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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
V-6 engine is merely adequate
Car and Driver
SRX feels lighter and more nimble than you'd expect
viable alternative to a full-size SUV
Kelley Blue Book
As sporting to drive as some performance-minded sedans
The 2009 Cadillac SRX handles surprisingly well for an SUV, and with the Magnetic Ride Control option, you’ll quickly forget that you are piloting a taller vehicle.
The 2009 SRX comes with a 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower V-6 as the standard engine teamed with a five-speed automatic. This is the price leader, but it won’t satisfy your needs if you are looking for performance, and its fuel economy is not worth the sacrifice in acceleration. Luckily there is the optional 4.6-liter, 320-horsepower Northstar V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It provides a lot more power—it can launch the crossover to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds—but fuel economy is still an issue. Car and Driver characterizes both the V-6 and V-8 as "engines to be proud of," though they called out the V-8-powered 2009 Cadillac SRX as “a sports car among SUVs." Autoblog believes that Cadillac and SRX enthusiasts will enjoy the "smooth operation and responsiveness" of both 2009 Cadillac SRX engines. They declare the 2009 Cadillac offering of a "3.6L [as] very good—quiet but stout enough to move the SRX briskly." Edmunds reports, “The combination of the Northstar V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission provides strong acceleration,” but adds that the V-6 is “adequate for most drivers.”
The SRX is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive, and with either powertrain, fuel economy is unimpressive—as low as 13 mpg city with the V-8. Unlike many other SUVs, the 2009 Cadillac SRX V-6 option impresses ConsumerGuide by using "regular-grade gas," while recommending "premium for the V-8."
The 2009 Cadillac SRX handles nimbly, with either its standard suspension or GM's optional Magnetic Ride Control, which uses magnetic force to control the stiffness of the shocks. Autoblog attests "in terms of overall ride and handling, [the Cadillac SRX] is nothing short of excellent." Kelley Blue Book declares the "2009 Cadillac SRX glides serenely without veer or vagueness." While the "steering feel is light at first," they say, the suspension "quickly firms up as the speed rises." A hallmark of the crossover SRX, Cadillac designs a reasonable turn radius that makes it "relatively easy to park and maneuver in tight spots." MyRide.com, though, notes the SRX "tends to understeer heavily when entering a turn too hot, and the body leans more than a typical passenger car." Car and Driver contends the SRX “feels like a sports car among SUVs with predictable steering, athletic handling, and well-weighted throttle and brakes.”
Other reviewers rate the Magnetic Ride Control as a must-have. ConsumerGuide says the Magnetic Ride Control system is nearly essential: "without it, SRX suffers from lots of bounding and other unwanted body motions, even on mildly rippled pavement."
Crisp sport-sedan handling sets the SRX apart, but its fuel economy won’t win friends.