2010 Infiniti FX35 Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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The first generation Infiniti FX was originally introduced in 2003 with what some may reference as a bizarre, but arguably unique approach to both design and engineering that radically emphasized the sport factor over a traditional focus on utility.  Infiniti's second generation bowed during the 2009 model year.  As the FX lineup enters its second year of the second generation, models include the FX35 and the flagship FX50. 

Both drive configurations of the FX35 are powered by a 3.5-litre V6 that delivers 303 horsepower at 6,800 rpm along with 262 pound feet of torque, and both feature all-wheel drive with Infiniti's ATTESA E-TS AWD system.  The FX50 is powered by a 5.0-litre, 32-valve V8 that generates 390 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and develops 369 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.  All Infiniti FX models meter power to the drive wheels via a 7-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with manual shift mode, adaptive shift control, downshift rev matching and "Snow" mode.  Paddle shifters are available for FX50 models. 

The FX series is in essence, a radical embodiment and expression of both sport and utility attributes that delivers above average power, luxury and technological features and equipment. 

The 2010 FX hasn't changed visually in its basic form, but rather employs modest enhancements.  The FX still displays the racy proportions of a sports car, with a body that sits lower than the majority of traditional SUVs.  The hood is long and low, providing an unencumbered forward view, and the long wheelbase generates the impression that the vehicle is much lower than it really is.  Overhangs are short, and even though the centre of gravity is low, there is no compromise in ground clearance.  Headlights and taillights appear to be set into the sides of the FX, flanking a black chrome grille and contributing not only to functionality, but to improving vehicle aerodynamics as well.  The distinctive functional side air vents that appear just aft of the forward wheel well (they also contribute to a reduction in front end lift by a full five percent, improving high speed stability) continue for 2010, as do available 21-inch wheels. 

The interior provides a raft of standard and optional equipment, including leather appointed seating surfaces; a 12-point "Sequential Welcome" lighting system, available hand-stained and polished Maple wood trim, Infiniti "Intelligent Key" with push button start, rearview monitor, and a sliding moonroof.  The FX's navigation system comes with XM NavTraffic with real time information (where available) and a 9.3-gigabyte hard drive.  There are also heated and cooled front seats, an iPod interface, aluminum pedals and seat and mirror synchronization.  The advanced climate control system, "Around View" monitor and "Scratch Shield" paint are features worth noting from a long and equally impressive list of standard and optional equipment. 

My test Infiniti FX35 was a rear-wheel drive model with a Midnight Mocha metallic exterior finish, complemented by a Light Mocha and Charcoal interior treatment highlighted by polished wood trim and Satin Silver accents.  The base FX35 MSRP is set at $52,300 but increased substantially after adding options that included aluminum roof rail crossbars, the Technology Package with Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, full-speed Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Front Pre-crash seat belts, Rain-Sensing Front windshield wipers, Adaptive Front Lighting System and Auto-leveling front headlights, the Deluxe Touring Package with 20-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels shod with all-season V-rated tires, maple interior accents, aluminum pedals, tonneau cover, Premium Package, and navigation system. 

The FX35 is a sophisticated and futuristic transportation pod that excels in both performance and visual appeal – at least for most people, while admittedly, it may be a little over the top in terms of its exterior styling and impact for more conservative types.  But, even if you don't like its space age form, you have to appreciate the design details.  It delivers the driving sensation of a sports car, with the added functionality of an SUV. The emphasis is clearly and genuinely placed with the emphasis on sport rather than utility as already alluded to.  Utility isn't forgotten altogether though – the five-passenger, four-door FX is still equally capable of performing mundane tasks, while moving down the road at a rapid rate.  AWD models are also capable of leaving the pavement behind in rapid fashion. 

The FX is extremely agile considering its more than two ton mass, with a comfortable ride quality, once you're inside.  Getting there however, requires ducking due to the sharp curvature of the roofline – at least if you happen to be much more than six feet tall. 

The 3.5-litre V6 delivers a pleasing exhaust note through its exhaust outlets with chrome finishers when a heavy throttle is applied, and despite the SUV's weight, it manages to get acceptable fuel economy – perhaps not outstanding mind you, but tolerable for a vehicle of its type.  If the FX35 appeals to you visually, you're bound to appreciate its overall abilities.  It is truly a performance-oriented crossover. 

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Infiniti, 2010, FX35, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Infiniti

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