New car reviews

2012 Cadillac SRX

It's not just a new engine, it's a right of passage

Lou Ann Hammond, Thu, 11 Aug 2011 04:46:36 PDT

Cadillac has sold 30,000 SRX in 2011. The SRX is doing better in 2011 than it did in 2010, but sales are starting to falter. Could it be because consumers are holding off because they have heard the new 2012 Cadillac SRX with the new engine is coming out?

The previous generation Cadillac had a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that produced 265 horsepower. A luxury machine is not really considered luxury unless it is over 300 horsepower, hence the change in engines. Cadillac SRX is showcasing the new 3.6-liter engine, known inside Cadillac as the LFX engine, and becomes the sole engine offered in the SRX in North America (the SRX is a global car with other engines).

The new 3.6-liter is rated at 308 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque with efficiency-enhancing features including direct injection and continuously variable valve timing. The 2012 Cadillac SRX will come in front-wheel drive, 17 city/ 24 highway miles per gallon, and all-wheel drive, 16 city/23 highway miles per gallon.

The top 3 most important factors for luxury SUV/CUV considerers in Kelley Blue Book's BrandWatch for Q2 2011 were:

1. Driving comfort

2. Durability/reliability

3. Fuel Efficiency

Since the Cadillac SRX is the number one seller for Cadillac it's important to bring it up to luxury status with an engine that roars.

The torque is the difference in the 2012 Cadillac SRX. The bandwidth is extraordinarily different and you can tell it in the drivability. Previously, the torque was 223 lb.-ft of torque @ 5100 rpm. Now, the SRX boasts 265 lb.-ft. of torque with peak torque achieved at 2,400 rpm and continuing through 5,300 rpm. Right off the line the SRX is smoother, giving the luxury CUV owner the driving comfort they are looking for.

Fuel-efficiency is not the highest concern of the consumer buying a luxury CUV such as the 2012 Cadillac SRX ($35,185), 2012 Audi Q5 ($43,000), 2011 BMW X3 ($36,750), 2011 Lincoln MKX ($39,415)and 2011 Lexus RX ($39,950). The SRX has moved up from number 9 to number 2 in midsize luxury CUVs, taking sales from the likes of Chevy, Buick, GMC, Lexus and Ford. As time wears on the type of fuel could be an issue. Cadillac and Lincoln take regular, Audi and Acura take premium.

The Cadillac is a flex-fuel vehicle, but once again, not a big influence in the decision making process of purchasing a luxury car. What Cadillac has done is implement 6-speed automatic transmission with ECO mode button that gives you one more mile per gallon.

What the SRX doesn't have is a power steering column like the Escalade and CTS. It's a price point problem for sure, but isn't a power steering column almost as much a luxury item as an engine that gets over 300 horsepower? A couple of cool luxury items were the trick track in the back and the TIVO functionality of pause and play in the stereo system.

While at the SRX launch in Santa Barbara I found out that Cadillac will be bringing out a new compact luxury sedan (against the BMW 3-series) , smaller than the CTS. You might hear it referred to as ATS (the internal name) in other articles, but Cadillac has not announced that nomenclature as the retail name. A Cadillac XTS (the retail name) sedan, large luxury sedan, will also come out in the second half of 2012. There are also rumors, not confirmed by Cadillac, that the Cadillac Converj will become the next vehicle with the volt technology in it.

Exterior designer Hoon Kim kept the changes to a minimum with the biggest change being the grille. Interior designer Matt Erdey added the interior door lock switches to the door panels (and retained on center console).

There will be a heated steering wheel standard on all trims, Bluetooth is now standard on the Base model, and the 20-inch wheels will offer a offer a new machined-face finish. An all-Ebony interior trim is available, and if you want everyone to know your SRX is a 2012 model get the brand new exterior color that comes out in the fall: Xenon Blue Metallic.



2012 Cadillac SRX

It's all about the low-end torque

love the trick track in the back

Cadillac pays homage to the fin

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