was a close choice for them. The Cadillac dealer came through with a great counter-offer literally as the ink was drying on the Lexus paperwork. Had he called five minutes earlier, it would have swayed them to the SRX.

            As with Mr. Hansen, my parents’ ownership experience has softened my anti-CUV stance. They’re both Silent Generation and have enough aches and pains to find ingress/egress easier with a CUV than with a sedan. I still take issue with the segment on several fronts:
            – gas mileage
            – FWD-biased AWD systems that are little more than a marketing tool. (And try finding a FWD RX 350 on a dealer lot outside the Sun Belt. Heck, I have friends in Austin, Texas, who drive AWD CUVs b/c that’s what the dealers carried.)
            – blocking sedan, wagon, and hatchback drivers’ lines of sight with high profiles and tinted glass (though now *they* can see as they used to be able to in sedans up through the 1980s).
            – tippy-feeling cornering vs a given CUV’s sedan platform-mate.

            The RX 350 is great road trip vehicle though, and driving my parents in it has become something of a guilty pleasure for me.

      • 0 avatar
        DrGastro997

        The entire instrument cluster looks damn cheap for a premium level car. Reminds of the gauges on the Pontiacs and the Cavalier. The cluster on Lexus or even a cheap Toyota’s look far better than the GM.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Has any GM autobox behaved well since the 4T60E? Smooth shifting, and extremely controllable with the right pedal. Paired to a 3800 is the only automatic I really don’t mind driving.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Which POS was in the circa 2000 Century? That one was freaking awful.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I think the 3800 is required for happiness.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The 2000-2005 Century had the same 4T65 trans axle as the 3800 equipped cars. They generally shift smooth and well enough. There biggest issues is the massive chasm between 1st and second gear which is common to many 4 speed automatics. Still we find them better and more reliable than the ones used in the Taurus and Chrysler FWD products of the same period any day.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Yes. The chasm from 1st to 2nd on the 4T60 and 4T65 is massive. With the 3800 the car would leap off the line in first to about 45 MPH and then there was the shift to second gear and you are way, WAY, WAY out of the HP curve (the 3800 did bow at the altar of torque with a really good, long, flat curve). Then it would wind back up – ditto for hitting third.

          I remember reading on the LS4 equipped Pontiac Grand Prix GXP with the 4T65 that you could get to ludicrous speed in third gear if you wound it out.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          The 3800s ample torque is indeed why I suggest it was better paired to the 4T60/4T65.

    • 0 avatar
      caltemus

      My 93 Lumina had that transmission. Combined with GM cruise control it was the best highway car I’ve owned in terms of smoothness.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Having also ridden in a SRX recently, I was too quite impressed. However, if I was buying a Cadillac SUV, it would be an Escalade ESV price difference be damned.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Hansen

      I can park the SRX for the same price as my CTS wagon. The Escalade would cost me $150 more per month. If I didn’t need the garage, I could almost afford both the SRX *and* the Escalade.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        My old boss used to say “If you can afford a car in Manhattan, you can afford a yacht.” Have you considered car rentals or renting a garage space in NJ near a train station?

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Hansen

          It’s because I live in Manhattan that I *can’t* afford a yacht. And yes, I’ve done the math on rentals (too pricy, poor availability at times) and the garage in NJ idea would just eat too much time out of already brief weekends. There’s no way around it. I’d be happy to leave NYC behind, but I’m too tied to financial services to leave. And I hate commuting. I walk to work.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d prefer a car that didn’t need a tugboat to park, thanks…but I’ll say this, the new Escalade looks REALLY nice inside.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Yukon Denali for me, boys, IF I needed to tow a boat, trailer, or the like along with my wife and kiddies.

        Escalade is a bit ostentatious and “in your face” pompous, although the EXT was interesting.

        Sure, you can tow with the Escalade… but you’d be afraid to scratch it.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Oh come on, getting a non-Escalade Caddy SUV is like ordering chicken in a steakhouse. It’s very well done and delicious, but is that really why you went to a steakhouse?

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            I disagree, Kind Sir.

            I find the Escalade in many regards similar to a body-builder who is afraid to break a nail.

            It’s pretty and all. But as a man, well, Hell’s Bells- I like my brute ‘ute getting dirty and working hard, ESPECIALLY if its a hauler.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Nice to see someone actually taking the time to play devil’s advocate to the consensus of the B&B here.

