Although Infiniti's FX could already be considered a crossover, Infiniti jumps in with its EX35, a smaller vehicle with an SUV-like stance but a coupe-like drop-off in back. The EX35 was introduced last year.
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Except for its height, the front of the EX35 strongly resembles Infiniti's G35 model. The headlights are adaptive and self-leveling.
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The exterior resemblance to the G35 is more than skin deep, as both cars use the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
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The roofline of the EX35 isn't too much higher than an average sedan, but it gives the driver a better view of the road.
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The rear of the EX35 looks very different from the front, with an exaggerated drop-off.
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The cargo area of the EX35 is very limited, although the rear seats do fold down. There are also buttons on the console to raise them back up.
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The quality of the interior materials and fit is very good, as we would expect from an Infiniti. This car came loaded with the navigation system, upgraded stereo, and Bluetooth cell phone integration.
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We like the handling of the EX35. It is responsive without being twitchy.
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These buttons control two advanced features on the car: the follow distance for the adaptive cruise control and the Lane Departure Prevention system, which pushes the car back into its lane if it drifts over.
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Adaptive cruise control is shown in this picture. The speed is set at 70 mph, but the car is only doing 65 mph, because of a slower car in front.
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The EX35 uses a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. In Sport mode, it shifts down when you give it some brake, going into a corner for example, and holds the lower gear. But it is a little slow to react.
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The navigation system includes live traffic reporting. Here you can see a green line on one side of the freeway, and an amber line on the other, indicating different average traffic speeds.
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The navigation system also includes 3D maps. When you zoom in in an urban area, the map shows representations of some buildings.
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The navigation system uses these rich graphics to show route guidance on freeways.
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As one digital music option, the EX35 has a compact flash slot for MP3 playback.
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The interface for music on a compact flash card is simple, letting you navigate through folders.
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iPod integration is also available on the EX35. Next to the iPod plug there are RCA jacks for auxiliary audio input.
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The onscreen iPod interface lets you choose music by artist, album, genre, and playlist.
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The maps for the navigation system are stored on a hard drive, and some space is reserved for music storage. You can rip CDs to the system just by putting them in the CD player.
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The CD player also reads MP3 CDs, but it won't copy the music over to its hard drive.
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For each music source, you can touch the text button to see all the stored information about the currently playing track.
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XM satellite radio also comes with the EX35, and is used for its live traffic reporting in addition to the available XM stations.
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We were very impressed by the Bose audio system. It uses 11 speakers, including two subwoofers and this center fill, to produce excellent sound.
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The car includes a phone book, but it only has room for 40 entries.
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The Around View Monitor uses cameras mounted under the side mirrors and on the front and back of the car to show all obstacles around the car.
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