Since 2010, the current-generation Cadillac SRX has been the brand’s offering for the entry-level luxury crossover SUV market. It’s done well and has actually been the best-selling model in Caddy’s entire lineup. But the competition hasn’t been sitting still, and compared to some fresher rivals, the 2016 SRX is getting a bit long in the tooth.
The 2016 Cadillac SRX is a handsome luxury crossover SUV that seats five.
To its credit, the SRX is boldly styled and loaded with technology and luxury features, including standard 4G WiFi capability and an available "safety alert" seat that vibrates on the appropriate side when the SRX’s multitude of safety monitors identify a threat coming at you from the right or left. The SRX also handles well while providing a cozy ride, and for those who may bemoan the ongoing downsizing of the gasoline engine, the SRX is one of the few in its class that still comes standard with a V6.
On the downside, though, the SRX’s interior is on the small side, with less rear headroom than you might expect. Outward visibility is a bit compromised as well, especially when backing up. The most significant fault for many potential buyers, though, is that the 2016 SRX retains the standard and somewhat sluggish CUE (Cadillac User Experience) electronics interface, while some other 2016 Cadillacs are getting an upgraded version with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for in-car smartphone integration.
Taking a 2016 Cadillac SRX for a test-drive still is a good idea if you are shopping in the small luxury crossover segment. But we also recommend looking at the 2016 Acura RDX, which also has a standard V6 but is roomier and a better value. The 2016 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 popular competitors here, offering athletic handling, classy interiors and available diesel engines. Overall, the SRX is likable enough, but we think these competitor crossovers will likely prove to be more desirable overall.
The 3.6-liter V6 moves the 2016 Cadillac SRX with assurance in most situations, though acceleration is better described as satisfying rather than exhilarating. The 6-speed automatic transmission 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 2016 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, 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.
There are four available trim levels for the 2016 SRX. For value, our pick is the SRX’s Luxury trim.
The top-of-the-line SRX Premium adds tri-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear-seat sound controls, along with a Driver Awareness package, which includes forward-collision and lane departure warning systems, automatic high beams and a safety alert driver seat.
Optional on the Luxury, Performance and Premium 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). The Driver Awareness package is an option on the Luxury and Performance trims. 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.
The SRX has a classy cabin with loads of luxury touches, but its central CUE infotainment interface can be hard to use.
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 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 rear headroom is snug, especially in models with the panoramic sunroof. 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 2016 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 braking, in reverse as well as when going forward.
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 for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the SRX received the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test, as well as a "Good" score for the side-impact, roof-strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. The IIHS also rated the SRX’s optional frontal collision warning and mitigation systems collectively as "Superior."
Every 2016 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, 0-60-mph acceleration for a front-wheel-drive SRX was 7.0 seconds, an average time for compact luxury crossovers.
The SRX’s fuel economy ratings are 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.
Cadillac’s 2016 SRX is a respectable choice in the entry-level luxury crossover SUV segment, but some competitors will likely prove to be more desirable overall.