What started with the Lexus RX300 in the late 90s has turned into an exploding lineup of vehicles from every luxury brand. The premium crossover segment has grown at a fast pace, and with it come the challenges of what is defined as “luxury” in the 21st century. Cadillac entered the club in 2003 with the first generation SRX and did well, but the segment grew fast in the late 2000s and Caddy knew they needed a show-stopper to compete with the Audi Q5, Lexus RX350, Infiniti FX and Mercedes ML to name a few.
Welcome the refreshed for 2013 SRX. Introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model, it received a facelift this year along with a totally revamped interior. With one week behind the wheel with a Premium AWD model in Black Raven, we were able to see just how luxurious and capable the SRX was in handling the demands of daily life.
As of late, luxury has been synonymous with technology, and the 2013 SRX is loaded to the brim with the latest in safety, entertainment and connectivity. All SRX trim levels come standard with CUE (Cadillac User Experience), a system that features an 8″ touch-screen, proximity sensors and haptic feedback which means there’s a vibration under the finger wherever the screen is pressed.
Unfortunately, using something like a tablet while driving is illegal in many states. It falls under the same balloon as smartphones, laptops, etc. A more ideal system, albeit still distracting, would be a knob or controller of some sort with menus that are no more than 2 layers deep. A controller of some sort also helps to eliminate those unsightly fingerprints from the beautiful display too.
We found CUE to be laggy at times, though it didn’t always let us know via a “loading” symbol; we’d tap and tap and then eventually something would happen but then something else would happen because it registered all the following inputs as well. Cadillac has since issued an update to speed up the system and we’re hearing positive feedback about it.
Below the touch-screen are capacitive touch buttons that react to the energy of the human body. This means that they don’t work with gloves like an actual button would and they don’t always register like an actual button or knob would. The old saying “don’t fix what ain’t broken” comes to mind after experiencing this, but we commend the engineers and designers at Cadillac for coming up with something cool; it simply shouldn’t be in a vehicle though at this stage of the game.
One thoughtful feature behind CUE is an illuminated storage cubbie. A light tap on the chrome trim above the CD slot activates a motorized lift to hide personal items like a wallet to keep thieves away.
Original Definition of Luxury
Aside from CUE, the SRX is a true luxury vehicle through the extensive bling on the outside. The contrast of the black paint to the chrome grille, fenders, roof rails, 20″ wheels and exhaust outlets is stunning.
Our top level model came standard with high-intensity discharge headlights and adaptive lighting. Adaptive headlights communicate with steering wheel inputs and rotate the projector lens left or right to illuminate around corners, something you didn’t realize you need until you have it.
Parking sensors are located in the front and rear bumpers to aid in parking situations, and new for the 2013 SRX is rear cross-traffic alter. A back-up camera is also standard for a detailed reversing experience, and projects on the CUE display.
Keyless access with pushbutton start was standard on our model, a feature we’ve come to love on every modern vehicle that offers it. It’s another must-have that you begin to appreciate as “true luxury” over things like capacitive buttons.
Inside, more luxury fills the cabin. Beautiful soft touch and high quality materials cover every surface and the attention to detail is something we haven’t seen in a while from Cadillac. This is truly a well-crafted interior that deserves recognition where it’s due.
Look above and a panoramic roof that extends beyond the rear seat opens up the cabin to the limitless sky, but can quickly close it out with a powered moving sunshade if need be.
Heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats and a heated steering wheel all made our winter-time experience with the SRX a warm one.
While passengers cuddle in the warmth of heated hides inside, the SRX is doing so much on the outside to keep the vehicle in the driver’s control. The 3.6L V6 under the hood puts out 308 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic with a limited-slip differential at the rear to provide side-to-side torque in hard cornering.
Though we didn’t have the opportunity to test the hard cornering aspect of the system with all-season rubber on slippery roads, we can say the system was imperceptible when it was working. Accelerating up a hill from a stop was drama free and once again instilled confidence in the excellent drivetrain.
Fuel economy for the premium-drinking engine is rated by the EPA at 16 MPG in the city, 23 MPG on the highway, and we averaged about 21 MPG over the week of mixed driving. That’s actually impressive considering the several remote-starts initiated to warm up the cabin.
Local driving was a breeze thanks to the helpful driving and parking aids and good all around visibility. We were a bit surprised by the amount of force needed to apply the brakes though, almost as if Cadillac had brought back manual brakes, though it may have been an anomaly in our test vehicle.
Highway commuting was smooth, stable and quiet. Feedback from the suspension and steering is excellent and connects the driver to the road in a positive manner. Not on our tester but available on the SRX are features that make life even better, like adaptive cruise control and front/rear automatic braking. We’ve tested both systems on the Cadillac ATS and can confirm that they work and are well worth checking off on the options sheet as part of the Driver Awareness and Assist packages.
With the luxury crossover segment is hotter than it has ever been, the SRX is fighting an uphill battle. High quality materials, interior comfort and service after the sale are no longer what defines a luxury vehicle but remain key to the overall vehicle experience.
The 2013 SRX leads in luxury, refinement and comfort, and we’re interested to see the resilience to time and temperature fluctuations of the electrostatic switchgear. With a starting price of $37,330 and topping out at $58,220, the SRX is also a value in the crossover segment. It also comes standard with OnStar, a service that we highly recommend for everything from vehicle health reports, automatic accident notification and landline-quality calling for a small fee.
2013 Cadillac SRX Gallery