2012 Cadillac SRX Driving Impressions


New for 2012 is a larger, more powerful 3.6-liter V6, which pulls the weight of the Cadillac SRX around with ease. There is very little noise at all inside the cabin of the SRX, be it from the road or under the hood. Thanks to a plethora of sound-deadening material, noise from the direct injection system is mitigated.

The 6-speed automatic transmission offers several driver-selectable modes: Eco, Sport, Manual, and Normal. In Normal mode, the SRX offers ample power. In Sport mode, the transmission holds gears longer than it would in Normal model for improved acceleration performance and to reduce upshifting when slowing momentarily for a corner. The system senses braking, throttle input and lateral acceleration (turns). There is also a manual mode for those who enjoy rowing through gears. In this mode, shifts are barely perceptible, although there is more delay when changing gears by hand, since the electronic sport mode anticipates gears for faster changes. The 6-speed automatic transmission includes a driver-selectable Eco feature that alters shift points for greater fuel economy. With the Eco mode switched on, the SRX shifts at lower revs, which Cadillac said will save about 1 mpg at speeds of 50 mph or slower. We pressed it and noticed it lost some oomph, but we weren't rendered powerless.

The Cadillac SRX handles remarkably well, despite being quite a bit heavier than most of its rivals. Depending on equipment, the SRX weighs more than 4,400 pounds. Its responsive steering is a refreshing change from the numb feel of the Lexus RX. We found the available Sport Suspension was able to manage the SRX's considerable weight with relative grace, and we noticed little body roll (lean) in corners. Combined with the 20-inch wheels, which have short sidewalls, the SRX was smoother than expected over bumps.

But the SRX isn't sporty in all respects. The brakes feel like they're better suited to gradually cruise to a stop and lack the bite of the sportier CTS.

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