2014 Cadillac SRX

With a distinctive exterior and plush cabin, the SRX midsize luxury crossover has been instrumental in Cadillac's campaign to bring younger buyers into its showrooms. First introduced in 2010, the current SRX has since been updated with a more powerful V6 and a high-tech, smartphone-inspired CUE infotainment system.

Crisp lines and sharp edges - part of the brand's "Art & Science" design language - help the SRX stand out from the competition. Small, vertical taillights recall the tailfins of vintage Cadillacs, while a wide, finely-detailed grille distinguishes the front end. Viewed from the side, the SRX's front overhang can appear almost awkwardly elongated, but in most other respects the crossover is a unique and stylish entry in a somewhat bland segment.

The SRX's interior features an attractive, modern design with upmarket materials and a high level of attention to detail. The instrument panel, steering wheel and shifter knob were all recently redesigned for a more upscale look, and the center stack benefitted from the addition of Cadillac's CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment systems. CUE features an eight-inch LCD screen, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition and the same "swipe,"¬Ě "pinch"¬Ě or "spread"¬Ě gestures associated with most smartphones.

Elements of the dramatic exterior - particularly the arched roofline - restrict interior space somewhat. Headroom is a little tight for taller rear passengers, and cargo capacity is less than what the largest vehicles in the segment offer.

Powering the SRX is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces new 3.6-liter V6 that produces 308 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. It shifts through a six-speed automatic transmission, and fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for the standard front-wheel-drive model. All-wheel-drive is available as an option; it lowers efficiency to 16/23 mpg.

Trim Level Breakdown
The SRX is offered in Base, Luxury, Performance and Premium trim levels.

The entry-level model comes standard with leatherette upholstery, an eight-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD stereo system with HD radio and AUX and USB inputs, a power-adjustable driver's seat, Bluetooth and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Luxury model adds leather upholstery, a sunroof, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, a rearview camera, a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, wood trim and power-adjustable pedals.

The Performance trim brings a navigation system, HID headlights, fog lights, variable-effort power steering and 20-inch painted alloy wheels.

The Premium ups the luxury quotient with heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control and rear seat audio controls.

Available as an option is the Driver Assist Package, which includes an automatic braking system that can apply the brakes to prevent or mitigate the severity of a front or rear crash during low-speed driving situations. Also part of the package is adaptive cruise control and Intellibeam automatic high beam headlights.

Backseat CUE
CUE isn't just for front seat passengers - those in back can use the system to control the optional DVD entertainment system. Part of the rear seat entertainment package, the system includes a Blu-Ray-capable DVD player and two flip-up 8-inch video screens with dual-play capabilities (meaning the screens the can operated independently). It also allows passengers to connect to and manage their own music players and playlists.

Unlike the front seat version of CUE, which relies on a capacitive-touch screen, the rear seat system is operated via a cordless remote control.

Occupant Safety
All SRX models come standard with dual front, dual front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

An automatic braking system (detailed above) is optional.

Key Competitors
The SRX faces off against rivals like the popular Lexus RX350, the feature-laden Lincoln MKX and the powerful Infiniti EX35.