- Strong, responsive powertrains
- Racy profile
- Excellent handling (FX35)
- As many tech options as you can afford
- Excellent nav interface
- Cluttered interior design
- Tight rear seat
- Lack of cargo space
- FX50 is a guzzler
The 2012 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 look like they sacrifice some practicality in the name of a sexy design and scorching performance—and that's exactly the case.
The 2012 Infiniti FX is a prime example of how sometimes first impressions really do hold true. With its aggressive, curvaceous form and rakish, hunkered-down profile, it's one of the raciest-looking crossover wagons on the market. And it turns out, that's exactly what the FX delivers: Rorty V-8 or V-6 performance, with rear- or all-wheel drive and an attitude much more like a sport sedan than a utility vehicle. Of course, quite a bit of practicality does get sacrificed in the process.
For 2012, Infiniti has given the FX a new front-end appearance—with a different look to the grille and headlamps, and a completely resculpted front fascia to blend it all together. Otherwise, not much has changed since the FX was last redesigned, for 2009. The design is a bit busy in places, and the metallic ducts just behind the front wheels, in our opinion, interrupt some nice fender lines. With its last redesign, the Infiniti FX also became a bit warmer and more sophisticated, but with the lack of an all-encompassing interface like iDrive or MMI it's also undeniably more cluttered compared to other vehicles in this class (something many will be happy to live with).
Two different models of the 2012 Infiniti FX are offered—the FX35 and FX37—but with the two models looking essentially the same and both offering more than enough power, it's really a matter of whether you want a V-8 and how much money you're willing to spend. The FX35 gets a 303-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, while the FX50 has a 390-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Both get a new seven-speed automatic transmission, and while FX35 models can be had with either all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, FX50 models come only with AWD.
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 clearly even faster—about a second faster to 60 mph, in about five seconds—but we tend to think that for those who lack unlimited fuel budgets and off-duty-cop status the V-6 version with rear-wheel drive is the sweetest pick of the bunch. AWD models have a somewhat less communicative steering feel, and the FX50 AWD feels (and is) hundreds of pounds heavier. Also, the V-8's gas mileage might be below some shoppers' threshold, at 14 mpg city, 20 highway.
Inside, the FX35 and FX50 are delightful—provided you're in the front seats. Like many sports cars and sport sedans, the FX seems to give those in front good comfort and enveloping support while neglecting backseat passengers (it's surprisingly cramped back there). Cargo space also suffers because of the curvy design and high cargo floor.
All the standard safety features that you might expect here come standard in the FX, and as with most luxury vehicles in this price territory, a number of (expensive) high-tech active-safety options might help you 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.
Between the two models, there's very little feature difference at a standard-feature level; the FX50 comes with bigger, showier wheels, but with the new Limited Edition, you can get 21-inch graphite-finish wheels, dark-tinted headlamps, adaptive front lighting, and other extras on the FX35 AWD. The available navigation system comes with a 9.3-gigabyte music-storage feature, and Bluetooth is well-integrated. Other big-ticket tech options include a lane-departure warning system, an adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface.