2013 Cadillac a cruiser for all kinds

Will the razor-edge styling and CUE technology make the 2013 Cadillac SRX a winning crossover?



By (George Kuruvilla)

Published: Mon 16 Dec 2013, 6:03 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 3:01 AM

Over the past year, we’ve reviewed several crossover vehicles from all corners of the world. This time we review one from the blue, white and red corner — the 2013 Cadillac SRX — one of the brand’s highest selling vehicles since 2010. We had the opportunity to get behind the wheel and take it for a spin. Here below is our no-holds barred disclosure on the owner’s experience of the SRX.

DESIGN & AESTHETICS

The SRX had gone in for a model overhaul in 2009. Its predecessor was in fact a full-fledged 7-seater with the option of a V8 motor. However, this one is a more city-friendly 5-seater with tighter dimensions and a V6.
From a glance, the SRX looks like a cute crystal-like box on wheels, but the real figures tell a slightly different story. The 4,834 mm length is almost full-size sedan, 1,919 mm wide — again, much like a full-size sedan — and 1,669 mm tall, matching some SUVs, almost.

Cadillac’s contemporary design philosophy called ‘Art and Science’ has taken on sharp creases and wedged shapes very seriously. They seem to have a thing for the jagged edge.

The 2013 SRX gets new upper and lower grille designs embellished with chrome and a new front fender, flanked by vertically stacked headlamps with HIDs upfront and fin-shaped vertical tail lamps at the rear — which are a throwback to its fore fathers.

An interesting fact is that those tail fins that Cadillacs of yore were famous for were inspired by the twin rudders of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter aricraft. Both headlamp bezels get LED light pipes that play as daytime running lights and as illumination.

There is no story without chrome accents in an American car; you have long side vents and dual exhaust tips painted in chrome finish and also a chrome strip encompassing the windows. And it doesn’t end there; atop the roof there are chrome rails to rope in extra luggage, some camping gear or a surfboard.

The base model comes with 18-inch machined aluminium wheels which take away some of the glamour of the SRX; the better models get more appropriately fitting chrome and polished aluminium 20-inch wheels.
They could offer more imaginative wheel design options though. There is a range of nine very complex sounding shades of exterior paints to choose from. You wouldn’t go wrong with any of them.The SRX without doubt has striking looks in the company of crossovers and it could well be its trump card.

The inner dwellings of the SRX share a fair bit of chic too. Besides the supple leather upholstery crafted together with French stitching and the continuation of the jagged-edged theme, you have a good mix of satin-finish aluminium trims and glossy black finishes adding to the drama.

Both the blue-lit instrument panel and the centre console have been redesigned to incorporate the CUE system. CUE or Cadillac’s User Experience is a new age interface with a control panel with haptic feedback that sends minimal vibrations to the finger that operates the many features. Like other manufacturers, Cadillac plans to displace hard buttons and knobs completely with this system. According to us, the technology is not quite there yet, especially if you are used to iPhones and Android phones.

Besides lacking touch sensitivity, it is not as user-friendly as you expect. Things like resetting the odometer might require you to pull out the handbook. However, you do get an 8-inch LCD display that has a proximity sensor that can sense your hands. It has also adopted gestures like pinch and swipe from those smartphones we talked about.

The steering wheel is a peculiar 4-spoke variety with an almost 3-spoke design and it comes with steering controls. We like the leather that surrounds it and the way it fills your palms. Eight-way power adjustability for both the driver and front passenger ensure some fit-to-build qualities for the SRX. And for the many drivers in the house, it comes with a seat memory option.

For the extra sporty feel, you have aluminum alloy pedals and to cut down the clutter, Cadillac has employed a new electronic parking brake.

The rear cabin is meant for three adults but, to be honest, it’s going to be a bit of squeeze trying to close the door on a trio of grown men or women.

Kids are fine back there though. The car also came with an ultra view power sunroof, which is basically a double sunroof with only one being operable.

POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE

Motivating this crossover is an all-aluminium 3.6-litre V6 with direct injection technology. In fact, Cadillac was amongst the pioneers of this technology — the art of spraying gasoline into a pressurised combustion chamber, like in a diesel engine. Mated to the 6-cylinder is a 6-speed automatic, a 6T70 Hydramatic. But if a technology race is important, the Lexus wins with its 8-speed auto on the RX 350 F-Sport, but really you don’t need more than six cogs in the box. You do get a tap up/down shifter but this is not a car that flaunts its sporting credentials, so we hardly expect them to be used.

What is surprising for a crossover is that the engine is rev-happy and it will sing an exhaust note all the way to 7,200 rpm. The 308 horses it makes at 6,800 rpm and the 383 Nm of peak torque help it rush to 100 km/h in a little over 7 seconds. And mind you this is no straw weight SUV. The AWD version needs all 300-strong to help it haul that 2,015 kg weight to swift speeds.

The top-spec models get all-around independent suspension with a MacPherson strut setup. This geometry combines with torque vectoring Haldex all-wheel drive system to give some decent ‘handles’, as a basketball player would say. It offers generous traction around corners and encourages some cut-and-thrust driving. The ride quality stays compliant without disappointment too. The SRX provides a good compromise of road manners.

The SRX does encourage some spirited driving and equally important is the braking performance. Pulling the chain on speed in the SRX are 2-piston 345mm and single-piston 315mm disc rotors on the hind side.
Within city limits, when there is traffic to negotiate and traffic lights to obey, the SRX is claimed to achieve 14.7l/100km and when you are cruising on the highways, 10.2 is the figure you are looking to match.

These are not frugal by a long shot. But there is a 79-litre tank to ensure some range. The cheaper front-wheel drive models improve upon those numbers by a little and are rated at 13.8l/100km for the city and 9.8 for the highway.

FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY

The premium model gets tri-zone air-conditioning while the rest get a dual-zone variety. I should say that even with the leather interior the cabin was quite comfortable. But it is preferred not to leave it out baking under the sun.

Audiophiles get to listen to their favourite tunes via the 8-speaker Bose system. The sound quality is crisp and loud but that goes without saying — its reputation precedes it. There is a Bose active noise cancellation feature to rid sounds within the cabin. The CUE system can hook up up to 10 Bluetooth devices, USB drives, SD card slots and mp3 players. It also gives you controls to the navigation system and HVAC controls.

There is a fair bit of luggage space in the SRX. You can open up the power tailgate — which, by the way, can be stopped mid-way and even permanently set at that height for shorter users.

Luggage space is rated at 844-litre and if you choose to drop down the second row, the space doubles to a 1,730-litre capacity.

The SRX isn’t exactly a power horse that can haul yachts around, but a trailer with a weight of 1,587 kg it can manage.

Cadillac has been pushing the envelope in terms of active and passive safety features for American cars and that kind of culture must be encouraged within automakers to cater to the growing driving community and to counter harsh weather conditions and foggy mornings.

Besides the regular parking sensors and the rear view camera — which, by the way, give you a good shot of the back — the car also comes with a forward collision system that beeps and brakes for you, if necessary; there is also a lane departure warning side and blind zone alert to keep you from entering personal road space.

You also get an-almost funky cross traffic alert that vibrates seat bottoms if there is a car or person in your way while you reverse. Adaptive cruise control has also been accounted for, especially for those who do the Dubai-Abu Dhabi commute on weekdays.
The rear seat entertainment system gets new headphones to go along with the displays to which you can hook up your DVD player or gaming systems.


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