2010 INFINITI FX35 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
November 4, 2009

The 2010 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 are great choices for those who need a little extra versatility but above all want to look good; those interested in hauling plywood need not apply.

In order to compile this comprehensive review covering the 2010 Infiniti FX35 and FX50, the experts at TheCarConnection.com have driven both variants of this performance utility vehicle, then scanned a wide range of reviews for the most useful information for shoppers—especially how the FX stacks up against other vehicles like it.

From some angles, the 2010 Infiniti FX might look more like a coupe, and that’s exactly the effect that Infiniti was going for with this curvy crossover vehicle. Unlike other vehicles of this size and relative shape, the FX is geared toward sport-sedan buyers—those who want great overall performance and handling, not off-road ability or an optimized space for changing diapers. The high-utility wagonlike profile is there; it’s just not the priority in this design.

With last year’s redesign, the FX became even more coupelike in its profile—in some ways taking a step in the direction BMW forged with its X6, and Acura with its ZDX. Along with the even more aggressive shape and a lower front grille, Infiniti adds quite a few styling details to the exterior—including rippled headlight and taillight designs and metallic ducts just behind the front wheels. Inside, too, although the design of the new Infiniti FX feels warmer and more sophisticated than the previous version, it’s also undeniably more cluttered. The sheer busyness of the design might bother some—with too many curves and cues that are shared with the Nissan Cube MPV—though otherwise it feels rich and elegant.

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As before, the Infiniti FX can be had as an FX35, with a 303-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, or as an FX50, with a 390-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Both offer a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive and get a new seven-speed automatic transmission. For most buyers, the V-6 will be plenty fast, and the engine is still among the sweetest V-6 engines around. The V-8 is even faster, but V-6 version with rear-wheel drive are clearly the best-handling of the bunch, with all-wheel-drive models possessing a different steering feel and V-8s seeming noticeably heavier. And steering feel is about as good as it gets in a utility vehicle of any kind. Fuel economy was slightly improved with the FX’s redesign for ’09, but it’s still embarrassingly low by some city-dwelling standards, at 16 mpg city, 23 highway with the V-6 (down to 14/20 mpg with the V-8).

For those who plan to carry much cargo behind the backseats—or even the front ones—the FX still isn't a great choice. The load floor is high, and the rake of the hatch and back window is somewhat limiting. Backseats also are tough to get into with the arch of the roofline in the way, but once you're in, there's just enough space for two adults. The FX has great poise without feeling tanklike, and a ride that's firm without being at all jarring. And unlike Infiniti's G and M sport sedans, the FX's interior doesn't become much noisier on coarse road surfaces. Materials are like those used in luxury sedans, not SUVs, and there are plenty of delicate details, like the soft leather, with criss-cross stitching, for the sport seats.

The 2010 Infiniti FX hasn’t been crash-tested by the federal government, and it likely won’t be, but the insurance-funded IIHS has awarded the FX35 and FX50 scores of "good" for frontal offset and "good" in the seat-based rear-impact test. In addition, it has all the safety features that buyers of this type of vehicle should expect: standard front side airbags, side-curtain bags that protect outboard front and rear passengers, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.

There’s not very much of a difference in features between the FX35 and FX50. Aside from bigger, showier wheels for the FX50, they both come as well equipped as any luxury vehicle. Options are limited to big-ticket tech features like a lane-departure warning system, adaptive suspension, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface.

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