2012 Cadillac SRX: More power, new features

Written by Arv Voss

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{fptext The latest SRX iteration comes with no major or wholesale visual changes, but rather focuses on efficiency and refined performance.}

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Headlining the list of significant updates for the new 2012 Cadillac SRX 5-passenger SUV is what will now be the sole engine offering in the U.S. marketplace. The new 3.6-liter V6 cranks out 308 horsepower at 6,800 rpm while generating 265 pound feet of torque at 2,400 rpm. In terms of its appearance, this latest SRX iteration comes with no major or wholesale visual changes, but rather focuses on efficiency and refined performance with a host of feature and content enhancements. This includes standard Bluetooth phone connectivity with on-screen caller identification; OnStar Turn-by-Turn automated directions; improved voice recognition for phone activation, navigation and radio station changes; a heated steering wheel; cruise control buttons on the steering wheel; a new machined-face finish on the optional 20” wheels; a new available all-ebony interior trim; and one new exterior color dubbed Xenon Blue Metallic.

Other SRX updates that render it quieter and more refined include new sound-absorbing material strategically located throughout the vehicle. The Base and Sport suspension systems have been revised as well to improve the ride quality. Features that will return for 2012 include a moveable, reconfigurable and removable cargo fence along with a large under-floor storage space in the rear; a liftgate that may be programmed to stop at various heights; and the UltraView sunroof that covers 70% of the roof surfacing.

The 2012 Cadillac SRX will be available in four levels of trim Collections: Base; Performance; Premium; and Luxury. There are also four suspensions to choose from depending upon trim level and drive configuration (FWD or AWD). The AWD system transfers torque front-to-rear as well as laterally on the rear axle for improved traction and control on slippery surfaces, along with more responsive handling on dry pavement. The AWD model is expected to account for 30% of sales.

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Standard interior enhancements include: 8-way memory seats with a manual thigh extension; tilt/telescopic steering column; adjustable pedals; a sliding center armrest; double tier door storage pockets; a two tier console storage box; rear under floor storage compartment; a two position cargo shade; and an on-board inflator kit. Optionally available is a rear seat entertainment system; heated and vented rear seats, and a pet/cargo restraint system net that may be affixed in two locations.

My primary test Cadillac SRX was FWD pre-volume production model in Luxury trim. The base price amounted to $40,590 while options and delivery charges elevated the final total to $42,685. The exterior sported a Mocha Steel metallic finish, while the interior was done in a two-tone Mocha and Ivory treatment.

The 2012 styling still reflects a dramatic and bold look that appears to be timeless and that still delivers a “Fun-to-Drive” quality, which has been measurably enhanced and improved, making it even more responsive and fun.

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The added horsepower is a definite plus and the handling characteristics seem to be even better as well. The ride quality will vary depending upon the drive configuration and trim collection package that is chosen, but all levels deliver a planted, and comfortable experience. The SRX’s four-wheel independent suspension system coupled with the standard rack-and-pinion hydraulic steering system that provides variable-effort, speed-sensitive steering– with tuning biased for sport sedan-style driving delivers a strong on-center feel. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard and works well with the standard four-wheel-disc/four-channel-ABS braking system.

Cadillac is truly ground in the battle for dominance in the luxury market class, with the midsize SRX 5-passenger CUV being only one of several strong players in a stable full of attractive and capable sport performance vehicles. And…If bigger is better for you, there’s always the Escalade, which includes a hybrid model. In the meantime, the new SRX, which is built in Mexico, is one fine luxury utility vehicle.