Last year a completely new powertrain 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, Lincoln MKX, or 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.
Sprightly and nimble are again not terms that really apply to the way the SRX handles or responds. Rather tall gearing for the transmission means that you'll be downshifting frequently for even mild acceleration, and the SRX feels heavier than you might expect if you pitch it hard into a corner. It's a bit disconcerting in that its center of mass feels higher (because of your seating height) even if it isn't. But the hydraulic-assist power steering is weighted nicely, and unwinds as predictably as in most sport sedans, and the powertrain always feels refined--settling to an almost imperceptible purr at idle, while it revs with a silky tenor, and none of the intake gurgle and whoosh of GM V-6s of the not-so-distant past. One criticism is that the brakes tend to feel spongier than we’d like, and the impression is cemented with significant nosedive.
In addition to the standard suspension setup, there's an optional FE3 suspension with an active suspension and Continuous Damping Control, which reads the road and other inputs, adjusting every two milliseconds. Even with the 20-inch wheels, the SRX rides well.