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#7

in 2011 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $21,361 - $33,034
Original MSRP: $34,615 - $52,360
MPG: 18 City / 25 Hwy
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2011 Cadillac SRX Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers say that the 2011 SRX is a competent performer, so long as you go for the optional turbocharged engine. Otherwise, they say the base engine can’t handle the SRX’s hefty curb weight. On the other hand, reviewers say the SRX has a pleasant and car-like ride that’s even a little bit fun. One reviewer suggests going for the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon if you want better performance.

  • "Even on 20-inch wheels and tires, the FE3 upgrade manages to feel comfortable over those abundantly bad Michigan roads, while upping the cornering power, turn-in response and damping. Cadillac has matched the comfort and quietness of the Lexus without dishing in any of the RX's numbing isolation." -- Motor Trend
  • "The base SRX is a bit lacking in power, but the turbo model is pricey. We’d go for a CTS wagon instead." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Cadillac SRX offers two engines – a base 3.0-liter V6 that makes 265 horsepower and an optional 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 that makes 300 horsepower. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional.

Some reviewers say the base engine can be sluggish because of its low torque output. They recommend the turbocharged V6. However, that engine is available for Performance and Premium trims only. That means you’ll pay about $50,000 or more for those upgrades. Make sure you really need that extra power before spending the money.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel-drive base model achieves 18/25 mpg city/highway, while the all-wheel-drive model achieves 17/23 mpg city/highway with the base engine. Turbocharged, all-wheel drive models get an EPA-estimated 15/22. This engine also takes premium fuel – the base models use regular grade gasoline – so you’ll also pay almost $1,000 more each year in fuel costs for this model. By and large, reviewers are disappointed with the SRX’s fuel economy and blame the chubby crossover’s weight for its base engine troubles and thirst for fuel.

For a more fuel efficient all-wheel drive, consider the Audi Q5. The base model has this feature standard and gets 20/27 mpg city/highway.

  • "Front-drive 3.0 models offer fine acceleration, but SRX feels a bit slower with AWD, particularly from a stop. With the turbocharged engine, full-throttle starts are a bit lazy for the first 30 feet or so, but power builds quickly thereafter. Its power delivery is more linear compared to other turbo motors. On all, the transmission sometimes hesitates before downshifting for more power under full throttle." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The standard 3.0-liter V6 performs well, but it's the optional 2.8-liter turbo that offers V8-like muscle with V6 economy. With its hydraulic speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering (not the energy-efficient but often-numb electric power steering found in many competitors these days), the SRX delivers sport-sedan feel and feedback with strong on-center feel. And, because our test car was equipped with the continuously variable real-time dampening suspension, we found the SRX a delight to drive in town, on high-speed highways and especially on twisty two-lanes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "For one, the SRX is fat. It weighs between 200 and 300 pounds more than most of its competitors. It's even heavier than the larger Lexus RX 350. As such, the SRX's 265-horsepower V6, which lines up to those others' engines on paper, is overburdened by this luxury crossover's excessive weight. It also suffers from conservative transmission tuning and a lack of torque, both of which make the SRX feel sluggish when passing or moving away from a stop." -- Edmunds
  • "Unacceptably heavy, overwhelmed V-6." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Test drivers praise the Cadillac SRX's ride and handling. While reviewers previously complained about slow steering, they now say it's incredibly precise.

All-wheel-drive Performance and Premium models come with a sport suspension system with real-time damping. While it makes the SRX even more fun to drive, it’s not the most comfortable setup when the pavement gets rough.

  • "The steering offers more feedback than most crossovers yet is still nimble. We took more than a couple turns a bit aggressively; the SRX had no problems." -- AutoWeek
  • "Even with the base suspension setup, the SRX offers an excellent balance of ride and handling. The standard dampers keep body motions in check over broken and uneven pavement. Rough surfaces mid-corner did nothing to unsettle the SRX, with predicable body transitions that allowed the CUV to stay planted through the bends." -- Autoblog
  • "SRX rides more firmly than top premium-class competitors such as the Lexus RX. As such, even minor pavement imperfections are noticed, and larger bumps can produce a jolt. Performance and Premium models have an electronic suspension that helps smooth out bumps fairly well, despite having standard 20-inch wheels. On the positive side, the SRX feels planted and well controlled over pavement dips and swells." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In other respects, the 2011 Cadillac SRX is a commendable luxury crossover. Steering response is sharp and the SRX handles much better than you'd expect a Cadillac SUV to. The ride is comfortable over regular pavement, but it gets busy for a luxury vehicle when the road gets a bit rough.” -- Edmunds

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