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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
May 29, 2008

Buying tip

The 2008 Infiniti EX35 comes well equipped in its standard form. Less than $2,000 separates the rear-wheel-drive model from the all-wheel-drive version. However, checking many option boxes on the order sheet easily adds $8,000 to this $35,000 vehicle. Your accountant would probably agree with TheCarConnection.com that too many "checks" isn't a good idea.

features & specs

AWD 4-Door
AWD 4-Door Journey
RWD 4-Door
16 city / 23 hwy
16 city / 23 hwy
17 city / 24 hwy

Because of the Infiniti EX35, 2008 could be year of the right-sized crossover. Many people are looking for SUV style without SUV size, and they should be particularly attracted to this offering.

TheCarConnection.com’s resident enthusiasts studied the latest reviews on the new 2008 Infiniti EX35 to write this comprehensive review. Editors at TheCarConnection.com also drove the EX35 to offer you a definitive opinion on this small, elegant, and not-inexpensive crossover. This review also compares the 2008 Infiniti EX35 with other vehicles in its class to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.

Nissan launched its Infiniti division back in 1989. Back then, some of its models were nothing more than tarted-up Datsuns (what Nissans were called before they were Nissans). But there is nothing even remotely tarted up about the 2008 Infiniti EX35. As a matter of fact, the only Nissan that shares parts with the EX35 is the respected 350Z, a solid performer in everybody's book. In addition to tracing its genealogy to the Z, the EX35
shares even more with Infiniti's current G35 sport sedan and G37 sport coupe. These are good genes to have.

The genesis for the EX35 comes from a notion that traditional SUVs and crossovers are still too big for some buyers, so Infiniti kept the size of the EX on the tidy side. As a matter of fact, its wheelbase and key interior dimensions are smaller than those of the G35 sedan, which means there's not an excess of room in the backseat--though front-seat passengers will feel coddled. The look is handsome and sophisticated, with a techno-modern feel that's absent from similar vehicles from Lexus, for example.

Power comes from the G35's smooth-revving 297-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and a five-speed automatic. The little crossover's suspension is buttoned down, making you feel as if you're piloting a sporty sedan instead of an SUV. Adding to this performance-oriented base, Infiniti offers a host of safety-related options that may warrant more of your attention: Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, and Around View Monitoring. There's also an extensive set of airbags, along with stability and traction control and anti-lock brakes.

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You'll like having the 2008 Infiniti EX35 parked out in front of your house or in your driveway.

The 2008 Infiniti EX35 exhibits tasteful, contemporary design and a streamlined appearance.

Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com were impressed with the appearance of the 2008 Infiniti EX35. The Auto Channel was especially complimentary, extolling the "EX35's sculpted elegance [that] expresses a timeless appeal -- sleek lines that portray speed, grace and finesse." Pointing out that it was "built by a company devoted to style," Motor Week opines that the 2008 Infiniti EX35 "embodies plenty of it...[with] an arching, coupelike roofline, a double-arch grille, L-shaped headlamps, and aggressive proportions."

Cars.com notes the "rear end recalls Infiniti's larger FX model, for better and for worse." While it presents a "sporty and stylish" appearance, this design has come at a cost, making "for a relatively tight cargo area."

ForbesAutos praises the sleek design "inside and out." Edmunds describes the dashboard as "distinctive...[the design] flows around the driver in soft waves." Cars.com likes the interior as well: “The interior is appointed like other Infiniti models, which is to say nicely, with modern, high-quality materials and design. Aluminum trim appears sparingly and is effective, as is the black-lacquer bezel on the center console and control panel.” The optional maple interior trim "spruces up the cabin," according to Motor Week; overall, the vehicle has "style...and sport."

TheCarConnection.com agrees with other Web publications. In recent test drives, editors observed that the 2008 Infiniti EX35’s look is handsome and sophisticated, with a techno-modern feel that's absent from similar vehicles from Lexus, for example.

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The 2008 Infiniti EX35 has plenty of power and a drivetrain that makes it a pleasure to drive.

The 2008 Infiniti EX35 provides sporty driving enjoyment atypical of most vehicles in its class, according to reviews consulted by TheCarConnection.com.

Motor Trend reports that “the EX is inspired by a 3.5-liter version of Nissan's VQ-series V-6, which delivers 297 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque.” A five-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive round out the package, Cars.com says. Edmunds notes “the "transmission's ability to match revs on downshifts."

Edmunds calls the engine "responsive...with more than adequate oomph over the rev range, and competent passing power." On the subject of fuel economy, TheCarConnection.com finds there is minimal difference between the two- and all-wheel-drive versions; both average around 20 mpg. Cars.com says, “At 17/24 mpg with rear-wheel- and 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive, the EX's mileage is typical of small luxury SUVs but a bit lower than the sport wagon average.” Edmunds reports that "premium gasoline is recommended for optimal performance and mileage," but the vehicle will run on regular as well.