    I’m assuming the lack of severe body roll (esp. when compared to the Escape) is in part due to its wider track–or rather, wider in comparison to its width at the top of the car. Looking at the SRX from the rear, it’s very trapezoidal (much like my Mazda Tribute and the original CD2 Escape) compared to the very square Kuga-platform Escape, my mother’s new CR-V, or the new RAV4. Or, to keep it all in the same class, the Equinox, also a very “square” CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, the Cadillac SRX and the departed Saab 9-4X are on the Theta Premium platform, derivative of the Theta platform (used by the Equinox, Terrain and Captiva), which is itself fundamentally based on Epsilon II (used by GM’s FWD mid-sized and full-sized sedans). Differences between Theta and Theta Premium do in fact include a widened track for the latter.

  • avatar

    +1 if you think the SRX actually got WORSE when it was updated to C.U.E

    I feel that with OSes like Windows 8.1, C.U.E. SYNC, Idrive, MMi, etc…I have to ask my questions in as frustrated a manner as possible:

    WHAT IDIOT thought it would be a good idea to have chrome spacers between buttons – instead of making them the buttons?

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Hansen

      The prior SRX stack is that same as in our CTS. I’m not saying it’s worse, just so different that even Microsoft would be ashamed of having changed so much from version to version. User-interface design is rapidly evolving. It’s unsettling but, when done right, has the potential to make us much more aware.

      The SRX DIC is really quite detailed. I really like being able to have both instantaneous mileage on one side and average on the other. It took a bit of fiddling to get the hang of the personalization but the benefit is real. I’m a student pilot learning to fly in an ancient Cessna with glass gauges. It’s comforting to have the same “six-pack”, but it ignores that fact that a Garmin G1000 will also tell me fuel-burn rate, time to destination, wind and other stuff, all in the same display along with my sectional chart. Does it take time to learn? Yes. Is there a good reason to learn it? Also, yes.

      One thing I wanted to add was that you do feel the extra heft of the SRX. It’s kind of like the difference between my 650 Ninja and the Triumph Trophy 900 I had before it. Both will hustle around a corner, but you can definitely feel the extra mass of the larger bike.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        Thank you for this, my favorite line of the entire review:

        “we must accept that if we want this level of control and this rich feature set, there will always be a learning curve”

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Well stated by Mr. Hansen. What bugs me is that we’re moving to a market where one won’t be able to opt out of a rich feature set that performs its core functions (climate control and radio control) worse than old-school interfaces.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        “Does it take time to learn? Yes. Is there a good reason to learn it? Also, yes.”

        This is the argument that I’m using to convince my grandmother not to return the 13″ MacBook Pro Air that I just picked up for her.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Wait, those chrome bits aren’t the buttons? Are they capacitive buttons or something?

      • 0 avatar

        TMA1

        That’s right… The CHROME BITS AREN’T BUTTONS.

        You are expected to press ABOVE them…

        do you see why I’m so angry???

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          That is madness. I thought the chrome bits were just ugly, unpleasant-looking buttons. Capacitive-touch buttons are even worse than touchscreens.

          My opinion of Cadillac has certainly dropped again. It seems they’ll stick any idea into a car without bothering to consider whether or not it’s a good idea or even functional.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    After all the new models and money spent, the SRX makes up almots half of Cadillac’s volume in the US. Apparently, Caddilac needs more CUVs instead of sports sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      If you look at Acura and Lexus – if you removed their mid-sizer CUV/SUV out of the lineup, their sales would be rather abysmal. You’ll see very similar numbers, the RX and MDX respectively being the largest slice of sales (or is it RDX, I always get the Acura midsizer and fullsizer confused)

      American buyers are gaga for luxury and near luxury midsize CUV/SUVs

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @APaGttH

        Exactly. And those Lexus and Acura models are all based on lesser Toyotas and Hondas.

        If Porsche can sell a glorified Touareg for $100,000 with a straight face, then Caddy can sell a glorified Equinox for $45,000 or so.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        That is why Caddy needs another. Hell, Lincoln has three CUVs now.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @bball40dtw

          Better or worse, that’s where the market is going. And it makes some sense. CUVs may give up performance and handling in comparison to a sedan, but their versatility is tough to beat. In the end, consumers think of them as more vehicle for their money.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I completely agree. I own a Lincoln CUV, so I am part of the perceived problem.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Esp. true for the FWD-based luxury makes (including Lexus where FWD models make up the bulk of its sales).

