New & Used Infiniti FX: In Depth
2005 Infiniti FX35Enlarge Photo
Shopping for a new Infiniti FX35?
SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS
Infiniti is changing its naming strategy for the 2014 model year, and replacing current model names EX, FX, G, M, and JX with ones starting with the letter Q. Read our story on the Infiniti naming strategy to understand these changes.
When it was first introduced for 2003, the curvy, aggressively styled Infiniti FX (currently represented by the FX35 and FX50) was one of the first performance-oriented utility vehicles to hit the U.S. market. At that time it was joining exclusive ranks that included vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes ML55 AMG, but in years since it's been joined by a wide range of sportier utes and tall wagons, including the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Acura RDX, and Audi Q7.
From 2003 all the way through 2009, the FX was offered in rear- or all-wheel drive models of the FX35 (V-6) and in all-wheel-drive only for FX45 or FX50 (V-8) models. The FX35 made a respectable 275 horsepower, while the FX45 made 320 horsepower (with a more noteworthy 335 pound-feet of torque). The interior for all of these FX models is beautifully trimmed and comfortable, though cargo space it rather limited due to the tucked-down roofline. Unlike some other crossover vehicles its size, the FX doesn't offer three rows of seating; five adults can just barely fit in the FX.
Driving the FX is not like piloting any normal SUV, or even comparable to most crossover vehicles. It has a very firm suspension and feels planted in corners, with very little lean and almost none of the squat or dive with quick acceleration or stops, as you tend to find in taller vehicles. Off-roading isn't at all part of the FX's vocabulary, either; it's strictly an on-road vehicle. Some might find that the FX has too harsh of a ride, if rough-surfaced roads are part of normal driving.
Those who want the most sport-sedan-like feel out of the FX will likely want to stick with rear-wheel drive. First-generation models with all-wheel drive don't steer quite as responsively, and they weigh noticeably more. TheCarConnection.com's editors actually thought the V-6, rear-wheel-drive version of the FX35 is the best-balanced, though the FX45 (or FX50) is definitely fun with all the power and torque on tap—as well as the burly, burbly V-8 sound. In any of the versions, fuel economy is not at all anything to be proud of; you'll be hard-pressed to eke 20 mpg out of the V-6 model, even.
For 2009, Infiniti redesigned the FX, boosting the FX35 to 303 horsepower and the V-8—now called FX50—to 390 horsepower. Although the packaging of the FX didn't change (and some of the same flaws, like the lack of back-seat space, carried over), this second-generation version received curvier interior styling—especially for the instrument panel—and the exterior includes new sheetmetal including a curvier hoodline and lower grille. A new seven-speed automatic transmission and magnesium paddle-shifters helped give it even more enthusiast appeal, and ride quality and refinement have been upgraded.
The FX35 and FX50 got a light touch-up for 2012, with a different look to the grille and front end; otherwise, a Limited Edition model added huge 21-inch graphite finish wheels, among other things. And advanced-tech items like lane-departure warning, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and an adaptive suspension remained standout options—if you're willing to pay thousands more, that is.
2010 Infiniti FX35Enlarge Photo