Going & Stopping

The SRX has its performance ups and downs. For 2012, a 3.6-liter V-6 replaces the previous model year's 3.0-liter V-6. With 308 horsepower and 265 pounds-feet of torque, the engine made plenty of power moving away from stops and on the highway. (Compare the 2012 engine with the 2011 here).

The engine was let down a bit by the six-speed automatic transmission, which took too long to kick down a gear or two when I needed to pass. In low-speed maneuvers — such as parking lots — whether I was engaging Drive or Reverse, the SRX did not want to move until I gave it more gas than I have to give other cars. That's not what you want when you're trying to make delicate maneuvers in tight spaces. I kept feeling like the SRX might suddenly leap forward and into my neighbor's car. The transmission also moves into Reverse with a thud.

I also noticed harsh upshifts, particularly on the highway. It wasn't the harshest vehicle on the market, but I do think it's substandard for the luxury class and noticeable enough to call out.

New for 2012, the SRX has an Eco mode. According to Cadillac, the mode alters shift points for up to 1 mpg improved fuel economy in normal driving conditions. Eco works as advertised, delaying shifts to eke out more mileage. I used it only on the most vacant highways, though, because it made the transmission lag even worse.

The SRX's brakes do stop the car, but the pedal feel isn't great. There's a pronounced dead part of travel before the brakes start clamping down on anything, and when they do, they're numb. It's hard to feel when the brakes are grabbing and by how much. Panic stops also require a lot of leg extension, which is disconcerting.

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