            Lincoln, Audi, Acura and Lexus all see CUVs as their main drivers of growth.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Cadillac is looking to add 2 more CUVs.

          The conundrum for Cadillac is whether to switch the next SRX over to the RWD platform underpinning the CTS, as the compact CUV will likely be underpinned by the ATS platform.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            This way, the Cadillac CUV lineup will go more head to head with BMW’s CUV lineup rather than that for Acura, Lexus or Lincoln (also talk of an Omega based CUV).

            These RWD CUVs won’t have the volume sales of the FWD CUVs (which have more interior space at a lower pricepoint), but the FWD-based CUVs should be covered by Buick (which will probably add another 1-2 to its lineup).

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          If you’ve noticed, the legion of world-class rugged mid-sized SUVs (Range Rover Sport, BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, etc) are actually RWD-based. Even though it was FWD-based, Acura’s second-gen MDX came close to being in this elite group for North American markets, but then they went and turned the third-gen MDX into more of an Enclave/QX60/MKT competitor…which will add up to more sales, but will definitely take away a lot of Acura’s remaining prestige.

          Anyway, my point is that Cadillac should keep the SRX, but it needs to come up with some kind of rugged, RWD-based SUV that it can sell worldwide, and that can become as respected as the other vehicles that I mentioned. That will probably go a long way for the brand.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            All due respect, what do you mean by “rugged”? All the vehicles you mentioned never see anything more “rugged” than trying to find a parking space at Nordstrom.

            There ARE truly “rugged” luxury SUVs out there. Mercedes makes the G-wagen, Lexus has its version of the Land Cruiser, and the Range Rover is actually a capable off-road vehicle as well. None of them sell in high volumes, though.

            What I think MIGHT work for Caddy would be a larger CUV to slot in between the SRX and Escalade. I’m thinking something based on the same platform as a Buick Enclave, but with truly unique styling and drivetrain. Kind of Caddy’s answer to the Mercedes GL. I don’t think it necessarily needs RWD. If someone wants a vehicle like that, Cadillac already makes it.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            There’s nothing rugged about any of the vehicles you listed there, they’re all unibody mommywagons. The FWD Jeep Cherokee is more rugged then they are.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            If Cadillac wants more “prestige” – they’ll opt for a RWD Omega-based large CUV.

            If not, then they’ll opt for another CUV based on the next gen FWD Lambda platform.

          • 0 avatar
            This Is Dawg

            I want to respond to FreedMike as well as this. Sorry.

            I hastily copied an ATS front 1/4 view into MS Paint and drew taller body panels/lowered the wheel wells and lifted the back to a hatch. TBH it looked like a Venza with an ATS grille, and I could see that car doing pretty well. I won’t even pretend to think my mock up is worth being saved online though, so just imagine it. :)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think this comparison would have worked better if you owned a 3.6 FE2 wagon. As it is now you do whatever it takes to stop owning the 3.0L boat anchor.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Hansen

      I believe that I have the FE2 suspension as my CTS is a performance model. I’ll check the build sheet when I get it back from service tomorrow. The issues were cost and availability. I didn’t want to take the depreciation hit, so it had to be a CPO car. At the time, CTS wagons were few and far between. This one was the only one that had the requisite options.

      One of the things that has really struck me about modern cars is the vast array of features that really do make driving a lot more pleasant. Phone connectivity is one. The SRX has (as do many new cars) a USB input that connects into CUE. Pandora runs via the phone and so does SiriusXM. One advantage of this is that the internet version of Sirius has better bandwidth and also doesn’t suffer from the dreaded satellite shadow. One does lose connection, but the signal is buffered so that when it comes back, you haven’t missed anything. We like to listen to NPR and I really detest having signal loss turn the programs into Swiss Cheese.

      Blind spot detection, adaptive headlights, heated/cooled seats, adjustable pedals, bluetooth phone, all these things do make for a better driving experience for that 95% percent of the time that we just want to get from here to there.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    And the winner of “The Mediocre Award” goes to…

    (drum roll……. )

    The Cadillac SRX!!

