The Cadillac SRX is a luxury crossover SUV that lived two lives. In its first incarnation, the SRX borrowed its rear-wheel-drive underpinnings from the original CTS sport sedan and boasted options such as a third-row seat and a V8. The second-generation version was smaller, rode on a front-wheel-drive platform, and offered only V6 power.
Like all crossovers, the Cadillac SRX used components and construction more often associated with cars than trucks. The result was a more comfortable ride and better handling. Many consumers don't need the tougher, truck-type construction that provides stronger underpinnings for heavy-duty chores such as towing or traveling off-road. We're bigger fans of the first SRX than the second, but both are worth a look if you're partial to America's foremost luxury brand.
Used Cadillac SRX Models
The second-generation Cadillac SRX was a small luxury crossover SUV with seating for five produced from 2010 to 2016. For the first two model years, there were two engines available. The standard 3.0-liter V6 produced 265 hp and 223 pound-feet of torque. Though output was average for the class, acceleration was sluggish due to the SRX's above-average weight. The optional 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque provided competitive acceleration, but it was only available in the expensive Performance Turbo or Premium Turbo trims.
For 2012, a 3.6-liter V6 with 308 hp replaced both of those engines. Although it was one of the most robust engines in its class, the SRX's hefty weight meant that acceleration was still only average. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive were standard, and all-wheel drive was an optional upgrade. Bluetooth became standard equipment, and Cadillac retuned the suspension and added more sound insulation for a more comfortable and quiet ride. For the 2013 model year, the CUE infotainment interface was added along with new safety options such as a low-speed automatic braking system, a safety-alert seat (that vibrates to warn the driver of dangerous situations), a lane departure warning system and adaptive cruise control. There were no major changes to the model after 2013.
Four trim levels were available for the second-generation SRX: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium. Even the base model came with front and rear parking sensors, 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seatbacks, dual-zone automatic climate control, Cadillac's CUE infotainment interface, and an eight-speaker sound system with iPod-USB integration. Moving up through higher trim levels added luxuries such as a sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with a backup camera. The all-wheel-drive Performance model featured a sport-tuned suspension with continuously variable damping.
In reviews, we noted that the SRX was a compelling entry in the compact luxury SUV segment once it received an engine that could keep up with the pack. Handling was surprisingly agile, and the ride was quite supple, especially with the adjustable dampers. The well-appointed cabin was also notably quiet, and it made use of quality materials. On the downside, backseat headroom was a tight, especially when equipped with the panoramic sunroof that came standard on all but the base model. We also noted that outward visibility was poor, and we found the CUE infotainment system slow and frustrating to use.
The original Cadillac SRX was produced from 2004 to 2009. Its swept-back and angular styling suggested sporting intent, and it had the goods to back that up, thanks to mechanical underpinnings shared with the first-generation CTS sport sedan. For buyers on the hunt for a responsive, luxurious people hauler, a used SRX of this vintage is one of our recommended choices. First-generation SRX buyers had a choice of a 255-hp 3.6-liter V6 or a 320-hp 4.6-liter V8, with the latter providing downright spirited acceleration. Rear-wheel drive was standard, and all-wheel drive was optional.
With its roomy second row, this SRX could comfortably carry four 6-foot-tall adults. An optional fold-flat third-row seat was available, but the 24 inches of third-row legroom made it suitable for only the smallest of children. Plus, with that third row in use, there was no meaningful cargo capacity. Nevertheless, the third row was ideal for families who occasionally needed to tote an extra child or two on short trips.
As you'd expect from a luxury SUV, the first-generation SRX had a comprehensive collection of safety and luxury-themed equipment. For big-sky fans, an optional panoramic sunroof gave the SRX a more open feeling. One option that maximized the ride and handling was GM's Magnetic Ride Control, which automatically adjusted suspension settings depending on driving and road conditions.
In reviews, we found the first-generation Cadillac SRX enjoyable to drive. The combination of the V8 and the six-speed automatic transmission provided strong acceleration. The V6 was the more popular choice, however, and it should be adequate for most buyers. It also returned better fuel economy than the V8.
Changes to this SRX were minimal apart from significant interior updates for 2007, which greatly improved upon the cheap interior materials and bland design found in earlier SRXs. Also in 2007, V8-equipped models received a six-speed automatic in place of the previous five-speed, making the 2007 to 2009 V8 SRX our first choice.