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2009 Infiniti FX50S, like a hippo in a tux (review)

The 2009 Infiniti FX50S will surprise you with its level of performance, the luxury of its cabin, and its very advanced cabin and safety tech. What you shouldn't be surprised by is the big SUV fuel economy.

Infiniti FX50S AWD
Read the full Infiniti FX50S review. Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

Whether the Infiniti FX's bulbous curves can be considered beautiful is debatable, but one thing we know for certain is that--in FX50S trim--it certainly is imposing. With muscular front fenders, a large dark chrome grill, and a pair of the most aggressive headlights we've ever seen on an SUV, the 2009 Infiniti FX50S prowls the streets looking like an angry hippopotamus on 21-inch wheels.

Before you laugh, there's something you should know about the hippo. It is one of the most aggressive animals in the world, and is often regarded as the most dangerous animal in Africa and can prove quite agile and powerful when provoked. Surprisingly, despite its stocky shape a hippo can quite easily outrun an Olympic sprinter.

The same goes for the FX50S. With its mighty 5-liter V-8 and continuously damping controlled suspension, when equipped with the Sport Package, this is one big SUV that will surprise you with its speed and nimbleness. Put the seven-speed automatic transmission into the Sport mode or slap the paddle shifter for a rev-matched downshift and the FX50S will throw you back in your seat as it rockets forward with a roar.

The FX50S isn't all power and brutality. Inside the cabin is a surprise of a different kind, with luxurious leather trim and a very advanced cabin tech packages.

Read the full Infiniti FX50S review.