2011 INFINITI FX35 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 29, 2011

The 2011 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 put the priority on looks and performance, and it's no secret that a little utility gets sacrificed in the process.

The 2011 Infiniti FX can look like a coupe if you squint just right—and that's exactly the effect Infiniti was going for with this sexy crossover design. The high-utility wagonlike profile is there; it's just not the priority in this design.

Last redesigned for 2009, the FX inherited an even more aggressive form, with a lower front grille, plus a few more 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.

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. With either of the engines, the seven-speed automatic shifts quickly and responsively, too. The V-8 is even faster—about a second faster to 60 mph, in about five seconds—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. Overall, steering feel is about as good as it gets in a utility vehicle of any kind, and body control is superb. You'd never guess you're in such a heavy vehicle; the FX has great poise without ever feeling tanklike.

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The interior of the 2011 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 is in many ways also comparable to that of a sports car or sport sedan. While it gives front occupants plenty of comfort and enveloping support, it neglects backseat passengers to a degree, and cargo space suffers because of the curvy design.

In addition, the FX35 and FX50 have 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 are also a few high-tech options that might help avoid an accident in the first place. Lane Departure Prevention follows lane markings on the road, notifies the driver, and can even apply the brakes lightly, while an advanced cruise control system can bring the FX to a complete stop if traffic slows.

The FX50 comes with bigger, showier wheels, but that's about the only difference between the two models. Options are limited to big-ticket tech features like a lane-departure warning system, an adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface. The navigation system comes with a 9.3-gigabyte music-storage feature, and Bluetooth is well-integrated.

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