What is so great about the new Infiniti vehicle? What are its positives and negatives? Read on…
For most SUVs, the term “sport” typically means, “this boat can haul you and your buddies to go watch a sporting event…” But happily, Infiniti’s FX35 AWD is different; it puts the Sport in SUV in four important ways:
- First, the FX35 comes with a powerful (303 horsepower) and responsive variant of Nissan’s classic V-6, with one added plus; it has a baritone exhaust note so fine it would have made Beethoven weep for joy.
- Second, it’s got a slick, smooth shifting seven-speed automatic that has an uncanny knack for always being in the right gear (you can shift it manually if you want to, but we found the transmission typically made better and quicker choices than we did).
- Third, and this is the part we didn’t see coming, the FX35 has a firm, beautifully damped suspension that makes it as well if not better suited for spirited motoring than many so-called sports sedans. Go figure.
- Fourth, the Infiniti has well-weighted steering plus seats that split the difference between luxury car comfort and panache vs. sports car grip and support (but with lots of emphasis on support).
- Vibrant V-6 and great seven-speed automatic
- Firm, well dialed-in suspension
- Inviting, exciting interior
- Not nearly as space efficient as it could be
- Suspension might be a little too stiff for confirmed luxophiles
- Limited rear quarter visibility
Luxury and technology touches abound, some of them gimmicky, but the majority of them clever and genuinely useful. The utility side of the FX35’s SUV equation is good, but not great (space utilization could be better). Styling is curvaceous and dramatic and for that reason, perhaps, an acquired taste (but judging by reactions in our offices, it’s a taste a whole lot of people have acquired).
Bottom line: This is an SUV for drivers — one that evokes strong (and usually positive) emotional responses, while winning over SUV skeptics.