The Cadillac driver's seat automatically slid back to its farthest position when we shut off the engine, even after we tried to reset it. And this revealed poorly finished seat tracks, exposing a connecting bolt.

The Lexus' rear seat moves fore and aft and reclines. The Cadillac's rear seat only reclines, and the ratchet control for it is on the seatback, inconveniently above the passengers' outboard shoulders. There's much more headroom in the RX, the result of both a thinner bottom cushion in the Lexus and the huge, optional vista sunroof in the Cadillac.

The Lexus has heated and cooled front seats, while the Caddy's are just heated. The price difference between the two could account for this (although a fully equipped 2010 Buick LaCrosse comes with cooled front seats, at less than $40k). The front-drive SRX starts about at $34,155. The Haldex all-wheel-drive comes only with other standard equipment, bringing base AWD models to $40,230. The SRX features several different packages, and so our tester begins at $45,820 and ends pretty nicely equipped, if sans cooled seats, just $1,295 more. The RX 350 base is $39,075. Our tester totaled $8,580 more than the Caddy.

No doubt we could option these two out with similar equipment for similar pricing. Point is, adding all the equipment to the Cadillac won't solve the shortcomings in refinement next to the Lexus.

The RX 350 is more isolated, with road impacts notably quieter and less harsh. The SRX's optional 20-inch wheels don't help. The Lexus is quicker, its 3.5-liter V-6 making just 10 more horses than the Cadillac's new 3.0-liter gas direct-injection V-6, but making 34 foot-pounds more torque, with better EPA and observed fuel economy.

The SRX is slightly longer and 127 pounds heavier than the RX 350, and feels like it. The Lexus accelerates out of turns more quickly, though the Cadillac feels pretty willing, its 3.0-liter giving off a pleasing snarl. The premium SRX engine, a 2.8-liter turbocharged gas direct-injection V-6 built in Australia and available only with AWD and the FE3 suspension, will be added in early fall, and will certainly bring both acceleration performance and price up to Lexus levels.