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2017 Cadillac XT5 vs. 2016 Cadillac SRX: What's the Difference?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by James Riswick August 2016

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 replaces the 2016 Cadillac SRX, but there's a lot more to it than just a new name. Redesigned from the ground up, the XT5 is more efficient, luxurious and stylish. The SRX was popular, but it fell short of its rivals; Cadillac's newly reminted compact luxury SUV is an entirely more competitive choice.

Let's take a look at the changes to help you decide if you'd prefer to be an XT5 early adopter or an SRX deal-finder.

2017 Cadillac XT52016 Cadillac SRX

Exterior

For a bit of a history lesson, the SRX was essentially a rebodied version of the extremely short-lived Saab 9-4X. As a result, its design was a bit muddled and visually challenged in certain areas, such as its pronounced cow-catcher front end.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is its own creature from the ground up, and as a result, it's a more cohesive and handsome effort -- it looks more like an actual Cadillac now. In front, the grille is bigger and bolder, while the headlights are smaller, sleeker and accented by Cadillac's signature LED lighting, which extends down along the front fender. The overall impression is of a more premium vehicle, in keeping with its Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW and Lexus competition.

2017 Cadillac XT52016 Cadillac SRX

Interior

The new XT5 cabin is more functional and higher-quality than its predecessor. Only the SRX's dash and door tops were covered in stitched faux leather, while the XT5 has it (or the real stuff) on virtually every cabin surface. The SRX's waterfall center stack of piano-black plastic interrupted by fussy touch-operated buttons has thankfully been replaced by a classier setup with improved controls. The climate system, for instance, now has actual buttons beneath a black glossy surface that provides feedback while maintaining a sleek look. The haptic feedback vibration and the clunk noise that greets every press in the SRX have also been eliminated, as has the abundance of metallic trim that reflects the sun into your eyes.

Unfortunately, the sun now creates excessive glare on the standard Cadillac User Interface touchscreen, but on the upside, the system itself is far better to use. It's been simplified and responds far more quickly to inputs. Really, the interior controls alone could be reason to get an XT5 instead of an SRX.

Functionally, the XT5's center console has been upgraded to include additional bins (including one specifically designed to secure and charge a smartphone) and a large under-console storage area. There is also marginally more maximum cargo space (63 cu ft. versus 61), but space with the sliding and reclining back seat remains the same at 30 cu ft. With either Cadillac, though, you're getting one of the most cargo-friendly SUVs in the segment.

In terms of passenger space, the XT5 gains an additional 3.2 inches of rear legroom. Unfortunately, rear headroom continues to be a problem, as the panoramic sunroofs found on all but the base models of both SRX and XT5 reduce headroom to the point that taller occupants will have to slouch. Most competitors are better in this regard, including similarly priced compact models such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3, as well as pricier options that Cadillac also considers its competition, including the Lexus RX.

2017 Cadillac XT52016 Cadillac SRX

Mechanicals

On paper, the XT5 and SRX might not seem that different under the hood. Both have 3.6-liter V6 engines, with the SRX's producing 308 horsepower and the XT5's producing 310. However, the new XT5's engine is equally new, boasting improved fuel economy courtesy of myriad improvements that include cylinder deactivation and automatic stop/start systems. Because of changes made to the way the Environmental Protection Agency measures fuel economy, the XT5 is actually even more efficient than the estimates would indicate: 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive versus the SRX's 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.

Another reason for this improvement is the nearly 300-pound difference in weight between the XT5 and the heavier SRX. That's like removing a refrigerator from the trunk. As a result, the XT5's performance has improved as well. At the same time, the XT5 still weighs considerably more than key competitors from Mercedes and BMW.

2017 Cadillac XT52016 Cadillac SRX

Features & Technology

Available feature content really isn't that different between SRX and XT5. Key additions for the 2017 XT5 include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality as well as wireless smartphone charging, while a rearview camera and a power lift gate were previously optional but now come standard. Of course, pricing for the XT5 does start about $2,000 higher than the SRX. Newly available equipment includes LED headlights and a camera-based rearview mirror function. The available forward-collision warning and prevention system can now detect pedestrians, while the lane-departure system not only warns you when you drift out of the lane but also steers you back in.

2017 Cadillac XT52016 Cadillac SRX

Driving Experience

Neither the XT5 nor the SRX are among the sportiest compact luxury SUVs, nor do they supply the sort of supple ride quality one used to expect from Cadillac. This is especially true when equipped with the 20-inch wheels. However, the available adaptive suspensions on both SRX and XT5 help reduce body motions around corners and on highway bumps. It's an option we recommend. Really, the biggest difference between the two models is just how quiet the newer Cadillac is. Not that the SRX was loud, but the new model is positively serene.

2017 Cadillac XT52016 Cadillac SRX

Safety

Despite being on the market for 7 years, the Cadillac SRX nevertheless received a 5-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and received the best-possible rating of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its performance in the moderate overlap, side and roof-strength tests. Its optional front-crash prevention system was also given a rating of Superior.

As such, a basic XT5 shouldn't represent a substantial safety improvement over the SRX. If you're interested in some of its available safety systems, though, the XT5 does have a few extra features such as lane-keeping automatic steering and pedestrian detection.

Conclusions

Hands down, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a better vehicle than the SRX it replaces. There really isn't an area beyond its lower price where the older model stands out, and even then, you can easily make the case that Cadillac's new compact luxury SUV should cost more due to significant improvements and a more upscale character.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Cadillac XT5 vs. 2016 Cadillac SRX: What's the Difference? - Autotrader