Used Vehicle Review: Cadillac SRX, 2010-2015

Vehicle Type

Luxury Crossover

Owners commonly praise the stereo system, cabin styling, smooth and rev-happy 3- or 3.6-litre engines, and abundant flexible storage facilities inside.

History/Description

Since its launch for model year 2010, the second-generation Cadillac SRX has become a prominent part of the luxury crossover landscape in the Canadian marketplace. With advanced technologies, reasonable pricing, decent incentives and confidence from its available AWD and OnStar systems, the SRX sought to deliver luxurious peace of mind on any drive.

This five-seat crossover model competed with comparable models from BMW, Acura, Lexus and Infiniti, and featured high-end equipment fitting of a Cadillac. Look for an upgraded Bose stereo system, UltraView panoramic sunroof, motorized tailgate with memory height adjustment, climate-controlled seats and a heated steering wheel. Notably, SRX’s intelligent remote start system is integrated with the climate control, and climate-controlled seats, to ensure owners and their passengers are treated to a perfectly chilled or warmed cabin every time they set off. Xenon lights, rain-sensing wipers and active noise cancellation are also on board.

Look for premium wood, leather and aluminum trimmings throughout the SRX’s formal and tidy cabin, as well as piano gloss trim.

Engines/Trim

All models were powered by a V6 engine. Briefly, a Saab-sourced 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 was available, though it was cancelled after a year due to lousy sales numbers and other issues. A 3-litre V6 was offered early on, too. Due to documented failures of the 2.8-litre turbo engine if fueled with regular-grade gas, this powerplant is not advised. Thankfully, the vast majority of used SRX copies don’t have it.

From 2012, GM’s 3.6-litre V6 engine, direct injected for horsepower in the low-300 range, powered all models. Newer 3.6-litre units got revised manifolds and programming, reducing weight, improving breathing, and boosting fuel economy and power output slightly.

Look for an automatic transmission on all models. Many used SRXs will offer All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as well.

What Owners Like

Owners commonly praise the stereo system, cabin styling, smooth and rev-happy 3- or 3.6-litre engines, and abundant flexible storage facilities inside. The xenon lighting system is highly rated too. Seat comfort is also commonly listed as a positive with SRX owners. In all, most drivers report a strong feeling of comfort and confidence, regardless of the trip at hand.

What Owners Dislike

Typical gripes centre around a rear seat that’s cramped for three adults, and a harsh, noisy ride from earlier models with the available 20-inch wheels.

Here’s a look some owner reviews.

The Test Drive

Here’s a discussion on a Cadillac SRX owner’s forum, where numerous members advise a potential new SRX owner to opt for a 2012 or newer model, for the punchier 3.6 litre V6 engine. A 2013 unit is even more preferable, as Cadillac fitted their advanced new CUE infotainment system to the SRX that year. The discussion also recommends the Performance or Premium trim grade package, for the highly-desired xenon lighting system.

Numerous owners complain of squeaks from inside the SRX and out, with no solid cause or solution available. In some cases, squeaky suspension components can be remedied with lubrication, and larger squeaks can indicate a more serious issue, but some owners simply accept the squeaking as part of the SRX driving experience as the vehicle ages. Here’s some more reading.

Confirm proper operation of the motorized tailgate, if equipped. At the touch of a button, it should unlatch and open. Another touch should close it and latch it shut. Failure to operate as expected is most likely the result of a weak battery, which is an easy fix. Sensors and liftgate hinge adjustments can be investigated if a weak battery isn’t the culprit. Here’s some more info.

Check front-seat carpeting for signs of mould or moisture, from the front footwell area right up to the firewall. Wet carpeting in a used SRX will typically come from one of two areas, which should be investigated.

The first is the sunroof drainage system, which can overflow into the vehicle if the drain tubes are clogged with debris and dirt, or leak water behind the SRX’s glovebox if the drain tubes become disconnected internally. Clogged sunroof drain tubes can often be cleared with a blast of compressed air, or by fishing a piece of weed-whacker wire through. Internally damaged or disconnected drain tubes are considerably more difficult to fix, and often require removal of interior panels to access.
A clogged AC condenser drain may also cause water to leak into the front footwell area. In any case, if the SRX you’re considering is suffering from soggy carpets, be sure to determine why.

Test drivers are also advised to run all interior electronics through their paces, to confirm that neither of the SRX’s xenon lights (if equipped) are burnt out, and to inspect the headlights closely, noting any evidence of excessive condensation inside of the headlight housing, which could affect lighting system performance and durability.

A final note: most shoppers seem largely satisfied and report minimal issues with their newer SRX models; the majority of larger issues reported within several owners forums relate to earlier SRX models from this generation, most notably for model years 2010 and 2011. Many of these issues centre around the older-generation engines.

Though the occurrences of GM V6 engines turning their timing chains into shrapnel seem to be reduced considerably thanks to updates and fixes, some owners have still reported timing chain failure in newer models. Major engine failure as a result of these timing chain issues seems rare in this generation SRX, but shoppers set on one are still advised to use extreme caution, and protect themselves with any extended warranty available. Ask a Cadillac dealer to scan the engine computer for trouble codes which could indicate problems with the timing chain and associated hardware, just to be safe.

The Verdict

For maximum confidence, seek out a 2012 or newer SRX, obtain a mechanical and electronics-systems thumbs-up from a mechanic, and opt for any extended powertrain warranty that may be available.

Here’s some additional reading.

A healthy list of recalls.

Crash Test Ratings

IIHS: Top Safety Pick (2013)
NHTSA: 5/5 stars

Since its launch for model year 2010, the second-generation Cadillac SRX has become a prominent part of the luxury crossover landscape in... 1/7/2016 11:28:14 AM