Cadillac. For decades, the name alone has been synonymous with quality and luxury in automobiles. From the Coupe de Ville and Sedan de Ville all the way up to the sporty, yet somewhat unsuccessful, Allante, this has been a brand that has experienced astronomical achievements and weathered harsh storms. But nothing that the name hasendured has managed to overtake it, or even come close to eradicating the legacy it promises to leave the world.
For years Cadillac was associated with automobiles alone, and mostly large ones with every imaginable extra. When one even thought of the name they could visualize the sleek coupe that made luxury two-doors popular, regardless of their size.
The very mention of one of these cars sparked daydreams of the massive sedans, loaded with options such as leather seats, wood trim, and top of the line audio equipment. Nothing changed, except for the times, and with them, Cadillac had to roll with the punches.
Out of its Comfort Zone
So, in 1999, with the dawn of a brand new century peaking its glowing nose over the horizon, Cadillac stepped out of its comfort zone. They had tried it before whent they attempted the release of the Allante sports car, but the public simply couldn’t embrace it.
This time it would be different, because instead of going smaller, they would turn the tables and get even larger. The release of the Escalade in 1999 basically ushered in a new era for the iconic company, and from there Cadillac was able to really stretch its legs.
Four years later, in 2003, Cadillac released the SRX. It was an SUV, but it wasn’t as large as the Silverado-challenging Escalade. It was big, but only a little big, if that were possible. Today we tend to call vehicles of this size ‘crossovers’, meaning it is right between a station wagon and large SUV. Yes, the SRX was on the large side, but somehow it was still…right in the middle. Yes, that’s it…it’s a mid-sized luxury crossover.
The First Model Released
The first was released in 2003 for the 2004 model year, and Cadillac produced the SRX until 2016, through two generations. Each year saw slight changes, as every car make and model does, but through it all the SRX continued to boast quality while it provided luxury to drivers and their passengers at a fairly affordable price.
And they were able to get all of this under the Cadillac brand. It’s a deal that many believe simply cannot be beat. It should be noted that, while the SRX has been nominated for, and won, many awards for its class, it also had many issues from 2005 through 2008 with safety and faulty mechanics.
Consumers complained on what seemed like an incessant basis about lights and/or instruments that didn’t work properly, poor vision due to rear window size or bad mirror placement, and a high rate of driver and passenger deaths in this particular model.
Complaints Were Rectified
While Cadillac was swift to rectify and all such complaints and situations, those considering purchase should always be conscientious regarding doing a double check of the vehicle they are considering to make sure it hasn’t missed any required recalls. Checking on optional ones is a wise idea too. Overall, the SRX is now a safe vehicle to drive, and is just as luxurious and dependable as any Cadillac has ever been.
So, let’s get a little more familiar with the Cadillac SRX in as many aspects as we can. From its release to its discontinuation in 2016, we will cover the very best of the model, each a different year, for a total of ten models in all. They are listed below, from ten to one, with one being the best of the best.
Whether you are reading this to indulge a curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, or you are considering the purchase of used SRX and want to narrow down your options in order to get the most out of your money, the information below should do the trick well. So, read on and discover…
Here are our Picks for The 10 Best Cadillac SRX Models of All-Time
10. 2009 Cadillac SRX
With an overall expert rating of 8 points by Car Connection, the 2009 SRX makes our list, coming in at number ten. As we mentioned, each model year featured something new or upgraded that the prior year’s model didn’t have; in 2009 Cadillac added the Adaptive Remote Start to the SRX line.
Buyers of the new SRX had the option of a V6 or V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission that provided them with 255 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque (V6) at the minimum. The gas mileage brought in some complaints however, as it only got 14mpg in the city and 22mpg on the highway (and even less with the V8).
Since consumers paid an MSRP that fell between $40,460 and $47,460, the complaints were understandable. The third-row seating was also a vexing feature, according to consumer reviews. But it was roomy, comfortable, and it was a Cadillac with lots of options. Not the best seller of them all, but a good one, nonetheless.
