Forget the fast sedans and the behemoth SUVs. The Cadillac SRX is the number-one selling model in the Cadillac lineup. In just two years, the midsize crossover SUV has ascended from the number nine to the number two midsize luxury crossover on the market. But Cadillac is not content to rest on its laurels, and with good reason. Although the SRX has always boasted unique styling, luxurious cabin appointments and the cachet of the Cadillac moniker, the biggest complaint about the previous generation was its lackluster power. Fortunately, that's been fixed.
With a new 3.6-liter V6 direct injected engine and weight-saving modifications, the 2012 Cadillac SRX is more capable than ever. New for 2012, the 3.6-liter V6 is the only engine available and replaces the 2011 model's 3.0-liter and 2.8-liter engines. We found the new 3.6-liter V6 smooth, quiet, and responsive.
The 3.6-liter engine, based on the one found in the Cadillac CTS, cranks out 308 horsepower (16 percent more than the old version) and 265 pound-feet of torque. It's also 20 pounds lighter, thanks to several weight-saving innovations including a plastic intake manifold, lighter connecting rods and exhaust manifolds which are integrated into the heads. To combat the ticking noise characteristic of direct-injection systems, Cadillac engineers packed on added sound-proofing material in strategic places, which helps to keep the cabin quiet.
The 2012 SRX also features a new Eco mode for the 6-speed automatic transmission. With the Eco button on, drivers can get up to 1 mpg fuel savings while driving at speeds up to 50 mph.
Fuel economy for the 2012 Cadillac SRX is an EPA-rated 17 mpg City/24 mpg Highway for front-wheel-drive models, and 16/23 mpg for all-wheel-drive models, although it's not clear whether those numbers were achieved using Eco mode.
All-wheel drive is available for all but the base model. Front-wheel drive is standard.
Upgrades on the 2012 Cadillac SRX include standard Bluetooth hands-free connectivity on all models and a heated steering wheel on all trims except the base. Interior door lock switches have been added to the door panels on 2012 SRX models, although they also remain in the center console. The 20-inch wheels on upper trims have a new finish for 2012.
Inside, the SRX continues to impress with upscale materials and thoughtful design. Smart cargo solutions appeal to practical senses. An optional Pet Guard Cargo Net behind the front seats can help keep your dog in back and may help prevent cargo from flying up front in hard braking. A rear U-well rail system uses adjustable sliding bars to keep gear in place, rather than using nets or boxes that rattle.
Midsize crossovers such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 give the more powerful SRX a run for its money, but we'd take the Cadillac any day over the best-selling Lexus RX. As an added bonus, the 2012 Cadillac SRX runs on regular unleaded gasoline, which saves shelling out for premium at the pump. It's also Flex Fuel capable, allowing it to run on E85 ethanol.
The 2012 Cadillac SRX ($35,185) comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, OnStar, an eight-speaker Bose stereo with CD player, auxiliary jack and satellite radio capability, automatic headlights, roof rails, and 18-inch wheels.
The SRX Luxury Collection ($39,715) and upgrades with leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors with auto dimming on the driver's side, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic wipers, keyless entry, remote start, a power tailgate with adjustable height, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory functions, power heated front seats, U-rail cargo management system, interior accent lighting, wood trim and a rearview camera. Front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive ($42,210) is available.
The SRX Performance Collection ($43,530) upgrades the wheel size to 20 inches and adds adaptive xenon headlights, fog lamps, an adaptive suspension system, navigation system with real-time traffic, and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system with digital music storage as well as iPod and USB ports. It's available with AWD ($46,340).
The SRX Premium Collection ($45,975) and AWD ($48,785) have ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, three-zone climate control and rear seat audio controls. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.) Destination charge on all 2012 SRX models is $875.
Options for the SRX include a Navigation system with upgraded Bose 5.1 audio system ($2,395), a DVD rear entertainment system ($1,395), an optional Trailering Package ($445) that gives the SRX a tow rating of 3500 pounds, and the Pet Guard Cargo Net ($90).
Safety features on all SRX models include OnStar, six airbags (front, side and curtain), antilock disc brakes (ABS), traction control and stability control. The 2012 Cadillac SRX scored a crash rating of Good in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests. In government crash tests, it scored five stars for both driver and side protection, and four stars for front impact passenger protection. Optional all-wheel drive improves stability in slippery conditions.