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2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Cadillac, Featured, SUV, Test Drives

The all-new 2012 Cadillac SRX crossover, entering into its 3rd year, has grown into its sleek skin evolving from what was thought to be somewhat of an underachiever. The SRX has gone through an evolution for this year that has fine-tuned it in a way to shake off may negative preconceptions that it may have once had. The new 2012 Cadillac SRX is a class contender poised with the refinement, performance and luxury expected from the Cadillac brand.

For 2012, the most notable change for the SRX is a new 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 engine producing 308 horsepower and 265 ft-lbs. of torque. The new engine, which produces more usable and consistent power across the RPM band, is a welcomed improvement over the previous 3.0-liter V6 and 2.8-liter turbocharged engine choices.

The new 3.6-liter V6 mated to a quick-shifting 6-speed hydra-matic automatic transmission now comes as standard equipment across the line for the SRX. A new drive enabled ECO feature for the transmission optimizes shifting points for better fuel economy. Fuel economy for the new V6 in front-wheel-drive configuration is estimated at 17mpg city and 25mpg highway. These figures are much improved over the old 2.8-liter turbocharged powermill but are about 1mpg in the wrong direction when compared to the old 3.0-liter V6.

Midrange to full power delivery, followed by a muddled growl exhaust sound, is smooth and eventually becomes very predictable after spending 15 minutes or more behind the wheel of the new SRX. The added mid-range torque makes the new SRX more enjoyable to drive than previous years due to a more consistent power output when compared to the old 2.8-liter turbocharged engine. In sport mode, the SRX’s transmission tends to shift hard and abrupt. Essentially in sport mode, the transmission becomes snappy with its shifting but I am not certain that shifts come on much faster. Steering response over-all is somewhat light when cruising around town but tends to tighten up nicely at highway speeds.

I can now say that the all-new 2012 SRX fills its shoes for being called “the Cadillac of crossovers”. If there was any doubt in the Cadillac SRX’s competitiveness before, it has been reconciled in the all-new 2012 model. Not only has Cadillac made the SRX better with a new powermill, but they have also retuned the suspension and add additional sound insulation. Over-all, these changes elevate the SRX’s aggressiveness in the luxury crossover segment when compared to the likings of vehicles such as the Lexus RX.

The all-new 2012 Cadillac SRX benefits from an excellent ride and good looks that are in tune with the rest of the growing Cadillac lineup. The SRX is offered in 4 trims, base, luxury, performance and premium. My Cadillac SRX test vehicle was the top-of-the-line Premium trim. All-wheel-drive is available in the luxury, performance and premium trim levels.

The new SRX’s handling characteristics benefit well from automatically directing power to all four wheels considering a hefty curb weight of over 4400 pounds for the all-wheel-drive model. I was able to experience the electronics quickly sorting things out under wet conditions keeping my SRX planted to the road. The larger 20-inch wheels and meaty 255/40 tires, part of the performance and premium trim levels, aid in the SRX’s handing without compromising ride quality. Moreover, the 20-inch wheels are rather stylish and blend well with the SRX’s exterior.

The all-new Cadillac SRX demonstrates excellent quality when it comes to the fit and finish of the interior. The interior is enhanced by a small amount of dark wood trim on the doors, dashboard center-stack storage compartment and steering wheel. The dashboard on my premium SRX is accented with stitching and has a large glide-up LCD touch-screen for displaying the hard-drive based GPS navigation, audio controls, climate settings and other vehicle customization settings. The evolution of GM’s infotainment systems has reached a pinnacle to provide user friendliness backed with a slight redundancy of touch-screen and dashboard button operations.

Seating arrangements in the new SRX are among the best in the industry for 5-passenger luxury crossovers. The heated and ventilated front leather appointed seats are very comfortable and have just enough bolstering to keep your body situated during sharp turns. Other mentionable luxury features include memory driver’s seat, rear heated outboard seats, rear climate controls and a power rear liftgate.

The new SRX suffers slightly with the lack of rear headroom but makes up for it with copious amounts of front legroom so the tall person in the group has a proper place. Rear cargo space is decent with an opening floor compartment storage box and an optional adjustable aluminum rail-way organizer in place of the customary cargo net.

Safety has always been a prime objective for Cadillac and the new 2012 SRX is no exception. A new Auto Dry Brake system is available for 2012. The new system will apply pressure to all four brakes on the SRX when the RainSense system (automatic rain sensing wiper system) detects rain. Working in conjunction with the RainSense and stabilitrack system, the Auto Dry Brakes will help keep the brake discs dry during wet road conditions ultimately improving stopping distance. A fill list of standard safety features starts with an automatic occupant sensing system that displays which occupants have their seatbelt on indicated on the driver’s instrument cluster round LCD screen. Roll-over sensing side-curtain airbags and front smart-airbags are also standard.

My 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium is an excellent contender for those who want a little extra flavor when in the market for a luxury crossover. With 5-passenger seating and a much improved platform to work with, the new 2012 Cadillac SRX offers the right amount of sportiness with a cutting-edge style in a luxury crossover. The price of the new 2012 Cadillac SRX starts at $35,185 for the front-wheel-drive base model and tips the scale at a base starting price of $45,975 for the SRX premium trim. Expect to pay north of $50,000 for a fully loaded SRX premium all-wheel-drive model.

Copyright: 2011


  • Price: Base SRX FWD $35,185 / Base SRX AWD Premium $45,975
  • Engine: 3.6-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 308 horsepower @ 6800 rpm / 265 ft-lbs. torque @ 2400 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 110.5in.
  • Total length: 190.3in.
  • Total width: 75.2in.
  • Total height: 65.7in.
  • Track: f/r-63.8/63.4in.
  • Fuel tank: 21.0 gallons
  • Turning circle: 40.3ft.
  • Headroom: f/m-39.7in./38.4in.
  • Legroom: f/m-41.2/36.3in.
  • Max towing when properly equipped: 3,500lbs.
  • Curb weight: 4,425lbs. (AWD)
  • EPA mileage: 16mpg/city, 23mpg/highway (AWD)

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