2009 INFINITI FX Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 29, 2008

The 2009 Infiniti FX offers a truly distinctive shape and sportscarlike acceleration. If you need to haul plywood or lots of kids, though, look elsewhere.

Car experts at TheCarConnection.com read reviews from reputable Web sites to compile this conclusive review of the new 2009 Infiniti FX. TheCarConnection.com’s editors also drove the new Infiniti FX to assess which reviews are accurate and dependable, to add detail to them where needed, and to explain the differences in reviews so you can decide if the new 2009 Infiniti FX is the right vehicle for you.

The 2009 Infiniti FX may seem like a subtle renovation of the existing crossover, but comparing them side by side reveals a more dramatic change. The new FX is even more coupelike--just in time, as luxury brands like BMW are adding their own "crossover coupes."

The FX comes in either V-6 or V-8 form, with a base sticker of about $41,000. That base price will be for the V-6 edition, which keeps its 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 303-horsepower output, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. The $50,000 V-8 version is now powered by a 390-hp 5.0-liter V-8, and both get a new seven-speed automatic transmission standard.

Fuel economy and handling are improved over the previous car, but the 2009 Infiniti FX still has a smaller backseat than you might expect in an expensive crossover vehicle. It's intended for drivers with smaller families, and the sporty styling means it could even substitute for a hot coupe. Even so, handling is still more sport-ute than sportscar, and V-6 versions with rear-wheel drive have noticeably better steering than V-8 cars with all-wheel drive.

Review continues below

There are big-ticket electronic options like adaptive suspension, a great DVD navigation system, lane-departure warnings, and the like. But it's the big, blingy 21-inch wheels that set the top versions apart. That, and the new fender vents that adopt the trend filtering its way through all the car world.

It's neither the roomiest, nor the most comfortable sport-ute on the planet, and that's what Infiniti had in mind. And maybe they're right--BMW's new X6 is a clear take on the 2009 FX, and imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, isn't it?

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2009 INFINITI FX

Styling

The 2009 Infiniti FX has a daring, snarling style all its own.

The CarConnection.com researched a wide range of reviews across the Web. And when it comes to the FX, Infiniti has made a love-it-or-hate-it vehicle even more divisive.

“The FX styling was always a polarizing issue,” the Associated Press writes.

According to Cars.com, "The FX's beady headlights and snout-nosed grille are at least as controversial as those elements on its predecessor -- if not more so." But the taillights and the bumper of the 2009 Infiniti FX haven't changed much and are "are comparatively easier to swallow." Cars.com reviewers like the fact that "the leather seats can come with quilted center inserts."

ConsumerGuideAuto gives the 2009 Infiniti FX a high evaluation for styling because the "leather upholstery, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, keyless entry and starting, and a rearview camera are standard," while Motor Trend states that "the 2009 Infiniti FX expands upon the first generation model with a more aggressive, almost angry look."

“Its low-slung body, rounded corners, short overhangs, and sinewy lines set it apart from boxy SUVs,” Motor Trend continues. “The easiest way to spot a new FX is by looking at its nose. The longer, sharklike snout's sculpted headlights flank a trapezoidal grille filled with horizontal dark-chrome waves. It's not a face everyone will love at first sight.”

Autoblog says the 2009 Infiniti FX “looks pissed. Not angry in a 'you used Equal instead of Splenda in my soy vanilla latte,' but more of a 'if you don't give me your chocolate, your money and your first born, I'm going to channel Ghenghis Khan and get 13th century on your ass.'” Automobile is a bit more genteel about the new FX Infiniti: “we think it's a striking design and a worthwhile follow-up to the iconic first-generation vehicle.”

Inside, the 2009 Infiniti FX's interior “is a big step up from the FX45's,” Automobile adds, “with the same sort of ‘double-wave’ instrument panel that has appeared in other recent Infiniti products.”

TheCarConnection.com has driven the new 2009 Infiniti FX, and thinks it’s one of the most exciting-looking sport-utes around. It may seem like a subtle renovation of the existing crossover, but comparing them side by side reveals a more dramatic change. The new FX is even more coupelike--just in time, as luxury brands like BMW are adding their own "crossover coupes." And the interior is brimming with a modern style that’s not derivative of other SUVs.

