By William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
April 30, 2013
The last time we reviewed a Cadillac SRX, it came with the choice of two different engines, an interior lifted from the Cadillac CTS, and coming close to being second in sales in the small luxury crossover arena. Fast forward two years and the SRX has undergone a bit of a change; there is now one engine, a revised exterior and interior, and coming very close to the Lexus RX in sales... (RX: 95,381 units. SRX: 57,485 units)
A revisit it seemed was in order. That’s what happened a few weeks ago as a 2013 Cadillac SRX AWD Performance Collection was dropped off for a week’s evaluation.
The overall design of the 2013 Cadillac SRX hasn’t changed much since its introduction back in 2010. The model wears the ‘Art & Science’ design language very well with a number of sharp angles and creases throughout the shape. The only real changes for 2013 include a new front grille and side vents with new LED lighting.
Inside the 2013 SRX, Cadillac revised the interior greatly with a new dashboard layout and instrument cluster from the smaller ATS sedan. Materials are in tip-top shape with a mix of leather, wood trim, and black acrylic for the touch capactive touch buttons. Build quality was excellent on this low mileage tester.
I had two disappointments with the SRX’s interior. One was the uncomfortable seats. Getting onto them for the first time, I felt like I was sitting on piece of concrete wrapped in leather. Not what I would call luxurious. The other problem was back seat room. While legroom is decent, headroom comes at cost thanks to a sloping roofline and the standard panoramic sunroof on the Performance Collection.
Not disappointing is Cadillac’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience). Since we last tried CUE in a ATS back in December, Cadillac has issued an update to squash some of the bugs and improve the performance of the system. My test SRX came with the update and the system was noticeably smoother. Inputs on the screen and the capacitive touch buttons registered most of the time and moving around the system was snappy. Now Cadillac just needs to work on making the system somewhat less distracting.
Powering the SRX is a 3.6L V6 engine with 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to six-speed automatic transmission to either the front-wheels or all four wheels. Compared to the outgoing 3.0L and 2.8L turbocharged V6 engines, the 3.6L sits in the middle. Low-end power isn’t the 3.6L’s strong suit, but get above 2,000 RPM and the power comes smoothly in. The six-speed automatic provided smooth shifts and didn’t need to downshift as much when I stepped on the accelerator, something that couldn’t be said of the 3.0L.
One place where I wished the 3.6L was better was fuel economy. The EPA rates the SRX 3.6L AWD at 16 City/24 Highway/18 Combined. During my week, I averaged 17.2 MPG in mostly suburban driving. Out on the highway, fuel economy rose to 24.2 MPG. Why the low MPG numbers? Part of the blame goes to AWD system in the SRX, but a good majority is to the 4,442 lb curb weight.
Driving around in the SRX, my impressions were that Cadillac had focused more on the comfort than the sport. The FE2 suspension absorbs bumps and road imperfections with ease. A bit surprising since the SRX I was rolling in had twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment. Steering is very precise, despite the heavily boosted feeling I was getting. My biggest gripe dealt with the brake pedal. Whenever I put my foot on it to stop the SRX, it feels like I’m pushing through quicksand. This means you’re either not going slow down as fast as you like or come to a panic stop. Not pleasant at all.
My test SRX AWD Performance Collection rings up at $49,085, which is a steal when you consider that includes CUE, a Bose surround sound system, keyless entry with push button start, twenty-inch wheels, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and a number other features as standard equipment.
Its very easy to see why the 2013 Cadillac SRX is one of the best sellers in the segment. It offers the right blend of luxury, features, and value in a handsome package. While the SRX will not be coming anywhere close to toppling the Lexus RX in sales (so far in 2013, the RX current holds a 8,548 unit lead over the SRX), Cadillac should be very pleased that they have a very credible alternative.
Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.
Year - 2013
Make – Cadillac
Model – SRX
Trim – AWD Performance Collection
Engine – 3.6L SIDI V6
Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM – 308 @ 6,800 RPM
Torque @ RPM – 265 @ 2,400 RPM
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/23/18
Curb Weight – 4,442 lbs
Location of Manufacture – Ramos Arizpe, CZ Mexico
Base Price - $47,715.00
As Tested Price - $49,085.00* (Includes $875.00 destination charge)
Black Ice Metallic Paint - $495.00