Why the disparity? Weight is a compelling factor. At 4595 pounds, the SRX 2.8L Turbo weighs roughly 100 pounds more than the RX 350 and over 180 more than the Audi Q5 3.2 quattro (which gets 18/23 mpg).

Unfortunately, the additional mass doesn't compensate with a more relaxed or comfortable ride. A number of Motor Trend staffers sampled our preproduction SRX 2.8L Turbo and uniformly panned its weighty, unforgiving ride. Saddled with 20-inch wheels and sporty FE3 suspension makes it feel jittery, "as if it's running on Peet's French Roast" claims Detroit editor Todd Lassa. "I didn't find the production 3.0-liter [which uses the softer, traditionally sprung FE2 setup] quite this stiff."

"Feels heavy; in corners, it's unsure of itself," says editor at large Arthur St. Antoine, who also cites the SRX for "anemic" performance off the line. "Engine feels way under its claimed 300 horsepower -- maybe it's just all that mass," he concludes. Online producer Carlos Lago concurs, "I love the turbocharger wooosh -- but delivery is lumpy. It feels like the SRX is choking."

What has Cadillac done right? Depends whom you ask. Our staff is split on Cadillac's latest exercise in art and science. For some the SRX made a clean transition from the Provoq concept vehicle. "This crossover has attitude, something the Lexus will never match," says Lassa.

St. Antoine is not so sure: "I liked the previous edition, with its creased-origami styling and responsive character. This one is just another generic blob. Looks huge outside for how little room you get inside," he concludes.

Inside, the SRX gets dinged for a perceived lack of rear-passenger room, though it should be noted, rear head- and legroom measurements are competitive. Suspect build quality in our preproduction tester was also a concern when we took out for some light offroading. "The rattles and loose feel cause concern for the complex collection of wood, vinyl, leather, and metal pieces inside" says Lassa.

He and others do like aspects of the CTS-inspired interior. "The SRX does ambient lighting well, and I like the CTS-style 'light pipes' and the Epsilon-based info center in the middle gauge." St. Antoine calls the pop-up touchscreen "clean and excellent," a sentiment echoed by Lago. "The infotainment system itself is intuitive. Selecting music source, type, track, or artist is simple."

Too bad there are simply not enough of theses positives to justify the price tag. A fully loaded SRX 2.8L turbo should be in the neighborhood of $50,000, which buys a lot in this ultra competitive segment.