    Bravo, bravo!!

    It even wore the perfect color to accept this great honor :)

    On a more positive note, you can get these slightly cheaper- *AHEM*- USED, that is- than their German counterparts.

    I’m sure it looks right at home parked next to your white W-Body Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Hansen

      “Mediocre” is in the eye of the beholder. Any vehicle is a trade-off, a point I was trying to make. The SRX does some things very well. One can argue that it’s overpriced, that it’s too heavy, etc. All may be good points. My argument is that such value judgements need recalibrating from time to time. I felt that the comparison to my current car was such an opportunity.

      And, frankly, the W-body Impala is actually a pretty damned good car in certain respects having very good fuel consumption for its capacity and power. It’s also very reliable and very reasonably priced. To many, that makes it a great car.

      • 0 avatar
        SMIA1948

        The SRX’s nemesis is the Chevy Equinox. Same drivetrain, much more room, much cheaper, and no stupid CUE system.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Yep, just like the Lexus RX’s nemesis is the Toyota Highlander. Lexus sells plenty of ‘em, though, last I checked, and no one seems to complain.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            The Toyota Highlander is larger with 3rd-row seating for the children. The Lexus RX with 2 row seating is further removed from the Sienna minivan than the Highlander is.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Hansen

            I’m not sure I want the Muppets along for the ride.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Toyota with the RX opted for “style” with the sharply sloping roofline over the more space efficient box-shape.

            The next RX will likely get more interior room.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            “The next RX will likely get more interior room.”

            With the NX on the way, definitely. Lexus also needs to come up with some kind of three-row crossover, to do battle against the QX60, MDX and MKT. The GX’s third-row is an afterthought, and not many people are going to want to pony up for the LX, which isn’t much bigger than the GX.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Well, apparently, BMW, Audi and Lexus are all prepping full-size 3-row CUVs and Cadillac probably has plans for one as well.

            Will be interesting to see whether Cadillac goes after BMW and chooses RWD or Lexus and chooses FWD.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        I’m enjoying my 2013 red Jewel Impala LT with moonroof quite well and consider it a bargain for what you get. For the same price as a lightly optioned subcompact with stick it sure ticks the right boxes with me.

        Seat comfort and ease of cleaning and keeping them clean
        Front seat space
        Features for the money like power seat, dual zone, remote start, moonroof, flip/fold rear seat, XM radio etc
        Large trunk
        V6 is a powerhouse that gets great mileage on the open road
        Build quality- nothing inside seems to break on these cars, even with high mileage. I have owned several older models, my folks have a 2008 and my friend had a 2006 and all were solid well past 150k!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Agreed, as long as leading-edge driving dynamics aren’t your thing, the previous-gen Impala is a darn nice car for the bucks.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            Yaawwwnnn.

            That’s one thing the W-Body Impala does well.

            Just the thought of it puts you to sleep.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I *just* saw a W-Body Impala yesterday in that color, for the first time ever. The only red Impalas I’d seen previously were either the straight-red color that I hate (similar to “Victory Red” on the Cruze), or burgundy. Jewel Red, however, looks awesome and I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best color offered on the previous Impala.

          My favorite red, though, is GM’s “Crystal Red Tintcoat”, which is available on the 2014 Impala and a host of other GM cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Crossovers rock. Get over it America, they’re here for a while. I like sitting higher; it’s a much more comfortable sitting position, and sight lines are better.

        I was prepared to completely dislike the SRX since I wasn’t too impressed with the Equinox we rented. Sure, the SRX may be based on the Chevy’s chassis, but it’s a whole different class of car (and decently more $). My BIL has the base model; a good friend just bought a loaded one. The ride and all are the same, it’s the toys that vary.

        And the toys seemed frivolous until you actually use them. Cooled seats? Nice. Cross traffic detection? Excellent. Blind spot warning? Highly useful.

        If I was spending $42k for a loaded out SRX, that’s pretty value for everything you get (my friend negotiated his to that price. YMMV).

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I used my cooled seats for the first time a couple weeks ago. What an interesting and refreshing sensation! It felt like someone pouring mentholated water down the back of my pants.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Sounds marvelous. Are the seat-backs also cooled? Some days are so hot & muggy I get sweaty-back before the AC can stop it. Yecchh

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yes, the back as well! Lower portion, not the full back. But at least the lower 45% of the seat back, and all of the base.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Disagree, other than American’s penchant for obesity and poor joints there is no reason for these to exist.

