Compact and midsize crossover SUVs account for a healthy percentage of most premium brands’ sales. A roomy and handsome cabin, generous cargo capacity, refined driving dynamics and a sure-footed nature in inclement weather are the key reasons these rigs are so popular. And fighting for a piece of this large pie is the 2015 Cadillac SRX.
Other requirements for this segment are sharp styling and cutting-edge features. The SRX has both of those bases covered with its aggressive and chiseled good looks and its abundance of high-tech goodies. The latter now even include 4G WiFi capability, as well as the available "safety alert driver seat" that vibrates on either the right or left side to alert you to potential hazards on either side of the vehicle, such as when backing out of a parking spot in a busy shopping center.
One area of concern with the SRX is a common one throughout the Cadillac lineup: the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) electronics interface. It employs a central touchscreen display surrounded by other touch-type controls that require you to tap or slide your finger as if you were using a smartphone. But this futuristic layout can respond slowly to touch inputs, the "haptic" feedback that lets you know you’ve pressed something is often delayed, and some folks will likely find these controls clumsier than using a more conventional control layout.
More positively, we like the way this Caddy drives. It feels planted and confident around turns, yet still provides a comfy drive over broken pavement. The SRX is also one of the few picks in its class to have a V6 engine as standard equipment. The advantage isn’t as great as you might think — competitor turbocharged 4-cylinder engines can still be plenty quick and get better fuel economy — but if you want a proven powertrain, the SRX delivers.
Within the small luxury crossover segment, we think taking a Cadillac SRX for a test-drive is a good idea. But you’ll definitely want to shop around. The best overall value in this class is the roomy Acura RDX, which also comes standard with V6 power and undercuts the SRX’s pricing. The Volvo XC60 is a stylish, family-friendly choice as well, with a selection of powerful and fuel-efficient engines available. The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are two other front runners here, offering athletic handling, classy interiors and available diesel engines.
The 3.6-liter V6 moves the 2015 Cadillac SRX with assurance in most situations, though acceleration is better described as satisfying rather than exhilarating. The 6-speed automatic transmission is a good companion, as it changes gears in a smooth, unobtrusive manner. Occasionally, it’s a little slow to downshift during highway passing maneuvers, however.
You’re likely to be surprised by the crispness of the SRX’s handling coupled with this crossover SUV’s cozy ride. If you regularly seek out back roads, we’d recommend an all-wheel-drive Performance or Premium version, as they feature quicker, sportier steering and an adaptive suspension that together give it an extra measure of capability around turns.
The 2015 Cadillac SRX is a compact luxury crossover SUV available in four trim levels: Base, Luxury, Performance and Premium.
The base model comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, a 60/40 split-folding and reclining rear seat, cruise control and a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The CUE electronics interface with an 8-inch display is also standard, as are OnStar, in-car WiFi (4G LTE), Bluetooth phone and sound connectivity and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary sound jack.
The Luxury trim adds keyless ignition and entry, a blind-spot warning system, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors (driver-side auto-dimming), a rear cross-traffic alert system, a rearview camera, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate with adjustable opening height. Inside there’s leather upholstery, adjustable thigh support for the driver seat, an eight-way power passenger seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, driver memory functions, power-adjustable pedals, an enhanced climate control system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, accent lighting, a cargo cover and a cargo management system. A voice-activated navigation system and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound sound system are optional.
Those options come standard on the Performance trim, which also adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive dampers (all-wheel drive only), variable-effort power steering, adaptive xenon headlights and foglights.
Optional on the Luxury and Performance trim levels is the Driver Assist package, which incorporates adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation and automatic braking (when your SRX identifies a potential low-speed collision situation). Also available is the Driver Awareness package, which includes forward-collision and lane departure warning systems, automatic high beams and a safety alert driver seat.
The top-of-the-line SRX Premium adds the Driver Awareness package as standard, along with tri-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear-seat sound controls.
A towing package and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual seatback-mounted screens are available on all but the base model.
The SRX’s interior trim has a high-quality look and feel, and everything is nicely put together for the most part. We wish some of the wood accents didn’t look quite so polished, but the overall impression is an excellent blend of technology-meets-luxury.
One of the centerpieces of the SRX’s interior is the CUE infotainment interface. While we find it visually pleasing, operating the system can be a source of frustration. Reactions to inputs via the touchscreen or physical controls can be slow or sometimes missed altogether. Also, the thunk that supposedly acknowledges successful presses feels and sounds inelegant and slide-bar volume adjustment is far more difficult to use than a conventional knob. Perhaps worst of all, the screen’s menu structure is unintuitive. In general, we prefer most other electronics interfaces in this segment.
The Cadillac SRX offers ample room for four adults, although headroom is snug in the rear seat, particularly when the panoramic sunroof is in place (which is the case in all but the base model). Cargo room is average for the class: 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 61 cubic feet with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down.
The 2015 Cadillac SRX comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. The OnStar system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen car assistance and turn-by-turn navigation. Front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts are included starting on the Luxury trim level.
The optional Driver Awareness package (standard on the SRX Premium) adds forward collision alert, lane departure warning and the safety alert driver seat. The latter vibrates on the left or right side of the seat bottom, based on the direction from which a potential hazard looms. The optional Driver Assist package features automatic collision preparation and automatic braking, both when going forward and in reverse.
In SUVS brake testing, a front-drive SRX Performance came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 120 feet, which is a good number in this class.
In government crash tests, the SRX received five (out of five) stars for overall crash protection, with four stars in frontal crash testing and five stars in side crash testing. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the SRX received the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-impact, side-impact and roof strength tests. The SRX’s seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts. The IIHS also rated the SRX’s optional frontal collision warning and mitigation systems collectively as "Superior."
Every 2015 Cadillac SRX model is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for all trim levels other than Base. In SUVS testing, a front-wheel-drive SRX ran from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds, an average time for compact luxury crossovers.
The SRX’s fuel economy ratings are slightly below average, with an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon combined (17 city/24 highway) for front-drive models and 18 miles per gallon combined (16 city/23 highway) with AWD. Properly equipped, the SRX can haul up to 3,500 pounds.
Abundant luxury and safety features; balanced drive and handling; classy cabin design; ample electronics features.
The 2015 Cadillac SRX is a solid choice for an entry-level luxury crossover SUV, especially if you’re looking for one that’s well stocked with safety features. Competitors offer more powerful and efficient engine options, though, and, in many cases, do a better job of integrating technology in the cabin.