Cadillac SRX is confident luxury cruiser
By JOHN STEIN Automotive Editor May 25, 2012 2:00PM
2012 CADILLAC SRX
ENGINE: 308-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: front-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 17 city/24 highway
BASE PRICE: $35,050
AS TESTED: not available
Updated: June 20, 2012 1:00PM
The first Cadillac SRX I drove in 2004 was a bit of an ugly duckling with a really impressive rear-wheel-drive platform that made it unlike any Caddy. Exciting drive characteristics oozed while awkward exterior styling seemed more wagon than sport.
A 2010 redesign delivered a much cleaner vehicle with a front-wheel-drive platform that was a bit of a departure from the sporty, enthusiast-inspired rear-wheel layout, but much more in line with the luxury leader, the Lexus RX. This was a good decision for Cadillac, as was its choice for the 2012 model year to offer only General Motors’ best V-6, a direct-injected 3.6-liter workhorse.
Exterior styling folds neatly into the Cadillac line with edgy character lines flowing across well-defined fender flares. A selection of sophisticated alloy rims further defines the SRX as a true luxury crossover while establishing some attractive athleticism to go with the new engine under the hood.
The SRX’s new V-6 produces 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and it can run on E85 ethanol. It has noticeably more horsepower than last year’s 2.8-liter turbo offering, though fuel economy is slightly less than the 3.0-liter option. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 16/23 with all-wheel drive. These 2012 SRX improvements are the best of both worlds.
Mated to a wonderful six-speed automatic with manual shift capability, the new engine accelerates quickly from a stop with plenty of power for passing at the slightest whim. Zero to 60 mph takes 6.8 seconds (7.0 with AWD).
Once in the cabin of the SRX, you are enveloped in luxurious materials, outstanding fit and finish as well ample seating for five. I was impressed with the soft-touch surfaces with stitched accents on the dashboard, instrument panel, door panels and center console.
The SRX’s center is cool looking as the screen pops up from the dashboard. There is a vast field of controls below the screen, and it took me the better part of a week to get accustomed to their functions. It is an intimidating selection of functions and submenu options, but it is not different than any other high-tech luxury offering from other manufacturers.
I found the front seats to be especially comfortable, though rear seats deliver just a smidge less legroom than I was expecting.
The rear seats have a fold-down armrest with cup holders and a convenient storage bin. The rear cargo area offers 61.2 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down. The rear seat comes with a center pass-through and a lockable under-floor storage bin that can be used to hide valuables, or the top can be propped up to secure groceries on several built-in hooks.
One feature on the new SRX that turned out to be especially convenient was the rear cargo fence that can be adjusted within an in-floor track. This system keeps items from sliding forward, which is always appreciated when you get home and open the rear hatch only to find everything strewn about the floor.
During my weeklong test drive, I enjoyed the SRX drive characteristics more each day. This is a crossover that likes to be challenged and, unlike the Lexus RX, it can handle aggressive maneuvers with little roll or other negative feedback.
Pricing for the 2012 Cadillac SRX starts at $35,050 and can climb to more than $50,000. A nicely equipped model costs $39,715 with FWD and $42,210 with AWD.
This 2012 SRX has evolved into a much better option given the new engine offering as well as the exceptional interior refinement and wonderful — often sporty — drive characteristics. I like this SRX; it is worth a test drive if you are shopping in this class of vehicle.
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