          • 0 avatar
            gtrslngr

            28-Cars-Later ; Try – usability – versatility – utility – comfort [ except the SRX ] better visibility [ again excepting the SRX ] – the demise of useful wagons/estates they having been replaced with Form over Function wanna be’s – AWD and ground clearance for those of us in extended season snow zones [ we’re about to get 3-5″ this Sunday in Denver CO … not to mention snow being possible year round in the mountains ]

            Add to the above in my case – 6’5″ [ 175 if you must know … betting I’m in better shape than y’all ] late 50’s … with a late 50’s back … needing to tote my gear .. year round … weather permitting or not … as well as having a wife whos career may mandate an emergency trip to the office at a moments notice despite the weather ..

            … and I think that pretty much sums up a good many of the reasons SUV/CUVs sales are on the rise WorldWide * .. rapidly supplanting Salons – Wagons/Estates/ Avants – Hatchbacks – Coupes etc

            Which is to say … just cause y’all don’t like em … doesn’t mean theres no reason for them to exist .

            * And I do mean WorldWide son ! With now even the obstinate French switching over to SUV/CUVs [ especially the compact premium variety ] .. and the UK/EU having done so as of about 24 months ago ..

            So care to go down the criticizing/insulting us Yanks for our car choices route again … in light of the fact that wherever y’all might be from you’re doing the very same damn thing ? ..

            ……. I thought not . No one wants to look the hypocrite when in the public eye …. ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Disagree. My first experience with cooled seats was an Equus I had in Korea. Koreans aren’t fat. It’s just another luxury feature. And for now, it’s still mostly restricted to luxury makes.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Made the mistake of renting one of these pos for 14 days . The first five hours ? Loved it . The next 24 ? Slowly began to hate it . By the end of the 14 days I was seriously considering driving the thing off a cliff [ jumping out first of course ] just so no one else would have the displeasure of renting the thing . Final analysis ?

    Spanish Inquisition Ergonomics
    All the handling [ in comparison to other premium SUV/CUV’s I’d rented ] of a pig wallowing in mud
    All the acceleration of a lead brick e.g. push pedal ….. delay ……. accelerate …. lift pedal …….delay ……. de-accelerate
    More Blind Spots than a full faced helmet when you can’t turn your head
    Interior quality that rivals the worst econobox interiors I’ve ever seen
    Wood trim that is an insult to the word … wood
    The worst mileage ever experienced in a premium SUV/CUV of this size

    Honestly . With cars like the SRX on offer . Is it any wonder Cadillac can’t make a profit to save its life and is losing market share by the minute ?

    Why … no it is not ;-)

    Cadillac SRX – Just Say No !

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      ” By the end of the 14 days I was seriously considering driving the thing off a cliff ”

      Have you considered that the feeling between you and the car may have been mutual?

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Hansen

      As they say, your mileage may vary. And, this is just an observation here, your mileage does tend to vary quite a bit.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Spot on about the difference between the 3.0 and the 3.6 in the CTS – it’s not even a comparison. You should have held out for a 3.6 wagon – I know it’d be a rare bird, but worth it.

    And something needs to be done about CUE. It sucks, period.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The 3.0-liter V6 disappeared from the U.S. SRX because it was underwhelming, as well as the Equinox and the Terrain. It is, however, the top engine for the Captiva.

  • avatar
    skor

    I recently drove my neighbor’s (he’s 87 years old) 2014 SRX…he needed a ride to same-day-surgery. This CUV is perfect….for old men and middle-aged yentas.

    This 2014 version replaced a 2012 version(which I also drove)…the old boy has money and leases a new car ever two years. He’s been a GM man his entire life and has owned nothing but GM since 1949.

    Geezer neighbor bought this 2014 version for the same reason he bought the 2012 version, the seat is butt height. He gets in by backing his ass into it and swinging his legs in.

    The 2012 version was equipped with the 3.0 which was a buzzy, spastic mess. The 3.6 2014 version is much better in terms of acceleration and shifting. Around town mileage is crap, about 13/14mpg. The Cadillac CUE system is horrid…worse than My Ford Touch which is itself less than great. Visibility is mediocre. Ride quality is OK, but big potholes produced a shudder from somewhere in the back.

