2012 Cadillac SRX Review

When you start adding up the costs for the SRX, the Premium model is a bit more expensive than the higher end models of competitors.
When you start adding up the costs for the SRX, the Premium model is a bit more expensive than the higher end models of competitors.
When you start adding up the costs for the SRX, the Premium model is a bit more expensive than the higher end models of competitors.

Highs

  • All-wheel drive system inspires confidence
  • Class-leading power output
  • Excellent safety rating

Lows

  • All that power is pushing a lot of weight
  • Tech suite is lacking
  • Steep price

DT Editors' Rating

For those who love the crossover segment, every other car is a niche. Those sporty sedans from BMW and Mercedes, the full-size SUVs, or the economical commuter cars all seem like minor blips. The only car worth buying has the styling of something like the Cadillac SRX: big enough to carry a few passengers (but not too many), room in the back for a few bookbags (but not everyone’s luggage), and a drive that seems at once sure and secure but not so sporty that you’ll do an unwanted jack-rabbit start.

That’s what makes the 2012 version of the Cadillac SRX a bit hard to review. This is the type of vehicle that people actually buy, not just dream about owning. Starting at $35,185, the price is not unreasonable, especially if you use the car for business to impress clients (or the teens you pick up from basketball). With a solid 3.6-liter V6 engine running at 308-horsepower, yet with a respectable 23MPG highway, the SRX has power when you need it but not so much power that you’ll live at the pump.

2012-Cadillac-SRX-Front

For this model year, Cadillac made the V6 a standard engine for each versions of the SRX. There is now a Hydra-Matic 6T60 six-speed automatic transmission with a push-button Eco option. The Eco feature reduces fuel consumption by altering the shift points in the transmission. Other additions: Bluetooth is now a standard offering (finally) on all SRX models, the heated steering wheel is standard, and there are a few extra fit and finish options like 20-inch wheels and an all-black interior.

Performance

The SRX is not known for a highly spirited drive. In our tests, we found the V6 to be capable and powerful at times when we needed to pass someone on the highway, but this is not a sporty crossover. The similarly sized Lexus RX-350 has a 275-horsepower engine, and the Audi Q5 has just 211 horsepower. But, at 308 horsepower, this 4,442-pound crossover still felt a bit sluggish at times. In fact, we were reminded a few times that the drive is not that different from a Chevy Equinox. Even the interior styling, while branded thoroughly as a Cadillac with a pop-up nav system and an analog clock, has more than a hint of the Equinox’s slanted dashboard layout, similar buttons, and even similar control features.

Understanding that the SRX is not intended to be sporty, we still felt the drive was a bit lethargic at times – but wondered if this is by design. Sportier crossover models, including the Ford Edge, have a similar horsepower rating but just seemed to have better acceleration and a sportier feel. That’s a bit surprising for Cadillac, the company that makes the CTS-V sport sedan, but the goal was to make the drive refined and elegant, not so you can win a race at the shopping mall.

2012-Cadillac-SRX-Back-Passenger-Side

We didn’t find as many pleasant surprises when driving the SRX, either. The Lexus brand does a better job adding a few extras to their crossover and SUV models. The GX460, for example, has tiny sprayers that rise up above the headlights to wash them off. The heated steering wheel on the GX460 also heats up much faster and stays hotter than the one on the SRX. In terms of the sound system, the 10-speaker Bose premium audio on the SRX is loud enough and distinct, but lacks the spatial audio of the Mercedes GL350 where you can hear parts of a song in different areas of the interior cab.

Pricing considerations

2012-Cadillac-SRX-Steering-WheelThere’s also an issue with price. The model we tested, the AWD Premium, costs $51,550 with additions for the Bose audio ($1,395) and a black ice metallic finish ($495). That pushes the price well over the $39,075 base price of the similarly style 2012 Lexus RX350, which also has a V6 and gets 25MPG highway. The 2012 Audi Q5 Premium Plus, which has a 3.2-liter V6, costs $43,000. Even the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK with the AWD option costs $37,900. The SRX base price of $35,185 falls under each of these models, but that’s without the AWD or any of the premium features.

That’s not to say we were disappointed with the SRX. For one thing, the safety tests on the SRX are class-leading. The SRX also lets you use E85, which is a bonus in some areas where the price of that fuel will get you some relief in the pocketbook. (Unfortunately, not in our area.)

2012-Cadillac-SRX--Trunk-Space

The ride on the SRX is also a notch better than the RX350, but not as smoother as the Mercedes GL350. Cadillac improved the suspension with variable damping to smooth over ruts and potholes. (That option is only available in the costlier Performance and Premium versions, though.) Computer-controlled AWD worked surprisingly well on an icy road, keeping the car straight in the same condition where a GX460 felt a bit unsure. The computer automatically pumps more power to any slipping wheel.

Some of the luxury features on the SRX seem a bit common now, even on Buick and Chevy models. On the SRX, you can adjust the foot pedal, there’s a rain sensing system for the wipers, and an interior lighting system that fades out like you’d expect from a luxury car. The truly notable feature, though, is the amazing sunroof, which stretches from one end of the car to the other.

Conclusion

When you start adding up the costs for the SRX, the highest end Premium model is a bit more expensive that the higher end models of several other crossover models. That means the SRX needs more than just an expansive sunroof. We felt the SRX offered a comfortable ride, but not as many unusual tech features that give you the feeling of superior craftsmanship. For example, there’s no lane departure warning, and no adaptive cruise control. The headlights do adapt to the terrain, and there is a headlight washer button (even if you don’t get the sprayers that rise up from the hood as you do with the GX460).

That makes the SRX a good buy for those who want the extra power of a V6 with 308 horsepower, even if that still means the acceleration was not remarkable. We liked the smooth ride of the SRX. The price tag and lack of extra tech features were the main turn-offs compared to other crossover tests.

Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Cars

Think trucks are basic? The 2020 GMC Sierra HD can see through a trailer

GMC has released the new 2020 Sierra 2500 HD and Sierra 3500 HD. Both trucks are considerably more high-tech than their predecessors, and the new features mostly benefit drivers who tow on a regular basis.
Cars

Polestar gives us an early look at its Android-based infotainment system

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Product Review

With the roomy and speedy 2019 Continental, you can take Lincoln seriously again

With the 2019 Continental, Lincoln is on a mission to rekindle ties with its glamorous past. The firm's flagship sedan is short on tech, but it's comfortable, spacious, and smooth -- just like a Lincoln should be.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Cars

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Cars

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.
Cars

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.
Cars

If Batman became a race car driver, he’d hit the track in the Vuhl 05RR

Mexican sports car Vuhl revealed the hardcore 05RR, a roadster that blurs the line between a track car and a street-legal car. The 05RR stands out with a design that looks right out of a video game and a 385-horsepower engine.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk offers to help dig CERN’s new particle collider tunnel

CERN plans to put the Large Hadron Collider to shame with its proposed much larger Future Circular Collider -- and Elon Musk wants to help. Because, you know, he's not busy enough.