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2009 INFINITI FX

Performance

The 2009 Infiniti FX has urgent acceleration through its optional V-8, and handling is great, though the ride is still a little too firm.

The CarConnection.com found that reviewers like performance of the 2009 Infiniti FX, though not necessarily in the base model.

Most reviewers from across the Web agree that the increased horsepower in both the Infiniti FX35 and Infiniti FX50 is a good thing. Cars.com reviewers were pleased with the improved performance of the FX; Infiniti now offers "a 390-horsepower V-8 powers the FX 50, while a 303-hp V-6 powers the FX 35."

Car and Driver adores the FX50. “This new V-8 packs a mega-punch. We saw 60 mph flash past in 5.0 seconds in our FX50S, with the quarter-mile dispatched in 13.6 seconds at 104 mph. That’s quicker than a Mustang GT.” ConsumerGuide, though, feels that the Infiniti 2009 FX35 is just "adequately powerful on the highway."

ConsumerGuide also notes that the "busy 7-speed automatic is indecisive and too quick to shift during hill climbs or highway passing maneuvers." Autoblog reviewers say when taking the FX on back roads, the FX's capabilities made them feel "less than impressed." Additionally, "shifts are somewhat sluggish and the paddle shifters aren't nearly as immediate as they need to be." In contrast, “the engine and transmission are well matched,” Motor Trend says. “Power comes quickly and effortlessly as the FX50 rockets to speed, and the transmission makes it easy to keep things in check when descending steep grades. Under light to moderate acceleration, the seven-speed's close-ratio shifts are quick and smooth; pushing it makes the shifts hard-thumping pulses.”

Fuel economy is not a strong suit of the FX Infiniti, though it’s improved for 2009. The Associated Press says “premium gasoline is required for both FX engines, and neither FX model is a fuel-sipper. In fact, the test FX50, rated by federal officials at just 14 miles per gallon in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway, averaged 15.6 mpg in my combined driving.”

In terms of handling, Autoblog raves about the fact that "the four-wheel independent suspension has been recalibrated (double wishbones up front and a multi-link rear setup) and aluminum has been used throughout the new FX, from the suspension to the doors, to shave 200 pounds off the curb weight." The Associated Press says, “the FX50 took curves with gusto and surprised me by how well it stayed connected to the pavement. Except for my higher seat height and occasional head toss, I felt like I was driving a car, not an SUV.” An optional “continuous damping control that measures such things as pitch, yaw, roll and lateral acceleration of the FX body and then adjusts the suspension accordingly” is an important part of the FX’s sporting handling, the Associated Press adds.

Motor Trend notes that “the ride isn't soft, not by a long shot, but it's much better than in the previous FX.” Infiniti has done better with the second-generation car; Autoblog feels “the ride is certainly better than the outgoing FX and even with the dampers set to Sport it's not the kidney-punishing affair we previously endured."

TheCarConnection.com sampled both the V-6 and V-8 versions of the new 2009 Infiniti FX. Though it’s softened somewhat, handling is still more sport-ute than sportscar, and V-6 versions with rear-wheel drive have noticeably better steering than V-8 cars with all-wheel drive.

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2009 INFINITI FX

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Infiniti FX is bred for speed, style, and comfort for two; backseat drivers and lots of luggage need to be left behind.

The reviews read by The CarConnection.com show that the Infiniti FX 2009 has improved in comfort over last year's model, but it still has a ways to go. Also, the cargo volume is less than last year's, as well as many competitors.

Cars.com gives the FX Infiniti good marks for having "power adjustments for the front seats are standard," though notes that "heated and cooled seats are optional" rather than standard. Autoblog says, "The seats are heavily padded and provide suitable bolstering; they're also heated and cooled, and come in a variety of materials. The dash is easy to read, and the steering wheel is sufficiently chunky with just enough redundant controls to avoid technological overload."

