2007 Infiniti FX45 AWD review: 2007 Infiniti FX45 AWD

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The 2007 Infiniti FX45 combines peppy performance and surefooted handling with a wealth of standard technology features. Options include some of the most sophisticated driver-assist systems on the market.

The Bad For being a crossover, the FX45 displays disappointingly low gas mileage. Its bold exterior styling leads to severely impeded interior visibility.

The Bottom Line The 2007 Infiniti FX45's futuristic exterior houses a wealth of entertainment and communication tech in the cabin. Its car-based platform and brawny V-8 give it admirable performance, but you'll pay for it at the pump.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall
  • Cabin tech 8.0
  • Design 8.0
  • Performance tech 8.0

The first thing that struck us when we took receipt of the 2007 Infiniti FX45 was its space-age look. The car-based SUV's curvy lines and flowing profile boldly go where few other crossover designs have gone before. Once onboard, we found enough tech to justify casting this car in its own science fiction movie. Our FX45 tester came complete with Infiniti's $4,200 Technology Package, which loaded it with the same navigation system we saw in the 2007 Infiniti M35 Sport (although without the latter's amazing voice-command interface), Bluetooth hands-free calling, a back-up camera, Intelligent Cruise Control, and a Lane Departure Warning system.

Test the tech: To Infiniti and beyond
Inspired by its space-age design and the myriad features of its navigation system, we decided to test the FX45's tech by taking it on an extraterrestrial adventure. Unable to get a permit from NASA to exit the Earth's atmosphere on short notice, we devised a modified interplanetary trek around the streets of San Francisco. With some help from Google Maps, we put together a list of destinations for our galactic goose chase: Neptune Street, Uranus Terrace, Mars Street, Saturn Street, the Vulcan Staircase, and Earth. (Well, OK, the Green Earth organic supermarket, but we're doing what we can do here.)

To boldly go: our itinerary for testing the FX45's navigation system.

The plan was to enter the Green Earth as our final destination, with all the other locations programmed as way points. This way we figured that before even leaving the CNET garage, we could punch in all the information needed to get to our five locations. In practice, programming our multistop trip into the FX45's navigation system was straightforward. Unlike the M35 Sport we reviewed last year, the FX45 has no voice-command option for entering destinations verbally. Instead, we had to make use of the bank buttons and the rotary dial in the car's central stack.

Uranus Terrace was the second stop on our journey.

Fortunately, Infiniti does away with the twiddly joystick control that Nissan uses in its cars, relying instead on a collection of buttons and a rotary dial as the main interface. Entering a destination can be done using one of a range of options including: street address, point of interest, address book, telephone number (for businesses), previous entries, and by using the onscreen cursor to pick a point on the map. When selecting by address, drivers use the buttons on the four-way control dial to pick letters from a virtual, onscreen keyboard. The system uses predictive entry, so only letters for available addresses are selectable. Ideally, we would like the processor to have been a bit more responsive, as some menu and input screens took a few seconds to refresh once a selection had been made. With the destination and all way points loaded, we set out with the intention of not touching the navigation system again until we had completed our adventure.

Followed by Saturn Street.

While we were unable to enter street destinations by voice on the FX45, the car itself was able to inform us of street names thanks to its text-to-voice capability, which enables the navigation system to read out individual street names during voice guidance. With this useful feature and the system's clear maps and timely suggestions--including extremely helpful guidance when getting on and off the freeway--we reached our initial destination (Neptune Street) without making a single wrong turn. We particularly like the inclusion of the "Voice" button on the dial for calling up voice guidance on demand and the "Where am I" function in the Route menu, which gives information on current location by giving distances to previous and upcoming roads.

Having arrived at our first waypoint, the navigation system automatically recalibrated to set Uranus Terrace as the next stop, without us having to touch a single one of the dozens of buttons on the central stack (we counted more than 30). On the way to our second destination, the system displayed one of its two downfalls by advising us to turn left onto a major road in direct violation of the No Left Turn sign. Instead, we took three right turns and were back on track. We reached the second way point without any further trouble, and, once there, the system reset itself to head for Mars Street, just one block away. We managed to get only halfway down this block, however, before the navigation system informed us that we had "Arrived at way point three." In reality, we still had at least 100 feet to go. Way points four and five were reached without incident, although we experienced a similarly premature announcement when approaching our final destination. Overall, we were impressed with the performance of the Infiniti navigation system to direct us to multiple locations on the same trip.

In the cabin
The interior of the Infiniti FX45 is a mixture of classic fixtures and trim (rosewood trim and elliptical chrome-trimmed analog clock) and flowing, ergonomic design in keeping with the car's exterior. Forward visibility is excellent, as the cowl sits relatively low, giving the driver good sight lines over the FX45's wavy hood. Rearward visibility, on the other hand, is extremely limited due to a combination of the car's huge C-pillars and its narrow rear windshield. With the presence of an adult passenger in the center-rear seat, it is almost impossible to see behind. Another gripe we have with the interior design is the lack of legroom for back-seat passengers. For some reason, Infiniti decided to add large, protruding pads on the back of both of the front seats, which extend into the rear seating area, making an already tight space even tighter. As well as having to incur the ire of the blindsided driver, any passenger in the center-rear seat also will have to endure the discomfort of a raised platform in the footwell, which presumably acts as a conduit for the wiring to the rear-seat DVD console.

As a testament to its arsenal of onboard tech, the central stack in the cabin of the FX45 constitutes a massive cluster of buttons, dials, and knobs sitting beneath an in-dash LCD display. The 2007 FX45 comes with a 300-watt Bose audio system, which makes itself heard through 11-speakers around the cabin. The standard audio deck is a six-disc in-dash changer that will play MP3 and WMA discs as well as regular CDs. For MP3 and WMA tracks, the system displays full ID3 tag information (press the Display hard button), although, there appears to be no way of browsing files without skipping through tracks. Also, while the system shows RDS information at the bottom of the map screen, this is not the case with digital audio files--to see what's currently playing, users have to navigate away from the map screen. We prefer the way that Cadillac allows drivers to see map and audio information on a single screen.

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