The all-wheel-drive option--which costs $1,400 extra--offers "snow mode," which splits the power between the front and rear wheels 50/50, according to ConsumerGuide.

Car and Driver calls the 2008 Infiniti EX35 the "sportiest ute yet," succeeding where the late and unlamented AMC Eagle failed, as a carlike SUV that "looks good and promises to drive even better."

According to Edmunds, the 2008 Infiniti EX35 is "quicker than any of its peers and arguably has the best ride/handling balance of any premium compact crossover as well." Cars.com says, “the EX35 offers spirited handling with excellent dynamics,” and
“the ride quality is firm but comfortable — more like a sport sedan than an SUV.” AutoWeek adds that it “handles with aplomb, carving freeway ramps nicely for a small SUV while always exhibiting a stable ride.”

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Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Infiniti EX35 is well-finished inside, but backseat room is small.

TheCarConnection.com notes that despite overall satisfaction with interior comfort and quality, the 2008 Infiniti EX35 is a bit short on room. This impression is confirmed at Car and Driver, which describes this vehicle as "heavier on sport than utility."

AutoWeek says, “It features high-quality materials and superbly comfortable seats,” but most reviews from across the Web noted that the 2008 Infiniti EX35 has a small backseat. “The EX35's greatest interior shortcoming is the size of its backseat,” Cars.com says, “which is especially frustrating, because the lack of space seems unnecessary.” Motor Trend points out that compared to the Acura RDX, “Rear-seat legroom, at 28.5 inches, pales to the 37.7 in the RDX, and the meager 16.8 cubic feet of cargo volume (only 3.3 more than that of a G35) is down by a couple of Miata trunks compared with the Acura's 27.8.”

As far as materials are concerned, Cars.com mentions that "aluminum trim appears sparingly and is effective, as is the black-lacquer bezel on the center console and control panel." These are standard in the base model of the 2008 Infiniti EX35, but Edmunds reports that "the optional maple wood trim is much nicer." This source also comments that "interior materials aren't going to win any awards for quality," but those who are willing to pay extra can have genuine leather upholstery.

Other than that, Edmunds reports "solid ergonomics" all around. AutoWeek “found the interior extremely pleasant. It features high-quality materials and superbly comfortable seats.”

Cars.com appears to disagree with Edmunds on the quality issue: "The interior is appointed like other Infiniti models... with modern, high-quality materials." This source does, however, elaborate on the ergonomic features, which include a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel and power lumbar adjustment for the seats. It should be noted, however, that these are not included on the base model.

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The safety features on the 2008 Infiniti EX35 are extensive, but federal testing hasn’t been completed.

There are enough safety features available for the 2008 Infiniti EX35 to satisfy the most discerning shopper.

The Infiniti EX35 earned top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the standards of which in many ways are more stringent than those of the federal National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA has not yet tested the Infiniti EX35.

Cars.com reports that the 2008 Infiniti EX35 comes with all the standard safety equipment that most new cars employ, including a full complement of airbags, active head restraints, and anti-lock brakes.

One of the most innovative safety features sounds almost as if it came out of popular science fiction; the Around View Monitor actually allows the driver to see the vehicle from above, using "four different cameras to provide an overhead image of the vehicle," according to Edmunds.

Like many other newer vehicles, the 2008 Infiniti EX35 also offers a Lane Departure Prevention system, which sounds an alarm should the vehicle start to drift into another lane or the shoulder. In addition, the vehicle's electronic stability control system assists the driver in taking corrective action.




The 2008 Infiniti EX35 has some high-tech options available—and many features standard.

There are plenty of useful, high-tech features available for the 2008 Infiniti EX35, but the charges can tally up quickly.

ForbesAutos reports that the EX35’s paint is described as "self-healing." According to Cars.com, "Scratch Shield clearcoat paint...can heal itself of light scratches over the course of a week." However, the reviewer was hesitant to actually test it out.

This source also gives "major gee-whiz points" to the power folding second-row seat. It’s an option on more expensive EX35s.

ConsumerGuide reports that other options include a navigation system, a rearview camera, and a 9.3GB hard drive on which MP3 files can be stored (as well as any other types of digital files, it is assumed, and accessed by means of a USB connection).

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September 1, 2015

I love my Infiniti!

  • Overall Rating
  • Styling
  • Performance
  • Comfort & Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy
  • Reliability
I purchased my 2008 EX 35 in 2010. It had 26,000 miles. Now it has 85,000 miles. The only major problem I had was a busted radiator. With good well kept maintenance, this vehicle will last many years. I plan... + More »
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Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 9
Features 9
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