    Bottom line: I would consider a clean used version for the right price, but would not buy new.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Your neighbor’s SRX had to be a 2011. Cadillac went with the 3.6 starting in 2012

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      A ecu and tcu tune cures all!

      http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-srx-second-generation-forum-2010/288386-trifecta-tuned-today.html

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Norm, you bring up an interesting point about modern cars, not that they CAN be relatively easily tuned, but so many of them seem to NEED to be right out of the factory, just to get them to drive acceptably.

        Many of the late model vehicles I have driven of late simply needed better shift mapping to be transformed.

        Damn EPA/CAFE/acronym of the day.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      I’d bet you that well over half of new SRX’s are owned by individuals in the 65+ bracket.

      I must admit, though, I’ve see my share of first generation SRX’s in “The Hood”. Those things must really be the bread and butter of your local “Buy Here Pay Here”.

      In fact, I’d place a comfortable wager that in five years, the Cadillac SRX will replace the Mitsubishi Galant as the regular BHPH vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “..the seat is butt height. He gets in by backing his ass into it and swinging his legs in.”

      Ahhh….

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    What a well done review, to the point and covered everything important. The SRX is an okay vehicle until you get into a Lexus RX and then I have no idea why you would buy anything else. Even the MDX is much much better.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I realize this may be just me but I absolutely loathe looking at this CUV. Especially the bulbous rear-end although admittedly no where near as bad as the badonkadonk on the CTS Coupe. It’s exceptionally offensive to my aesthetic sense of form and proporation for reasons I’ll admit are hard to pinpoint, but could be described as cartoonish.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      “badonkadonk”

      You get ten points for incorporating slang, Sir.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I agree. It is not a good looking vehicle.

      I could expound, if anyone cares.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Please do Dave

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Please note, this is strictly my opinion.

          It mainly boils down to none of the long lines that run down the side have ANY harmony what so ever. If you look at the side profile, the gap above the side windows diverges away from the roofline towards the back, which is a detail I detest. There is then a weird kink where the hatch hinges, and huge D-Pillar. The panel area above the wheel arches is huge, and the black trim of the rocker area actually accentuates that rather than serves to diminish it. The rims also don’t help out this slab sided monster.

          Look towards the front and the odd angle where the chrome strip outline past the front mirror dives underneath the hood just rankles.

          Moving to the front, its harder to describe, but the wide fenders don’t jive with the headlights to my eye. As well, that large bulky vertical strip of body between the headlight and the grill bothers me. It looks out of place.

          All in all, I have never been a fan of Art & Science design, and this is it at its worst, in my opinion. Bulky and ungainly.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’m going to differ with you, Dave – I like the “art and science” design ethos a lot. And I think a lot of the legitimate criticisms of the SRX’s design can be leveled at any of its competitors. There’s only so much you can to do make a tall, blocky vehicle look cool.

            The only CUVs that I find truly distinctive are the Range Rover Evoque and the Ford Escape. I’d give honorable mention to the Hyundai Santa Fe. The rest – and this includes anything from any brand comparable to Cadillac – are a big bunch of meh as far as I’m concerned.

            At least Caddy tried to jazz things up with the SRX.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Awesome analysis Mike, its all subjective of course which is why I prefaced by asking if anyone was interested. Art & Science theme certainly has many people who like it.

            I won’t disagree with you that crappy styling is endemic to…alot of CUVs, from Cadillac down.

            Honestly, my favorite “big” SUV/CUV that isn’t the GC is the first gen Acadia. That thing was tightly styled and looked like a million bucks, from the trim, slightly swept back grill, not overly styled headlight clusters, flat roof and belt line, and quad exhaust tips.

            The second gen is a generic blob, and mid size to large CUVs to my eyes tend to be over or under styled. Very few get it right.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            Agreed gents, with the exception of the Saturn Outlook over the GMC Acadia in the CUV category. I liked the clean look of the Saturn over the machined GMC , but both were good looking trucklets. CUVs as a whole do look wallowy and ungainly, in essence the designers and engineers simply grew the sedan to be a CUV without fulfilling the proportions to correct that cartoonish character it becomes. The new Subie Outback vs. the original is a grand example of this. The new Outback is grotesquely out of proportion to my tastes, looking very nearly like an ’83 AMC Eagle Wagon (which coincedently also suffered from this issue).

