Infiniti's bulbous beast
Infiniti's FX35 is back for the 2010 model year with the same bulbous aesthetic and grin-inducing performance, plus a refreshed cabin technology package.
Same ol' VQ
Our FX35's engine room is filled by Nissan/Infiniti's workhorse VQ-series 3.5-liter V-6. At its most potent tune in this incarnation, the engine outputs a hearty 303-horsepower.
Before being sent to the rear wheels, power must flow through the FX's seven-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox features a manual shift mode and a sport mode that holds lower gears longer for more aggressive throttle response and downshifts when slowing to keep the engine speed lively.
The FX's curvaceous design isn't for everyone, but over time we've grown to understand its odd aesthetic. The FX is many things, but anonymous isn't one of them.
Nose to tail, the FX isn't much longer than the Infiniti G sedan, with which it shares a platform. Wheelbase and track aren't too different, either. However, the crossover does have an extra 500-pounds of weight to lug around, with less power to boot.
Equipped with the V-6 and rear-wheel drive, the FX35 crosses the EPA's finish line at 16 city and 23 highway miles per gallon. Spend any amount of time in the transmission's Sport mode, and you can expect much lower numbers.
The FX's rear hatch opens to reveal a pretty good amount of storage space with a nice low load-in height.
With high window sills and small rear glass, visibility is not the FX's strong point. Fortunately, a rear view monitor is standard equipment.
Around View Monitor
Specify the Navigation package and the FX gains three more cameras at the front and sides that can be stitched together by the Around View Monitor system. This gives the driver a bird's eye view of the area around the car, dramatically increasing low-speed safety.
We were constantly amazed at how well this big girl danced. Through sweeping curves, the FX settled in and just gripped without drama, hurtling down backroads at well over the posted limits--accidentally, of course. However, through sharp switchbacks and hairpins, the FX protested, making its heft known.
Equipped with both Premium and Deluxe Touring packages, this is about as good as the FX's interior gets, with nice leather appointments, metal details, and a few subtle wood inserts. The dashboard curves out, making the cabin appear more spacious despite its low (for an SUV) ceiling.
Handsome electroluminescent gauges inform the driver of vital vehicle information, and a monochromatic screen displays secondary information.
The FX's entire infotainment system has received a visual overhaul with crisper graphics, smoother textures, and anti-aliased text. This improves readability and gives the system a classy air that matches the rest of the interior.
XM satellite radio is standard. When paired with the Navigation package, you also gain access to XM NavTraffic.
XM NavWeather adds current weather conditions and forecasts for your current location and your destination. Weather bulletins and traffic updates appear on the map if an alert happens near you or along your route.
The FX features single-wire iPod integration through its USB port. New for this model year is the capability to display album artwork.
Bluetooth is also standard for hands-free calling. The system imports a paired phone's address book for easy onscreen and voice search. When upgraded with the Navigation package, the Bluetooth system gets a boost in the form of A2DP/AVRCP audio streaming.
DVD video and audio
The in-dash single slot DVD player reads DVD-audio discs and, when parked, plays back DVD video.
Safety features include a system that steers the car for you if you drift out of the lane (Lane Departure Prevention) and a system that will stop the car to avoid an accident if you're not paying attention (Distance Control Assist).