2012 Cadillac SRX

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Cadillac SRX. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Seating comfort
  • User-friendly controls
  • Handsome interior styling
  • Doesn't need premium gas

The Bad

  • Large blind spot
  • Mushy brakes
  • Some cheap interior trim

Notable Features of the 2012 Cadillac SRX

  • Newly standard 308-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 engine
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Available backup camera
  • Free scheduled maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles

2012 Cadillac SRX Road Test

Bill Jackson

The 2012 Cadillac SRX handles well and looks good, but I don't think it's good enough overall to command its price in the competitive luxury-SUV market.

To my eyes, styling is the SRX's strongest card. This SUV has always been the vehicle that best exemplified Cadillac's commitment to edgy, angular designs. Not even the CTS, which was the first to adopt this look, does it better than the SRX.

Highlights include the grille, which is just large enough to be commanding — not oversized. The profile view has a nice drop to the roofline, plus short overhangs between the wheels and the bumpers.

The rear is aggressive, with large exhaust pipes, tall taillamps and a decent-sized hatch. It's angular, chiseled and well-proportioned. In a field of lumpy, rounded blob-wagons, the SRX cuts its own course, and it's a good one.

Interior Style
The SRX's interior has the same commitment to angular surfaces as the exterior, and it looks cohesive throughout the cabin. Our test model came with an optional moonroof that covered two rows of seats, and that really brightened things up inside. 

The gauges also have a nice look to them. There's a "Christmas light" edging to the speedometer that blinks in unison with the turn signals. Other editors were completely turned off by this, but I thought it looked OK at night, at least. From there, things go downhill.

The center control panel is the lowest low for me. For starters, it looks like it was grafted ove...

The 2012 Cadillac SRX handles well and looks good, but I don't think it's good enough overall to command its price in the competitive luxury-SUV market.

To my eyes, styling is the SRX's strongest card. This SUV has always been the vehicle that best exemplified Cadillac's commitment to edgy, angular designs. Not even the CTS, which was the first to adopt this look, does it better than the SRX.

Highlights include the grille, which is just large enough to be commanding — not oversized. The profile view has a nice drop to the roofline, plus short overhangs between the wheels and the bumpers.

The rear is aggressive, with large exhaust pipes, tall taillamps and a decent-sized hatch. It's angular, chiseled and well-proportioned. In a field of lumpy, rounded blob-wagons, the SRX cuts its own course, and it's a good one.

Interior Style
The SRX's interior has the same commitment to angular surfaces as the exterior, and it looks cohesive throughout the cabin. Our test model came with an optional moonroof that covered two rows of seats, and that really brightened things up inside. 

The gauges also have a nice look to them. There's a "Christmas light" edging to the speedometer that blinks in unison with the turn signals. Other editors were completely turned off by this, but I thought it looked OK at night, at least. From there, things go downhill.

The center control panel is the lowest low for me. For starters, it looks like it was grafted over from any one of the Chevrolets I've driven lately, and that's bad for two reasons: First, if I'm spending more than $50,000 for a car (the as-tested price), I'd like something that, if not unique, at least looks upscale.

Second, of all the layouts out there, this is not the one Cadillac wanted to clone. It's extremely busy and counterintuitive, and there's no way to distinguish among all the buttons by feel, meaning you always have to look for which button to push. And why the rotary knobs are laid out the way they are is beyond me; one of the tuning knobs is close to the button that allows you to change between radio bands (FM, AM, XM), but it feels like it should be in the spot taken by the volume knob.  Other elements, including the exposed cupholders, the center storage bin and the pedals, don't really say "luxury" either. Another Cars.com editor said everything below elbow-level isn't great, and I can't disagree.  

Going & Stopping
The SRX has its performance ups and downs. For 2012, a 3.6-liter V-6 replaces the previous model year's 3.0-liter V-6. With 308 horsepower and 265 pounds-feet of torque, the engine made plenty of power moving away from stops and on the highway. (Compare the 2012 engine with the 2011 here).

The engine was let down a bit by the six-speed automatic transmission, which took too long to kick down a gear or two when I needed to pass. In low-speed maneuvers — such as parking lots — whether I was engaging Drive or Reverse, the SRX did not want to move until I gave it more gas than I have to give other cars. That's not what you want when you're trying to make delicate maneuvers in tight spaces. I kept feeling like the SRX might suddenly leap forward and into my neighbor's car. The transmission also moves into Reverse with a thud.

I also noticed harsh upshifts, particularly on the highway. It wasn't the harshest vehicle on the market, but I do think it's substandard for the luxury class and noticeable enough to call out.


