A new powertrain last year gave the Cadillac SRX a personality transplant, doing away two former engines (one sluggish, the other thirsty) and introducing a single engine: a 308-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. It comes hooked up to a six-speed automatic, delivering power through to the front wheels. And you can opt for an all-wheel drive by Haldex that includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and delivers a lot more confidence in foul weather.
The 2013 SRX has confident acceleration, although we can't say that it feels anywhere as sprightly as the Acura MDX or Lincoln MKX or the Lexus RX 350. That's in part due to its rather conservative throttle calibration (something we appreciate), but it's also a matter of heft (the SRX's 4,500-pound curb weight is a few hundred pounds heavier tham most other models in this class). But thanks to the engine's 265 pound-foot torque plateau, at just 2,400 rpm, the whole setup feels relaxed--and 60 mph comes on in a relatively quick seven seconds.
The SRX isn't at all nimble, thanks to that hefty curb weight. It has tall gearing, and that means that you'll be downshifting frequently for even mild acceleration. It feels heavier than it should when snaking through corners, too. The center of mass is higher than in a sedan, and that amplifies the effect of its extra pounds. The steering is old-school hydraulic and has good weighting. It unwinds predictably, like a good luxury car should.
The new powertrain emits refined vibes. It throws off a slight purr at idle, revs with a silky note through the powerband. The brakes feel too spongy, and the suspension allows too much nose dive under hard braking. Some of that can be nullified with the optional sport suspension and adaptive damping. On the flip side, even with available and big 20-inch wheels, the SRX has a controlled, firm ride.