Still, as Motor Trend observes, “utility is not as high a priority as is performance. There are only two rows, and cargo volume actually decreased for 2009.” The Associated Press says the FX Infiniti “can feel cramped in the back seat, where there's a sizable hump in the middle seat area and the rear windows are smaller than windows in more squared-off SUVs.” Still, the AP notes, there is “enough legroom—34.6 inches—that the front seats could go back on their tracks and recline some and I was still okay back there.”

Cars.com says carrying capacity gets only fair marks: while "cargo volume behind [the 60/40-split rear] is 24.8 cubic feet; with the seats folded, it totals 62.0 cubic feet." These figures are "slightly lower than previous FX's," and "they're well short of many competitors." Not only that, the AP adds, “there isn't much height in the cargo space, so tall items don't fit well.”

Motor Trend is typical of many reviewers regarding the FX: Infiniti has moved even more upscale with its interior finishes. “The cabin has undergone major changes, with new gauges, steering wheel, and quality materials,” they write. Car and Driver says, “the FX’s interior finish improves several notches with diamond-pleated leather detailing and hockey-stick-shaped accents of real wood on the doors.”

Visibility is an issue, though the AP says, “It just took a while to adjust to the views created by the smallish rear window and the big steel pillars around the windshield.” A rearview camera and monitor are standard on every FX; Infiniti’s newest feature helps most, according to Motor Trend: “What really helps with parking is the new optional Around View Monitor, introduced on the [Infiniti] EX. At first, this feature, which shows an overhead view of the vehicle,” alerts the driver to obstacles all around the perimeter of the vehicle.

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2009 INFINITI FX

Safety

The 2009 Infiniti FX has an admirable list of safety features, but no testing has been done by the government.

The 2009 Infiniti FX has an extensive array of standard safety gear and some leading-edge safety options. As yet, though, the federal government and private insurance industry groups have not crash tested the new SUV.

ConsumerGuideAuto states, "available safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction control, antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags." Cars.com reports that "standard safety features include active head restraints, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows. Traction control, an electronic stability system and four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are also standard."

Cars.com says high-tech options such as Lane Departure Prevention "can scan the road for lane markings and, should the FX Infiniti drift too close, apply light brakes to keep it in its lane." But what's really great is the FX's "advanced cruise control system can bring the vehicle to a complete stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic." The Around View monitor is also an option, as is adaptive cruise control, which allows drivers to program their vehicle to remain a set distance behind cars ahead in the lane.

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2009 INFINITI FX

Features

The 2009 Infiniti FX has a stunning array of standard and optional features.

The 2009 Infiniti FX shines in standard and optional features, ranging from DVD navigation systems to satellite radio to Bluetooth to high-tech systems that help the driver move safely and swiftly down the road.

Cars.com notes that in the FX, Infiniti installs many new features, such as "an electronically adaptive suspension, which continually reacts to changing road conditions, is optional on the FX 50. So is Rear Active Steer, which can angle the rear wheels slightly to enhance turning precision.” Steering-wheel paddle shifters are optional, they note.

Autoblog gives kudos to Infiniti’s adaptive cruise control. All you have to do is "set the cruise control at any speed between 1 and 90 mph and the FX keeps a safe (three-second) following distance from the car ahead. It's easy, functional and could turn into a necessity for those of us in traffic-choked urban areas." Autoblog also likes the fact that the Around View Monitor "worked flawlessly during our drive and prevented us from scraping those delicious dubs when trying to fit into a parking space in San Diego's Gas Lamp District."

ConsumerGuideAuto points out other features such as "a 9.3GB hard drive to store digital media files, an advanced climate control system that filters mold and deodorizes air, a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic information, DVD entertainment, and a wireless cell-phone link."

TheCarConnection.com has favorite options on the new FX: Infiniti includes features editors love, such as the DVD navigation system and the Around View monitor, but it's the big, blingy 21-inch wheels that set the top versions apart and distinguish the FX Infiniti on the street.

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8.6
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Expert Rating
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Styling 8.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 10.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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