Quick review: 2016 Cadillac SRX

Never in a million years would I voluntarily choose an SUV as a rental car if I know that I’m not going to be hauling anything or anyone during the duration of my rental, so I was a thrown a bit for a loop when I walked out to the Avis parking garage at Orlando International Airport (MCO) to find this 2016 Cadillac SRX sitting in the space they told me to go to. I had a Ford Taurus reserved, but instead, they threw me the keys to what I immediately discovered to be a pretty sweet complimentary upgrade.

Before I get to the written portion of this quick review (with pics), here is a video I shot during my first two hours of driving it:

First impressions

Very similar to the initial feelings I had about the Ford Escape I rented in Minneapolis six months ago, I was immediately digging how small and compact this SUV was from the outside. Regular readers of DriveAndReview.com will know that I’m not a big fan of trucks and SUV’s (big cars aren’t my thing), so I found the overall size of this SRX to be much to my liking for what it is. I also quite liked the stance of it, with a very high rear end and a much lower (and almost car-like) pointy front end.

cadillac SRX rear view

From the outside, the Cadillac SRX doesn’t appear to be all that large – which is a good thing!

cadillac SRX front

The front is low and sleek, and stuffed to the gills with the latest Cadillac design language.

cadillac SRX side view

The side profile is nice – with lines more like a car than an SUV.

cadillac SRX rear hatch

A straight on view of the rear end gives a pretty good perspective on how compact the SRX really is.

cadillac SRX 20 inch wheels

Close up of the 20″ wheels – nothing special here, but at least they weren’t chrome.

cadillac logo

This SRX wasn’t completely void of chrome though. Lot’s of shiny bits were stuck to the exterior here and there.

Opening and closing doors as I was getting situated with my luggage was also quite satisfying. Everything felt rock solid and had a nice “weight” to it which felt very high end. Combined with the smell of leather on the interior, I felt right away this was an SUV I was going to like.

Driving impressions

Sitting up high and not having to look over a long hood was nice as I was trying to find my way out of the mess that is the Orlando airport parking structure. Visibility was good in all directions (ok, the tinted windows in the back made it difficult to see behind me while still in the garage) and I didn’t feel like I had to wrestle this thing around corners while trying to maneuver around in a tight space. It felt great even before I left the garage!

Out on the open road, the thing that I noticed first was the power. This isn’t a fast SUV by any means, but the 308hp 3.6L V6 felt really strong and was able to move this little beast quickly from a dead stop better than I ever would have expected. It even sounded good – the exhaust has a somewhat sporty snarl to it that was surprising and quite satisfying at the same time.

2016 cadillac SRX interior

The passenger cabin of the SRX is quite nice, with decently high-quality materials throughout.

2016 cadillac SRX gauges

The lackluster gauge cluster was one of my only disappointments with this thing – it wasn’t very interesting, and the information displayed at the bottom was difficult to see at times.

Handling in the SRX is pretty much standard SUV quality, meaning that it’s not a corner carver and you won’t keep up with the sports cars in the canyons. But it was a very nice cruiser on the open highway, feeling tight, planted, and comfortable while cruising along at 80mph. I should also mention that it was easy to drive through several Florida downpours I experienced along the way, never feeling loose or like it was about to hydroplane.

Comfort

The most important thing worth noting about the levels of comfort in the 2016 Cadillac SRX is that never once did my back get sore while driving it. That says a lot considering how I can’t drive most cars for more than two hours without getting some sort of backache. I had this SRX for a week, and on one of those days I did a 6 hour road trip without any pain or discomfort to speak of. The front seats are very comfortable and highly adjustable, and finding a seating position that worked for me was a piece of cake.

2016 cadillac SRX driving impression

Finding the right seating position wasn’t all that difficult, and all the major controls were well within reach.

2016 cadillac SRX center stack

The center stack with the climate control and large touch screen display (for audio, navigation, and backup camera) was nice – but awkward at times. There are no physical buttons here, and the entire front panel is touch sensitive.

2016 cadillac SRX interior

The SRX is perfect for long road trips!

Conclusion

The bottom line is that I’m glad Avis gave me this SRX instead of the Taurus I had reserved. I walked up to it for the first time thinking something along the lines of “oh shit, not an SUV”, but I turned it in a week later (after putting 500+ miles on it) thinking how nice it would be to drive again on a long road trip. The SRX is an excellent long-distance cruiser, and I have to give props to GM and Cadillac for stepping up their game and producing a mid size SUV that can compete with any other in that segment.