Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Infiniti FX35: A sport sedan disguised as an SUV

Sure, the 2009 Infiniti FX35 is a crossover SUV, at least on the outside.
But on the inside, this baby is dying to be a sport sedan.
Its strong 275-horsepower V6 and sport-tuned chassis let it accelerate aggressively, swallow corners hungrily and give a spirited on-road performance.
But on top of all that cool driving stuff, you get the functionality of an SUV. 
Plus, since this is an Infiniti, you won't be slummin'; you get plenty of luxury. 


 The interior is pleasantly designed from an ergonomics standpoint, and the leather seats are quite comfortable. 
Upscale features like a 300-watt Bose stereo and backup camera make life even easier.
The somewhat unusual shape of the FX35 took a while to grow on us, but we were so won-over by its performance and convenience that we started to see beauty in its form.
So we're sorry about those remarks we made a while back in which we likened its shape to a baseball cap. 
Another reason to love the FX35 is that Infiniti didn't bow to the now-annoying trend of trying to jam a third-row seat in. 
You get two roomy front bucket seats and one spacious back seat bench, and that's it. 
The rear cargo area is not huge, but has enough room for most daily loads (gym bags, groceries, etc.).
 As for goodies, check out the standard 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, power front seats, power telescoping steering wheel, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a rearview monitor, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and full power accessories. 
Options include a moonroof, Infiniti's Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and run-flat tires. 
The Technology Package bundles a navigation system, a lane-departure warning system and adaptive cruise control. There's also the Sport Package that adds a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels, aluminum interior trim and a dark chrome front grille.
The 3.5-liter V6 makes a potent 303 hp and 280 pounds-feet of torque.
Gas mileage is decent; an EPA estimated 16 mpg city, 23 highway. 
A five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode is the sole gearbox.
 Rear-wheel drive is standard, though the FX35 offers an optional all-wheel-drive system with a rear bias to preserve its sporty handling capabilities.
Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, traction control and stability control are all standard, as are a rearview monitor and tire-pressure monitor. 
The optional Lane Departure Warning System alerts the driver to unintended movement of the vehicle out of a designated traffic lane. You might find it annoying, as we did, and in such cases you can turn it off by pushing a button.
 In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the FX scored five (out of five) stars for its protection of occupants in both front and side impacts, and in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset testing, the FX earned the top score of "Good."
Our tester, which was fully loaded, carried a sticker price of $49,865.
Not bad for a nicely equipped sports sedan, 'er, SUV.

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