9. 2008 Cadillac SRX
With the exception of the remote start option, the 2008 was much like the ’09, which is why it comes in next on our list. Very similar in most every aspect, from the engine options to the gas mileage, the 2008 only differed from prior model years in one area: Its steering wheel had a new three-spoke design that its predecessors didn’t have.
The third row of seats was still a complaint, but it still sold, which we attribute to the Cadillac name and the fact that the SUV models’ novelty had yet to wear off. MSRP on the ’08 was between $38,105 and $45,105.
8. 2012 Cadillac SRX
Let’s hop up a few years and get a peep at what the future had to offer with this model. This particular year’s model was now part of the second SRX generation, so there were some changes.
In 2012, besides the differing body style, which had been changing anyway over time, there were a few features that were either new or upgraded. A V6 with E85 Flex-Fuel capability was offered in the place of the turbo V6, and Xenon Blue paint with Ebony interior was added to color options.
The Eco feature was also added to the six-speed automatic transmission to assist with better fuel economy, and the heated steering wheel became available as well. Also, Bluetooth capability was made standard on the model that year.
The new V6 gave 308hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, and the improved gas mileage came in at 16/23, city/highway. All of the for an MSRP of approximately $35,985, which was not bad for a model year that won three ‘Best Car’ awards from US News.
7. 2006 Cadillac SRX
By 2006 the SRX had only been out for two prior model years, so changes were slight. This particular year saw the addition of standard satellite radio, and the power tailgate became a standard option also. It sported new wood trim on the interior’s center stack, and the ride height was a bit lower than in previous years.
The 2006 also boasted new wheel designs. The MSRP ranged between $36,270 and $44,270, which was a bit high, in our opinion, considering the MSRP in 2012. With that being said, it came in either a V6 or V8 with a five-speed automatic tranny. Drivers were given 255hp with 254 lb-ft of torque, which is all fairly run-of-the-mill for this model so far.
But the gas mileage! The 2006 SRX only got between 13 and 15 mpg in the city and 20 and 21 on the highway! Regardless, it was classy and comfortable, and…well, it WAS a Cadillac.
6. 2007 Cadillac SRX
So, let’s see how the model fared the next model year. Improvements made in 2007 included a new console, a switch to the Bose audio system with Bose surround sound, and the V8 got a six-speed automatic transmission. A theater package was added that included rear seat entertainment with surround sound, and navigation capabilities.
Inflatable Restraint Suppression was added on the passenger side, automatic odor filtration was installed, and the SRX began to offer a sport package that included limited slip differential, 20-inch wheels, and all-wheel-drive.
Most all the rest remained the same, including the sadly-lacking gas mileage, but that was easy to ignore for what your found yourself wrapped in while cruising up the road. With an MSRP ranging between $37,225 and $43,430, the 2007 comes in at number six on the way to #1.
5. 2011 Cadillac SRX
The 2011 is the second SRX we have on the list from the 2nd SRX generation, which actually began in 2010. In 2011, the vehicle underwent additions and upgrades in the areas of safety and maintenance, including the Premium Care Maintenance Program membership, which came standard, and the addition of a backup camera for the rear of the vehicle.
Those who purchased the Performance or Luxury models got keyless entry as a standard feature, and Cadillac discontinued the turbo-charged V6 engine that same year due to sales on that version coming in at less than 10%. The only engine option for the SRX that remained was the 3.0 V6, which had an MSRP of between $41,540 and $48,855.
Except for the added features listed above, the performance specs remained pretty much the same as in the 2012 model, with the gas mileage running approximately 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. This was one of the more popular years for the SRX, with the exception of the discontinuation of turbo features.
4. 2005 Cadillac SRX
This V6 came with all-wheel-drive, making it a popular choice. In 2005, the SRX started out at approximately $59,180, which may sound high, but when you considered the additions, upgrades, and standard features it was something of a bargain.