New for 2012, the SRX has an Eco mode. According to Cadillac, the mode alters shift points for up to 1 mpg improved fuel economy in normal driving conditions. Eco works as advertised, delaying shifts to eke out more mileage. I used it only on the most vacant highways, though, because it made the transmission lag even worse.

The SRX's brakes do stop the car, but the pedal feel isn't great. There's a pronounced dead part of travel before the brakes start clamping down on anything, and when they do, they're numb. It's hard to feel when the brakes are grabbing and by how much. Panic stops also require a lot of leg extension, which is disconcerting.

Ride & Handling
Cadillac did a good job with the SRX's ride. It's firm enough that it doesn't wallow or give you a weird floating sensation when moving down the road. It also absorbs bumps and potholes well, especially considering our SRX came with optional 20-inch wheels (18-inch wheels are standard.)

Also, while the SRX isn't designed to be a sports car, it held the road well and was composed when charging up and down highway on-ramps, and while making quick direction changes in traffic. 

The SRX's steering also helps out in this regard. It responds quickly and without a lot of play when you turn the wheel, and the system isn't over-boosted so there's no feedback. It's not a chore to steer around parking lots, either. The steering is well-executed and really matches up to the suspension.

As I drove this car, I kept thinking that if Cadillac would just sort out the transmission quirks and spend some time on the brakes, with the SRX's impressive power and suspension, it would have something that really holds its own with the best in the class. 

Not only is the SRX a nice, manageable size, it feels manageable, too. Sometimes a car can feel like it's bigger than it really is, or it can feel cumbersome. The SRX, on the other hand, feels small and easy to park right from the get-go.


Seating & Visibility
The SRX seats five people and follows the common practice of having a large cargo area at the expense of backseat room. I didn't have enough legroom to sit behind a driver of my height (6-foot-1), and headroom felt cramped. Also, the rear seats don't slide forward and back, which might have solved the cargo-versus-passenger tradeoff.

Up front, there's a manually extending seat bottom that offers more support for your thighs. It works better than a lot of powered ones, and it's a nice touch for us longer-legged sorts. More cars should offer this feature.

Visibility to the sides and behind is poor because, as the roof slopes downward, the bottom sills of the rear windows slope up, making the rearmost window vestigial. This is more common these days among passenger cars, but it's a bit more of a hazard in the higher-riding SRX: Low-slung cars can creep in "below" you. You have to really make sure you have your mirrors set properly — more so than in other vehicles I've driven. It's a true blind spot.

Safety, Reliability & Mileage
The Cadillac SRX is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, meaning it received the top rating, Good, in front, side and rear crash tests, as well as a roof-strength test. For the roof-strength test, the roof must withstand the force of four times the vehicle's weight in a rollover.

The SRX also has antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, which is a required safety feature on all vehicles, beginning with the 2012 model year.  For a list of all the SRX's safety features, click here.

The Cadillac SRX is predicted to have average reliability. Mileage varies between two- and four-wheel-drive versions. With two-wheel drive, the SRX is rated 17/24 mpg city/highway. Four-wheel-drive models get 16/23 mpg. The flex-fuel SRX can also run on E85 ethanol, on which the two drivelines earn 12/18 mpg and 12/17 mpg, respectively.

The ratings don't sound great in the era of 40-mpg compact cars, but the SRX compares respectably with competitors such as the Acura MDX, the Lexus RX 350 and the Lincoln MKX, as you can see here.


SRX in the Market
Your enthusiasm for the SRX will likely come down to how much you like its looks. Our test car cost just over $51,000, and at that price there are other models out there that offer more luxury, more performance, or both, so the SRX's styling is its strongest attribute.

The SRX's problem is that, even after a prolonged test, there was nothing that made me love it to the point that I'd spend the money for it over, say, the related Chevrolet Equinox, let alone a non-GM competitor. The SRX needs to step up and stand out from the crowd more. Refining the brakes and transmission would be a great place to start.

Send Bill an email  



2012 SRX Video

Cars.com's Bill Jackson takes a look at the 2012 Cadillac SRX. It competes with the Acura MDX and Audi Q5.

Latest 2012 SRX Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Georgeous

by Dmm from HUNLOCK CREEK pa on August 26, 2018

The car is awesome, has all the bells and whistles. Georgeous shape, fairly priced recommend this vehicle to anyone looking for a luxury suv vehicle. Read full review

(5.0)

Smooth ride!

by Sidney T from Brighton, Colorado on July 28, 2018

Couldn't be happier with this purchae. It's a great looking SUV, very spacious and comfortable interior. It's definitely a smooth and quiet ride. It's a AWD so we just need to see if it handles just ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Cadillac SRX currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Cadillac SRX Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Cadillac
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Less than 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper (2012-2017 models)

  • Powertrain warranty

    6 years/100,000 miles (2012-2017 models)

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The SRX received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker