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Posted at 12:48 AM ET, 10/22/2011

The 2012 Cadillac SRX and the College Road Trip


Because my daughter has fallen in love with a specific college based in upstate New York, she decided that I needed to fall in love with it as well, so off we went. We took Cadillac’s two-row SRX SUV/crossover, and just looking at it, I could feel my testosterone increasing.

The 2012 SRX is a manly car. It looks like it’s designed with guys in mind, it’s got a 306 horsepower V-6 engine, and the way it drives requires the more masculine side of any driver. What does that mean? Let me count the ways:

The new engine, borrowed from the CTS sedan, is so good that Chevy decided to use a similar version in the Camaro. It has plenty of power even in a heavier crossover, and passing on the highway was never a problem. The SRX also had a generous, pleasing rawr when taking off. The seats were leather (heated and cooled, for that matter), but they were firm. Extremely firm. Way too firm for my wife, who took the 12-hour-each-way trip with my daughter and me. On short around-town runs, the seats weren’t an issue, but after half a day straight in them, no amount of adjusting could make her comfortable. The brakes required Herculean effort to stop the car. There was so much pedal travel before the braking effect kicked in, I felt like I was pumping iron with my legs. On the plus side, my calves are nicely toned now, thank you.


The transmission was as undecided as an Ohioan voter. When downshifting, especially at moderate speeds (say, 20 to 35 mph), there was a noticeable thunk from the all-wheel-drive SRX. When downshifting at highway speeds, the transmission seemed like it was trying to find the right gear at each and every moment, leading to all sorts of hiccups. Of all the issues I had with the SRX, this was clearly the most aggravating.

But not all was bad. For starters, I loved the look of the SRX, though aesthetics are a personal thing. Beyond that, plenty of features made the trip easier:

The SRX uses the same navigation system as’s Chevy Volt, a system with which I am very familiar and a big fan of, and the screen in the SRX is huge. Speaking of that big screen, the view from the backup camera can also be seen on it, and it has a clear, sharp image that made backing up easy in what is an overly angular — meaning hard to see out of — crossover. The SRX has a clever bar system in the cargo area that allows drivers to partition the area. You can slide the bar forward and trap your luggage (or groceries) in a defined area instead of letting them slide all over the back. If you have more stuff, you can move the bar toward the rear hatch. There’s a release button on each side, and it’s really easy to use. The panoramic sunroof blew my daughter away because it stretches all the way to the end of the second row. At dusk and through the evening hours, she enjoyed having the blind opened so that she could see the stars.

We drove about 1,300 miles on the trip and averaged about 22 mpg, which is very close to the 23 mpg highway rating, but much better than the 18 mpg combined figure, so I guess I can’t complain.

As for the college? I fell in love with it, too.


By  |  12:48 AM ET, 10/22/2011

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