2013-cadillac-srxMy family usually pulls up to luxury resorts like a pack of wolves: hungry, dirty, hair matted. We are always driving a rental car — a Zipcar if we are taking a short trip from our home in New York or a cheap, off-brand rental car. But not on our recent family vacation upstate — we drove to Utica in style, in a new Cadillac SRX.

The drive of the SRX, a sporty SUV crossover, may be familiar to those accustomed to luxury cars: smooth and quiet, with sumptuous leather seats that adjust with the flick of a finger.

ProductReviewYou can start the car without actually being in it, a handy feature that lets you warm up the car in winter or cool it down in summer. Just make sure your kids don’t find this out or they may turn the car on when it’s in your driveway. The starter works from up to 200 feet away. But there is no danger of the car accidentally moving; it stays safely in park.

High Tech Features of the Cadillac SRX
The Caddy SRX is idiot proof – the integrated GPS includes a back up camera, so you won’t hit the car behind you. And if you drift over your lane, a buzzing under your butt reminds you to pay attention and drive properly.

The car we drove had a double sunroof, giving kids in the back seat plenty of natural light to read. But the car also has a built in DVD player back there, with headphones, so kids are more apt to watch that. In that case, you might want to close the sunroof partially. The car’s Bose speakers were excellent for listening to satellite radio, or music from a Bluetooth connected phone or tablet.

Driving a Luxury Car

Driving this car reminded me of one of my most humiliating moments. My brother lives in Scarsdale, an upscale suburb of NYC. My family and I drove up in our trash heap car (seriously, the car seat was the most expensive part of it) and the police came to the door.

Cadillac SRX The cop explained that a neighbor had called in a ‘suspicious’ car parked in front my brother’s house. “Oh, no,” my brother explained. “It’s just my sister’s car.”

But on this trip upstate, we stopped by my brother’s in the Cadillac SRX. This time, the neighbors came by to check out the hot car at my brother’s house. What a difference $50,000 makes.

Luxury Cadillac Features
The SRX model we drove is priced at $51,125, and as a Cadillac should be, it was loaded with luxuries, including roadside assistance, a heated steering wheel, and heated leather seats.

On our trip, the SRX got 24 mph on the highway (as advertised), which is decent for an SUV. The tank holds 21 gallons, which gave us a nice range of 500 miles on a tank of gas; if you are heading upstate from NYC, you can fill up on bargain gas in New Jersey and probably not need to gas up on the Thruway.

In bitterly cold Utica, it was 10 below with the wind chill. But after sitting outside all night, the car started right up, and that amazing rear view camera meant we could back up without waiting for the rear defrost to kick in (which nevertheless cleared the window quickly).

caddySRX as a Family Car
The cabin in the SRX is quite roomy; my husband is only 5’7″ so headroom wasn’t an issue, and the kids had over 3 feet of rear leg room. The backseat also has a “sibling saver,” a console divider with room for 2 drinks and snacks, and it gives two kids plenty of room. But if you have a third (and the console can’t be pulled down), the kids still won’t be on top of each other.

The rear seat also folds down for more cargo room. The cargo space was ample, and there was a button that closed the liftgate slowly, so you didn’t have to strain and you needn’t worry about little kids getting their fingers squished.

One feature we loved was the Driver Awareness Package. At $445, this is an option no car should be without. It included a forward collision alert, lane departure warning and safety alert seat. As the mother of two newly minted drivers, this is a priceless option and one that I would want retrofitted to any car they drive.

Disclosure: GM provided the SRX for our test drive; opinions expressed are entirely my own.