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “As someone who needs one vehicle to do it all, the SRX really won me over.”

    This is not as easy as you might think. The last few years this has become my mantra when searching for cars. I’ve actually have considered the SRX because of the positives you describe, plus a 2 year old SRX is a bargain.

    Good review, I got a lot out of it

  • avatar
    Hemi

    Nice review. Perhaps you should opt for the CTS V wagon? I contemplated it, but have no space for winter tires and rent a garage space as well.

    Btw drove a 2014 Malibu and I found the CUE system to be ok. Not as bad as it was made out to be. I do prefer my Uconnect though.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, you didn’t exactly sample CUE on the Malibu. Let me explain.

      GM technically has at least *four* separate infotainment systems in use at the moment.

      VERSION ONE: This one is the most basic of the four. The vehicles on the Lambda platform *did* get a “redesign” for MY2013, but they still use the older GM electronics architecture…which is why they have the older key fob instead of the corporate flip-key, and the dot-matrix display in the instrument cluster instead of a more-advanced color or monochrome LCD like you see on every other GM vehicle. This older architecture also can’t support an advanced infotainment system with full vehicle-integration, so the 2013-present Lambda vehicles use an infotainment system that is basically a separate head-unit, just like the 2007-2012 Lambdas and all of the older GM cars. The Captiva also has this system. GM has tried to make this one look like Version Three, but it’s *not* the same system. (Acadia, Enclave, Traverse, Captiva)

      VERSION TWO: This is the one you’ll find in low-end models. It’s actually very competent and snappy, but it’s lightweight. To get nav, for example, you have to use your phone and its data plan. You can distinguish this one because it uses a flat UI design with large text. (Sonic, Spark, upcoming Trax)

      VERSION THREE: This is sort of the main-line system. It was actually the first system to use the MyLink/IntelliLink moniker. It is identifyable by its large rectangular icons and plenty of glossy UI elements, and basically looks the same across all the cars and brands that it sold under. I would argue that it’s the best system, too. (Cruze, Malibu, Volt, Camaro, Equinox, SS, Caprice PPV, Verano, Encore, 2013 Regal, 2013 LaCrosse, Terrain)

      VERSION FOUR: This one is the snazziest and the most-recent. CUE is built upon this version, but adds some additional connectivity and luxury. It wears different skins, but unlike version three, the icons make use of color to differentiate themselves, except on CUE. (Impala, 2014 Regal, 2014 LaCrosse, Silverado, Sierra, Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon/XL, Corvette, ATS, CTS, XTS, SRX, Escalade, ELR).

      The one you tested was Version Three. Again, I would say that it functions the best out of all of the systems and that Version Four (which really *is* a representation of CUE) is arguably worse. If you’d tested a newer Impala or Sierra, you’d have an idea of what CUE is like.

      • 0 avatar
        Hemi

        Thanks Kyree, I have only driven the Cruze and Malibu so that makes sense. I actually liked both cars and thier infotainment systems. GM gas come a long with both these cars.

        Only cons were Cruze had turbo lag and no go at low RPMs, kinda tight up front for me. Quiet, nice steering, absorbed potholes and bumps and nice simple dash layout. Also got great highway MPG(easy high 30s-low 40s). The Malibu interior was nice, engine felt kinda anemic, I assume was the lowest 4 cylinder.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          “The Malibu interior was nice… engine felt kinda anemic, I assume was the lowest 4 cylinder.”

          The Malibu’s interior is indeed pretty nice, though I thought it looked better in 2013, when there was an electronic parking-brake instead of a handbrake, and therefore a cleaner center-console design. And now that the “Eco” mild-hybrid setup is gone, the only two engines on the Malibu are the base 2.5-liter and the 2.0-liter turbo. I concur that the 2.5-liter feels underwhelming in even normal driving, which is a very bad thing since it probably comprises 80 percent or more of Malibu sales.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Hemi, if the Mailbu actually had CUE, no way you’d have found it to be OK. :)

      CUE sucks…and that’s coming from someone who counts himself as a fan of the Cadillac brand.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    While I don’t hate this, does anyone else see that chrome scoop by the front wheel and think: previous gen Focus?

