The 2014 Cadillac SRX now offers auto-dimming high beams. Last year, Cadillac retrofitted the SRX's interior with Cue, its new infotainment system, as part of an interior freshening...more
The 2014 Cadillac SRX is a mid-size luxury crossover. Once a sporty BMW X5 alternative, it has evolved to compete with the very successful Lexus RX. It comes standard with front-wheel drive and a 3.6-liter, 308-hp V-6. All-wheel drive is optional. What you're paying for here is a refined, versatile interior and exterior styling that stands out among a sea of bland crossovers. That said, the SRX is hardly a rare sight -- it's one of the best-selling vehicles in its segment.
The SRX started out life nearly a decade ago as a sporty, rear-wheel-drive vehicle that could be had with a V-8. Automobile Magazine named it to our All-Stars list in 2004 and 2005. Unfortunately, it sold poorly. The current-generation SRX, which debuted in 2010, thus follows a very different formula. It now is front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive and has only six-cylinder power. The result is a vehicle that doesn't appeal as much to driving enthusiasts but is probably better suited to its segment. It's hard to argue with the numbers: the 2014 Cadillac SRX is now Cadillac's best-selling vehicle.
The luxury-crossover segment is one where it's what's inside that truly counts. With the first-generation SRX, Cadillac seemed to cobble together an interior from the few pennies remaining in the budget after it had invested heavily in a fine chassis and excellent powertrains. For this generation, interior quality clearly topped the priority list. The cabin was among the best in the segment at launch, closely resembling that of the 2008–2013 CTS sedan. A 2013 refresh brought the SRX even more refinement -- new steering wheel, new color combinations, new active-noise-cancellation technology, and a new center-stack design. For better and for worse, the revisions also included the incorporation of Cadillac's new infotainment system, Cue. For better because a handsome color touchscreen replaces what had been a cluster of General-Motors-parts-bin-quality buttons. For worse because the system can be sluggish and frustrating to use while driving. The SRX is slightly larger than most mid-size crossovers and puts this size to good use. The back seat comfortably accommodates adults, and even the center position is livable. Farther back, the cargo compartment is spacious and has a covered underfloor compartment.
All the money invested in the interior had to come from somewhere. The 2014 Cadillac SRX no longer shares its bones with the CTS sport sedan, as did its predecessor. Instead, it adapts General Motors' corporate front-wheel-drive underpinnings (although technically its only direct platform-mate was the short-lived Saab 9-4x). The SRX still looks the part of a sporty vehicle. Cadillac's Art & Science design language stands apart from the cookie-cutter styling that characterizes many luxury crossovers.
The SRX certainly doesn't drive badly. A 3.6-liter V-6 provides ample power (smaller-displacement engines were offered during the first two years of production but were wisely dropped). It also handles and rides quite well, if not quite entertainingly, exhibiting good body control for a crossover. The Cadillac's main shortcoming is that it feels -- and in fact is -- rather heavy, with most of that weight riding above the front axle. Mind you, we would describe the dynamics of most competitors -- the Lexus RX, the Audi Q5, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class -- using similar phrasing. Folks who want a more engaging driving experience from their utility vehicle ought to consider the smaller BMW X3 or, for that matter, Cadillac's own CTS wagon.
- Audi Q5
- Lexus RX
- Mercedes-Benz M-class
- Volvo XC60