$12,547 - $15,983

2012 Cadillac SRX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Cadillac SRX was new.


Performance: 7.9

For 2012, Cadillac gives all SRX trims a new 3.6-liter V6 engine. Automotive journalists have nothing but high praise for this upgrade, calling it powerful, quiet and smooth.

  • "It's no BMW, but I think most buyers will be satisfied with the way the SRX cruises down the highway and hustles through the curves." -- About.com

Acceleration and Power

The most significant change to the 2012 Cadillac SRX is its new 3.6-liter V6 that replaces the base 3.0-liter V6 and optional 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 engines that were available in the 2011 model. The revamped 3.6-liter engine outshines these both on paper and on the road. The 3.6-liter engine cranks out 308 horsepower, which is 43 more than last year’s base 3.0-liter engine and 8 more than the 2011 turbocharged option. Mated to the new 3.6-liter V6 is a six-speed automatic transmission that has an Eco feature, as well as normal mode, sport mode and manual mode. Test drivers gravitate toward manual mode for spirited driving. Cadillac says Eco mode increases fuel economy, but test drivers haven’t noted improved ratings. The EPA reports that two-wheel drive models average 17/24 mpg city/highway, while all-wheel drive models average 16/23 mpg city/highway.

In their critiques of the 2012 Cadillac SRX, test drivers aren’t preoccupied with fuel economy ratings. They’re raving about how quiet and powerful the new engine is compared with its predecessor. The latest SRX now accelerates smoothly from a stop, doesn’t strain, and test drivers can even coax a few growls out of it.

  • "During steady cruising, the cabin stayed so quiet that the loudest sound came from the backseat: the creaking of chief engineer Liz Pilibosian's BlackBerry trackball." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Acceleration was pretty quick, too, for such a heavy beast." -- AutoWeek
  • "Even when whipped up to its 6800-rpm power peak, the V-6 remains refined and pleasant. There’s an appropriate amount of intake snarling and exhaust rush. The unending strain of the 3.0-liter is gone." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

With a new engine and a new transmission, test drivers say that the 2012 SRX has improved handling and braking capabilities, but that the suspension’s setup will help determine overall ride quality. Of the two drivetrains, reviewers prefer front-wheel drive because these models have a smoother ride. Regardless of which drivetrain you select, test drivers say the SRX’s brakes are grabby, but that it is capable of handling tight curves. For a sportier feel, drivers can select the sport mode, but test drivers aren’t impressed with the difference in handling, and encourage buyers to decline the option.

  • "Two suspension setups are offered, a softer setup under the technical designation ‘FE2’ and the sportier ‘FE3’ setup that also comes with variable-effort, speed-sensitive power steering. These were definitely more fun to throw around the rough, twisty backroads during our test drive near Santa Barbara, California." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Another selection is the tranny's sport mode that reads the driver's toes, fingers, and filthy intentions, downshifting and upshifting with remarkable lucidity. But we still prefer the manual mode, which matched revs when we geared down for tight turns on the narrow roads that wind through cow pastures and fields of berries, cabbages, and seed marigolds. Santa Barbara County in late July is unexcelled for agricultural variation." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Combined with the added weight of the AWD system and two skinny car writers up front, the Sachs Continuous Damping Control shocks had to tighten up quite a bit to keep the whole rig in line during spirited driving, resulting in a harsher-than-expected ride over some rough roads in both sport and normal modes. … In the front wheel-drive Cadillac SRX, without the WWE engineer in back, the ride was considerably smoother. In both cases, however, the suspension did a remarkable job of controlling roll, dive and squat in the 4,277- to 4,442-pound crossover." -- AutoWeek
  • "I did find the brakes a bit disconcerting; there's a good deal of pedal travel and then they bite rather suddenly, which took some getting used to." -- About.com 

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