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Great review, Peter. Three things:

    1. Your closing paragraph says it all. Welcome to the real world.

    2. Every review of a wagon of CUV should included the liftgate height measurement, as yours did.

    3. Please rent a new MDX some time for a direct comparison (if it had a higher liftgate height, I’d own one).

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      In response to #2: I’m 6’4″. I’m pretty used to ducking.

      I recently helped my uncle at a town event where he brought out his industrial paper shredding truck and we unloaded everyone’s old files and shredded them. Being in a wealthy suburban area, at least 3/4 of the customers rolled up in <2 yr old CUVs. Nearly all of these CUVs had electric lift gates, so they rolled up, hit a button, and we just grabbed a box out of the back, threw it in the truck, and they electrically closed the gate. No big deal right?

      I SLAMMED my head into that stupid new escape. I don't know if theirs was malfunctioning or not, but that thing cannot have opened taller than 6 feet. Instantly killed any appreciation I had for the nifty factor of that thing.

      Edit: Upon finding a youtube vid explaining that height is programmable, I'll just blame short drivers for strange preferences.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Hansen

        To clarify, the measurement I took was of the opening height, the distance between the cargo floor and the roof as this is the limiting factor for the size of objects carried. Whenever we shop for something that comes in a box, I make a point of measuring the box beforehand. A trip to IKEA a while ago had me unboxing the chair we bought and removing its legs to get it to fit. Ever since, this has been one of those things that I look at.

        About the liftgate height, both my CTS and the SRX have power liftgates with a choice of full opening or 3/4 opening. Being 6″2″, I have it sat to the max. Why set it lower? The SRX liftgate is noticeably slower than the CTS which I attribute to its greater mass. The Escape has a big hatch as well, so why wait around for height you don’t need?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Short people have no reason to live.

  • avatar
    Peter Hansen

    Postscript:

    I dropped off the SRX this morning.

    I would really like to thank R.J. Burne Cadillac for supplying the car for the two days that I had it. Nothing but smiles, “how can we help you?” and no waiting at all. I know that’s just part of Cadillac service, but Joey went out of her way to find me a nice service loaner and I really appreciate it.

    Back in the CTS, I can reflect a bit on the experience. Burne fixed a problem that had vexxed the two local (NYC) Cadillac dealers, a loud squeak from the suspension (me: “sounds like noisy bushings, squeaks loudly when the front suspension compresses quickly” dealer 1: “Can’t find anything wrong” dealer two: “Needed to replace your right lower control arm, fixed now”, Me: “Loud squeak still there, encountered while exiting your service department”). What was it? Bad bushings.

    My tires need to be replaced. When I swapped out the snows, I noticed that time is running out. The car feels a bit soft and doesn’t have that sharpness of steering that the SRX does. New summer tires will probably help and they need replacing anyway.

    I do miss the 3.6. As has been suggested, it would have been better to hold out for it. C’est la vie. Having said that, the fuel mileage of the CTS is about 20% better than the SRX. I’m told there’s no mileage penalty for the 3.6, int the CTS but I’d have to see.

    It felt a little strange to be sitting lower to the ground. It’s amazing how quickly I got used to the Command Seating (TM). I suspect that this is a a large factor driving the continued march toward total CUV domination: It’s hard to go back.

    Finally, thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts, both positive and negative. Special thanks go to Derek for letting me write and who, truth be told, did a fine job of polishing what I originally wrote.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    There are at least 10-15 better choices in this price range than a gussied up Chevy Equinox which is what the SRX actually is…Audi Q5, Mercedes GLK (especially the BlueTec 250 – torque issue SOLVED), Jeep GC – again > Diesel power available. All as luxurious and simply better vehicles. No real reason anyone should buy this car. My concern on Caddy has been the long term durability. Friends with CTS’s say that start getting loose at 40k miles. Whereas an Infiniti G35xS I had felt the same at 60-70k miles as it did when new…Audi and VW get a bad rap but they do a great job of feeling and driving ‘new’ even at higher miles on the odo…that is important to me.

  • avatar
    probert

    Give the Kia Sportage a try – a fantastic cuv.

  • avatar

    This 2014 Cadillac SRX Premium Collection is a very nice luxury crossover with lots of space and is much better than I expected. Want to have a test ride very soon.


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