All photos by Cadillac
I was looking forward to testing the 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection model for many different reasons. One reason was that I have seen these Cadillac Luxury Crossovers on the road and I liked the styling but had never driven one before. Another reason is that I wondered whether this Cadillac handled as good as it looks, so my curiosity was peaking. After a week behind the wheel, I have some strong feelings about this offering from Cadillac and I suppose there are thousands out there who share my observations.
The 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection has plenty of bling and sleek styling for a combination that flows well together. Some of the SRX's exterior features include a multi-piece shield grille, Cadillac's huge iconic vertical headlamps with light pipe technology, and available adaptive forward lighting technology that turns the lamps in the direction of the front wheels. The wide stance of the SRX with minimal overhangs coupled with the wheels pushed to the corners equates to a chiseled look similar to the exterior of the SRX crossover. Our black ice metallic test model boasted 20 inch premium bright aluminum painted wheels, which are standard on the Premium Collection SRXs. From just about every angle one can see that this is a Cadillac and a good looking Cadillac at that!
As sweet as the exterior represents the 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection, the interior is fabulous, filled with technology and comfort. A signature example of the SRX’s attention to detail is the Cadillac script logos in the front door sill plates that illuminate when the doors are opened. Our test model was loaded with the following: rear seat audio controls, an audio system with navigation single CD/DVD player, an awesome Bose audio system sporting a 10 speaker 5.1 surround sound effect, 8 inch touch screen and 40GB hard drive, AUX jack and USB port, Bluetooth for phone, leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, heated steering wheel, cruise control, adjustable pedals, driver and front passenger heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats, remote vehicle start, EZ key passive entry system, the venerable OnStar, rain sense wipers, sapele wood-trimmed interior, ultraview power moonroof, tri zone climate control, heated outside mirrors, power folding drivers mirror, power programmable liftgate, XM radio and universal home remote. If that wasn't enough, there was also a rear vision camera system and a dual screen entertainment system with DVD player and headphones. The 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection was clearly designed with the driver in mind and I really appreciated the attention to detail and the feeling that there was plenty of space inside combined with the feeling that I was driving a performance sedan simultaneously with absolutely no wind noise.
The driving capabilities are where the 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection goes from great to tremendous. According to Cadillac, "A new, larger and more powerful 3.6L direct-injected V-6 – known by its “LFX” engine code – is the new and sole engine for the SRX. It delivers an SAE-certified 308 horsepower (230 kW) and 265 lb.-ft. of torque (359 Nm). The LFX is a 60-degree design, with the cylinder block and cylinder heads cast in aluminum for low weight. A forged steel crankshaft provides optimal strength in the bottom end, while the cylinder heads include four valves per cylinder, with a dual overhead camshaft design incorporating infinitely variable cam phasing. Additionally, optimized-flow fuel injectors and the integrated exhaust manifolds/cylinder heads promote lower emissions. The LFX’s composite intake manifold also has a comparatively small radiated surface area to help it maintain excellent noise and vibration characteristics. The Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission is matched with the LFX engine and features the driver-selectable Eco feature for enhanced fuel economy. The available all-wheel-drive system incorporates an electronic limited-slip rear differential, which not only improves traction in slippery road conditions, but provides side-to-side torque transfer along the rear axle to enhance control during hard cornering."
For us, that translates into a high performance luxury crossover that emphasizes performance as much as it does styling. Fuel efficiency was sufficient at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on highway driving. When I pressed the engine there was a humming sound not normally associated with luxury vehicles but more common in sport sedans. Considering the tight handling from the sport suspension system and the superb power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, the active 308 horsepower engine fit right in.
Since I had not driven a 2012 Cadillac SRX before our review, I was looking forward to the time behind the wheel of this vehicle. After a week enjoying the newness of the SRX, I was really impressed with the direction Cadillac is going with this offering. The luxury/performance crossover market is highly competitive and at a sticker price of $51,550 for our test model, that is serious coin to pony up. But for those looking for the total package in a luxury crossover, they probably found it in the 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection, as it satisfies just about everything one desires in a premium crossover. I feel the SRX is clearly Cadillac's most fruitful attempt at capturing a significant share of the young professional market with its distinctive styling, impeccable interior cabin loaded with technology, and the superior handling that makes one smile behind the wheel.
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