2012 Cadillac SRX, an AutoWeek Flash Drive Car Review

2012 Cadillac SRX road test Cadillac
The 2012 Cadillac SRX.

By MARK VAUGHN on 7/27/2011

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What is it?

Cadillac's best-selling vehicle gets an all-new engine and a little suspension tuning for 2012. The new 3.6-liter normally aspirated V6 puts out 308 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. That's more power than either of the engines it replaces but less torque than the old turbo engine. Curb weight increases a little in both front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive versions of the new SRX. Fuel economy is better than in the old turbo and within a mile per gallon of the previous 3.0-liter V6. Engineers left the handling alone but fine-tuned the ride to make it a little less harsh.

What is it like to drive?

We spent a day on some great roads north of Santa Barbara, Calif., first in an AWD 2012 SRX and then in a front wheel-drive model. There were three of us in the AWD version, including a linebacker-size he-man of an engineer in back, a big guy. Combined with the added weight of the AWD system and two skinny car writers up front, the Sachs Continuous Damping Control shocks had to tighten up quite a bit to keep the whole rig in line during spirited driving, resulting in a harsher-than-expected ride over some rough roads in both sport and normal modes.

In the front wheel-drive <Cadillac SRX, without the WWE engineer in back, the ride was considerably smoother. In both cases, however, the suspension did a remarkable job of controlling roll, dive and squat in the 4,277- to 4,442-pound crossover.

By popping the gearshift on the six-speed Hydramatic over to the left, you automatically engage sport mode, which changes algorithms all over the car, from shift performance and gear-holding to damper stiffness. There also is a manual mode to let you further control the transmission.

Braking with the four-wheel discs engaged farther down the pedal travel than we would have expected, not in a progressive or linear fashion, just farther down. The pedal wasn't mushy at all and stopped the FWD ute in a short 120.7 feet, according to the Racelogic test gear we suction-cupped to the windshield.

Acceleration was pretty quick, too, for such a heavy beast. We launched only the front-wheel-drive version, which is supposed to be the quicker of the two drivetrains, and hit 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds with the traction button switched off, a hefty brake torque and a good amount of wheelspin. The Cadillac SRX is supposed to be quicker with TC on, where the system allows 10 percent slip. However, with TC on we got a 7.7-second time to 60 mph.

Without a load in it, the 2012 SRX was more responsive on twisty roads, but it still felt a little top heavy and tall. A BMW X3 handles better, but this SRX easily outhandles the Lexus RX 350.

Do I want one?

A lot of people want this. Cadillac sold 51,094 of these last year with the old engine choices, more than even the CTS with which it shares that new 3.6-liter V6. Being a Cadillac, it's loaded with luxury appointments, from an optional heated steering wheel to Bluetooth with on-screen caller ID.

Pricing starts at $36,060, but the versions we drove ranged from $42,685 for a Luxury Collection FWD model with nav and Bose 5.1 to $53,540 for a premium Collection AWD version with nav, Bose and DVD. It's a luxury vehicle, remember.

The new 2012 Cadillac SRX should be in dealerships in August.

2012 Cadillac SRX

On Sale: August

Base Price: $36,060

Drivetrain: 3.6-liter, 308-hp, 265-lb-ft V6 with CVVT on both cams; FWD

Curb Weight: 4,277 lb

0-60 MPH: 7.6 sec (AW, FWD)

60-0 MPH: 120.7 ft (AW)

Fuel Economy (EPA): 17/24 mpg


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