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Cadillac SRX gets muscle to match style

January 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
When Cadillac's SRX crossover SUV came out a couple of years ago, it won points for its looks.

Unfortunately, the engine couldn't quite keep up with the styling.

That's all changed for 2012. With a base price of $35,485, the SRX has gotten an upgrade under the hood to the engine used in the Cadillac CTS. That's much more power.

There's also been an upgrade to the transmission's software, so you can now either maximize mileage or fun.

EPA estimates did go down a bit with the power infusion. If you can live without all-wheel drive, official figures are 17 city and 24 highway. Choosing all-wheel drive drops each number by one.

Beyond just the new engine, the SRX is a comfortable and functional vehicle. There's lots of passenger room and even the cargo area gets clever touches of space, like storage well beneath the floor.

The SRX sits in the great luxury crossover sweet spot. It's not too big, it's not too small, has lots of features and with its new engine, has a lot of power.

But it's rivals also have an entry in that sweet spot. Everyone from Audi to Volvo has an entry in the category or soon will. Many luxury buyers are increasingly rejecting overly big SUVs, and the industry is responding.

Just look at Range Rover, known for large vehicles that tend to use a lot of fuel. Their new Evoque is leaner and trimmer, and so far is selling well and even picking up some awards.

Where Cadillac shines is in styling. You pretty much know right off the bat what brand of car you're looking at. From the strong taillights to the crisply-formed sheet metal, the SRX is staying true to Cadillac's current design signature.

Now, there's new power in the form of the upgraded standard engine. Guts on the inside to match the looks on the outside.