Review: 2014 Cadillac SRX

2014 Cadillac SRXTime flies. No, really, it does. When our ’14 Black Raven Cadillac SRX rolled up to my door, I simply could not believe how long it had been since I wheeled an SRX. That would be back in 2010 (click here for my review), and I had taken the SRX for the weekend to Hartford, Connecticut, our state capital, to enjoy some culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum art museum, fine dining, and hole up at night at the Hilton to enjoy the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Flash forward to the present, and while the keys to the SRX are handed to me, the finishing touches are being put on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Four years passed in the blink of an eye.

So, in four years, what is new with the SRX? Actually, not that much. In 2013, the SRX received subtle revisions to the front and rear fascias. And by subtle, I mean subtle. In fact, I had to flip from one tab of the old car to the new car to try to spot the differences. Not that I am complaining. Hardly. The SRX was, and continues to be a striking luxury crossover. The modern crossover is so easily lost in the crowd, but not so with the SRX. From any angle it is distinctly Cadillac. Crisp angles set off by just the right amount of chrome conspire for a cohesive, elegant look. Observing our Black Raven test car, I was inspired to think of a classic Ralph Lauren black tuxedo complimented with a set of Gucci cufflinks. So for the naysayers out there who may carp that the SRX is hardly a fresh design, tell me when that fashion look went out of style? It hasn’t, and the SRX still looks modern and has plenty of swagger.

2014 Cadillac SRXInside, the SRX’s well done cabin remains intact. Everything you see and touch has a premium look and feel to it. As expected, the SRX is an exceptionally comfortable car. Our SRX would take my family from the Connecticut shore to the rolling hills of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for an early Christmas with my wife’s family for a weekend. Fighting holiday traffic, New York, other harried holiday weekend travelers and last minute shoppers, the SRX was a quiet oasis, playing Christmas favorites on SiriusXM satellite radio. No, the SRX cannot tone down the craziness of the holidays, but it sure helps to make it all a little easier in keeping the spirit up. The SRX easily swallowed up all our luggage and Christmas gifts and then some.

In 2013, Cadillac added CUE, short for Cadillac User Experience, which is the only major departure from the SRX we tested in 2010. CUE is the epicenter of controlling the audio, climate control, navigation and other ancillary features of your SRX. In essence, Cadillac’s intent was to have you control these functions in a way similar to how you work your smartphone. You are not actually pushing a button, you are hitting a touchpad. It sounds cool, but I was left unimpressed. It took several touches to adjust things like the cabin temperature or the setting on my heated seat. Yes, it makes for a clean, uncluttered center stack instead of rows and rows of buttons, I just wish it worked in a way that was faster and more responsive. That said, we did find the new Cadillac navigation interface to be one of the best around currently.

At the time of our last look at the SRX, buyers could choose from a standard V-6, or an optional turbo V-6 sourced from Saab. Our test car had the turbo V-6, and I was content with the power, smoothness and delivery. However, that engine was only available on the top-end SRX’s, and had a very low percentage of overall SRX sales. The standard V-6 was merely adequate, but critics complained it simply did not have the juice to move the SRX with authority. Cadillac has since simplified matters in the engine room. All SRX’s come with a 3.6L V-6 rated at 308hp, mated to a six-speed automatic. Front wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional. The SRX has just the right amount of power to charge up an on-ramp and to pass with authority. The ride is comfortable and exceptionally well controlled. Once out of the traffic mess of New York, the SRX flew as the road opened up. The SRX positively shined as a stout, composed highway cruiser.

Yet, I couldn’t help thinking when Cadillac would follow its German competitors, and let their performance V-Sport guys conjure up a hotted up version of the SRX. AMG does it with Mercedes-Benz. M Sport does it with BMW. So, Cadillac, why not answer back with an SRX V-Sport?

2014 Cadillac SRXThe SRX is available in four trim levels, with the base, front wheel drive model starting at just over $37,000USD. Our test car was the top-spec Premium with all-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes 20″ polished alloys, Navigation, Bose surround sound, HD radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated power front seats, heated rear seat, power adjustable pedals, remote start, wood-trimmed interior, panoramic sunroof, three-zone auto climate conrol, power liftgate, xenon headlights and LED interior ambient lighting. Our test car added optional extras such as a rear entertainment system with two screen, Blu Ray DVD, the Driver Assist Package featuring adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking, and automatic collision preparation. All in, including destination charges, our SRX stickers at $56,465. Inexpensive? No, but this is the premier luxury crossover on offer from American shores. A premium automobile brimming with the latest in technological and entertainment features rightfully commands a premium price. If you still disagree, I played with BMW’s price tool. A similarly equipped BMW X5 will run over $11,000 higher than our SRX.

For all the media hoopla over the new ATS and CTS sedans, the bottom line is the SRX is Cadillac’s best selling car. And those are great cars that just came out. The SRX, which is no spring chicken, is a testament to what an excellent premium crossover it is. It has stood the test of time, and buyers continue to buy the SRX over any other Cadillac. The formula works, and I cannot fault Cadillac for not fiddling with such a successful car. The SRX rightfully stands toe to toe with the best the rest of the world has to offer. And hopefully, if another SRX arrives at my door in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics, I hope to report the same.

 

Review: 2010 Cadillac SRX

The year 2010 marks a pivotal year for Cadillac and its luxurious people movers. On the one hand, you have the new CTS Sport Wagon, a “traditional” station wagon. On the other, you have our subject here, the all new SRX crossover. This second generation SRX is quite a departure from the original, which debuted as a 2004 model. That car was based on the rear-wheel drive CTS, while the current SRX rides on a heavily reworked platform shared by the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. While the old SRX had the look of a big, tall station wagon, the current car cuts a more contemporary crossover silhouette.

The changes are more than skin deep. The SRX is available in front or all-wheel drive, as opposed to the rear/all-wheel drive setup offered in the last SRX. The car is also smaller-five inches shorter, and two inches lower. Options on the last SRX like a third row seat and a V-8 are absent on the new car.  Most of these changes seems to bring the SRX a little closer to what Cadillac considers its key competition, chiefly the Lexus RX350 and Audi Q5.

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Imports Vs. Domestics: Our Take

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Yesterday, over at The Truth About Cars, Mr. Farago has drawn a line in the sand. Fed up with his writers being berated for favouring Traditional Imports over Traditional domestic, Farago has let his readers know that he will no longer accept comments from those who seek to flame the writers for their opinions. These guys know their stuff and the boss is going to stand behind them. Good for you Farago, your team deserves the support.
Now, it’s time for my 2 cents. Or maybe 10.

Like most car guys, I’ve grown up around the Import vs. domestic battle. When I finally joined the car industry, it made sense that I should work in Chrysler store, because I had grown up in a loyal Chrysler household. When I made the switch to a European import store I began to see the difference between manufacturing philosophies. In my time, I’ve worked for Japanese, American and Swedish dealerships and as a result, I’m often asked for my opinion by friends and family who are researching a new car purchase because I’ve seen the products in action.

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