In nearly every respect, we have something good to say about the 2014 Cadillac SRX. The standard 308-horsepower V6 engine, for instance, offers just enough muscle and passing power to make the SRX a pleasure to drive. Cadillac's CUE system is mostly intuitive, and we appreciate that it's now standard in any SRX trim level. We appreciate the SRX's styling. And we're certainly grateful for the SUV's long list of standard equipment.
Admittedly, we have a few gripes. The biggest is visibility. Owing to the SRX's bold styling, the window's beltline comes up extremely high near the back of the SUV. The result is that rear visibility can be a challenge. We also know we're not alone when we say we wish the SRX had a third row in back, like the original model did, and rear seats that were not so cramped. Still, those are small gripes when you consider the SRX's long list of positive traits.
What's New for 2014?
The SRX receives only minor changes for the 2014 model year. In addition to a new wheel design and some new paint colors, the biggest update is the addition of an available IntelliBeam feature that automatically switches from high beams to low beams when it detects another vehicle's lights.
What We Like
Long list of standard features; advanced CUE infotainment; superb engine and transmission
What We Don't
High beltline means tight visibility; back seats are cramped
The SRX's sole powerplant is a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which makes 308 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.
Although Cadillac uses the same engine in its CTS sedan, the heavier and less aerodynamic SRX is not as fuel efficient. It's rated at 17 miles per gallon city/24 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive or 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
The SRX comes in four trim levels: an unnamed base model, mid-level Luxury and Performance trims, and an upscale SRX Premium.
Even the base-level SRX ($38,500) has a lot of standard equipment. Features include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, front and rear parking sensors, "leatherette" upholstery and Cadillac's CUE system. That means there's an 8-in touchscreen with apps, GM's OnStar system and Bluetooth connectivity.
Step up to the SRX Luxury ($43,800) and you get keyless access with a remote starter, a rearview camera, a panoramic sunroof, a rear cross-traffic alert system for backing out of tight parking spots, rain-sensing wipers and a power lift gate. The SRX Luxury also includes dual power seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. That's a lot of equipment for the money.
Next up is the SRX Performance ($49,100), which offers a sporty flair. It boasts 20-in alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension for improved handling, fog lights, a Bose audio system and adaptive headlights that swivel when you turn the wheel. Performance models also include Cadillac's voice-activated navigation system as standard equipment.
Topping the lineup is the SRX Premium ($51,900), which adds the optional Driver Awareness Package as standard equipment. That means you get Cadillac's IntelliBeam lighting system, along with a lane-departure warning system, a forward-collision warning system and a "safety alert" driver seat that lets you know if you're drifting into another lane. SRX Premium models also boast heated rear seats, ventilated front seats and tri-zone automatic climate control.
On the options list, there's a rear-seat entertainment system with dual rear screens, a towing package and the Driver Awareness package, which is available on Luxury and Performance models.
The SRX comes standard with ABS, traction control, stability control, front and side airbags and OnStar's immediate response system. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the SRX received a Good rating in all areas. It received five stars in all the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's tests except rollover, for which it received four stars.
The SRX can also be equipped with driver assistance technologies such as lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control and Cadillac's IntelliBeam technology. Another newly available feature, Cadillac's safety alert seat, provides the driver with warnings without alarming others in the vehicle.
Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a backup camera are included on all but the base model.
Behind the Wheel
The SRX seems to be the nimblest and sportiest offering in its class. Steering is responsive yet light enough for easy in-town driving. The transmission keeps the engine in its optimal power range. When a downshift is needed, the transmission is happy to oblige, even in automatic mode. If you'd prefer to take control, there is a manual mode that lets you select the gears yourself. There's also a Sport mode that provides a more lively driving style while letting the automatic transmission do the shifting.
Fit and finish inside the SRX is good, as has become the standard for Cadillac. And there's plenty of technology, especially with the addition of CUE as standard equipment. Materials are soft to the touch pretty much anywhere the hand can fall.
Legroom is ample in both front and back, and headroom is decent, as well, unless you opt for the panoramic sunroof. It is a nice addition and provides a great view of the outdoors, but the pocket needed to hide that expanse of glass cuts into rear headroom noticeably. Six-footers will find their head touching the headliner, and even those who are shorter may feel cramped.
Speaking of cramped, the high beltline that gives the SRX its aggressive exterior look leaves little room for windows. The effect is that the interior feels slightly claustrophobic, and visibility is compromised, too.
Other Cars to Consider
Acura RDX -- With a base price of just over $35,000 with shipping, the Acura is less expensive than the SRX. But we prefer the driving characteristics and refined interior of the Cadillac.
Audi Q5 -- The Audi's price is nearly the same with the SRX. But at each trim level, the SRX offers more for the money. The Q5's interior finish is hard to beat, but the Cadillac packs more advanced technology.
Lexus RX 350 -- The RX 350 makes a strong case as the vehicle that invented the class and continues to lead it. But with the sweet V6 and the innovative CUE system, the 2014 Cadillac SRX may now have what it takes to dethrone the Lexus.
If you're looking for a sporty crossover, we recommend the Performance model. It includes navigation and is eligible for a long list of extras, from the optional driver-assistance package to the rear entertainment system -- a must for family road trips. Our next choice is the Luxury model. One step down from the Performance trim, it includes helpful features such as a backup camera and front and rear parking sensors. Also, its power lift gate and memory seats are must-haves on a luxury crossover such as the SRX.