For this model year, chrome accents were added to the gauges on the dash, and a towing package became optional for V6 and V8 models, with a higher towing capacity of 4,250 lbs. (1928 kg). Those equipped with the V6 put out 255 horses, and it provided a combined mileage of 17mpg, which, of course, is a bit lower than we would all like.
But it seems that the issue with gas mileage is fairly commonplace for Cadillac, and if one could afford to buy a Cadillac, he or she likely didn’t worry as much about the mileage as the common Joe or Jane. Other than that, it was a good year and a good seller, with everything else being smooth with the vehicle.
3. 2010 Cadillac SRX
This was the first year of the second generation, which was based on the Provoq, a Cadillac concept SUV. The V8 was dropped for the 2nd generation of SRX models. When this vehicle went on sale to the public it had a starting MSRP of $34,155. That was also the same year that buyers could choose between the V6 or turbo V6 in place of the V8.
With 265 hp minimum coming from the engine, you would think you might be giving up some mileage, but that wasn’t the case. Owners could pleasantly expect 18/25, city/highway, which was far better than what the SRX had been able to claim for any model year prior. All things considered, this was one of the best model years for Cadillac at the time, and sales even picked up a bit for this model during that sales year.
2. 2004 Cadillac SRX
This one was the daddy of them all. With 2004 being the first year of production for this model, the public was likely taken aback a bit with its release, but the fact is that it was top-notch for the times.
However, the next few years coming would bring some bad news for Cadillac: for 2005-2008 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety would find this model to be the worst vehicle in its class when it came to driver fatalities, and during those years Cadillac would have to run as fast as they could to keep up with the long string of complaints regarding vehicle defects.
With that aside, 2004 was a fairly carefree year for the model. The SRX started out at $37,995, and the standard model featured all the options that could be expected from Cadillac. In fact, that model year was nominated North American Truck of the Year, and it won under Car and Driver’s Best Trucks’ luxury category.
1. 2015 Cadillac SRX
And finally, our number one choice for the best Cadillac SRX of all-time! For this honor we have chosen the model year 2015, and that for several reasons. First of all, by the 2015 model year Cadillac had basically put a kibosh on the issues the line had suffered over the prior eleven years, so they were much safer.
Also, this particular year was only a single model year before Cadillac opted to discontinue the line, so some things were available that drivers really wanted and needed. For instance, a 4G LTE connection capability was added to the car for cellular users, which is necessary nowadays, and hotspot capability was included in that as well.
Majestic Plum and Cocoa Bronze were added to the list of colors, as well. While those were really the only additions, this second generation SRX stayed true to its basic roots in all other ways. It was luxurious, dependable, and, most of all, safe. Sales had really began to slump for the SRX, but it offered better gas mileage than its lifetime average, with 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The V6 offered 308 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. The ’16 model year stayed very consistent to this, performance-wise, and additions and upgrades the following year were minimal, consisting of only the removal of one color option. Since the model was going the final stretch, the 2015 was the best SRX year ever, having all it needed, and giving it all to us. It was a bittersweet ending for the vehicle, but the 2015 SRX was as good as it was ever going to get.
In many ways, the story of the Cadillac SRX is a sad one. An iconic luxury car company steps out of its comfort zone and designs and manufactures a surprise…an SUV.
While its life and death were not as quick and bemoaned as the doomed Allante, the SRX had many things working against it from the start, but it raised its head in the face of adversity to give the public twelve solid years of Cadillac luxury and comfort in the form of a sports utility vehicle.
Boxy in the beginning, but sleek and sexy in the end, the SRX, especially in its latter years, was a good idea. Maybe Cadillac was in too much of a hurry to compete with Lexus and Mercedes with this one, but they tried.
And we have to say, that’s all any of us can do.
You can also read:
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith