Going & Stopping

Don't let its 265-horsepower rating fool you: The base V-6 left me wanting. Displacing 3.0 liters, it's in the same direct-injection family as the 3.6-liter V-6 that adeptly moves several GM products, from the Cadillac CTS to the Chevy Camaro. Alas, I'm less enthralled with this sibling. Here, like in other GM cars that use it, the 3.0-liter lacks the power to propel you with much authority. Our all-wheel-drive SRX felt modestly powered, and the six-speed automatic's hesitance to downshift quickly didn't help. At least there's no accelerator lag in normal conditions; the V-6 GMC Terrain we recently drove uses the same drivetrain, and it had a creeping case of lag.

Sticking with front-wheel drive shaves 163 pounds off the SRX's curb weight, which may prove enough to improve acceleration. What's more likely to hasten on-ramp sprints is the turbocharged V-6. Once we drive that, I'll add my impressions in this space. By the numbers, it looks promising — a modest 35 more hp, but, more important, another 72 pounds-feet of torque.

That should be a welcome addition. The Infiniti EX35 leaps from stoplights, and the BMW X3, Mercedes GLK, Audi Q5 and turbo Volvo XC60 aren't far behind. Anyone stepping up from a four-cylinder crossover will think the 3.0-liter SRX moves swiftly enough, but drive the competition before making up your mind. Like the lukewarm Land Rover LR2, the SRX can't beat merging semitrailers as well as some of its competitors can.

There's a bit of redemption in fuel costs: At an EPA-rated 18/25 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 17/23 mpg with all-wheel drive, the 3.0-liter SRX ranks midpack, but it runs fine on regular fuel, which is something few in this class can boast. Most competitors recommend premium; the GLK and X3 require it.
EPA Gas Mileage (Combined City/Highway, MPG)
AWD 2WD Fuel usage
Lexus RX 350 20 21 Premium (recommended)
Audi Q5 20 -- Premium (recommended)
BMW X3 20 -- Premium (required)
Acura RDX 19 21 Premium (recommended)
Cadillac SRX (3.0L) 19 21 Regular
Lincoln MKX 19 20 Regular
Infiniti EX35 19 19 Premium (recommended)
Volvo XC60 18 21 Regular
Mercedes GLK350 18 18 Premium (required)
Land Rover LR2 17 -- Premium (recommended)
Source: EPA and automaker data

Although final EPA estimates are pending for the turbocharged SRX, Cadillac estimates it will get 15/21 mpg; it comes standard with all-wheel drive. That's disappointing — made more so because the turbo recommends premium fuel.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, but the brake pedal feels mushy and trucklike, making it difficult to smooth out stops. At 3,500 pounds, maximum towing capacity is down versus the outgoing SRX's 4,250-pound capacity, but it's competitive for this class.

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