Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 Infiniti EX35: One of the Best Performance-Oriented Crossovers on the Road



What’s New:

Now in its third-year, the midsize EX35 crossover (or baby FX35, which is Infiniti’s larger sibling crossover) is basically a carry-over for the 2010 model year. With the exception of a few interior and equipment upgrades related to the audio, navigation and climate control systems, there really aren’t any drastic changes.

Must-Have Goodies:

The EX35 is available in either a rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration in two models: a base EX35 or the upgraded EX35 Journey. Opting for the base EX35 virtually eliminates the ability to load the vehicle-up with many of the features and packages that are only available on the Journey model.
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For the 2010 model year, the upgraded EX35 Journey is available with the following all-new high-tech features: a 2.0GB Music Box hard drive; an in-dash single disc DVD audio/video drive; streaming audio via Bluetooth; and real-time weather updates from satellite radio and an Advanced Climate Control System. With the Advanced Climate Control System, the vehicle is equipped with auto-recirculation and a Plasmacluster purifier.

The Journey model we reviewed was also outfitted with a Premium Package, which included a memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors; an outside mirror with a reverse tilt-down for backing up; self-adjusting, articulating Xenon headlights; and a power remote up-folding rear-seat.
In addition to the Premium Package, our midsize crossover was accessorized with Infiniti’s Technology Package, which consisted of a Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system; a Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) system; a radar-controlled Intelligent Cruise Control system; a Distant Control Assist (DCA) system; and an Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) system with a Forward Collision Warning (FWC) system. In summary, all of these safety features will perform as needed -- to basically help the driver minimize the chance of having a major accident.  

Beyond all of the high-tech features, if one is looking to enhance the overall appearance of Infiniti’s midsize crossover, the following options can be added: 18-inch, 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with P225/55R18 V-rated all-season tires; roof rail crossbars; an aerodynamic kit; splash guards; and illuminated interior door kick-plate sills.   

 
What We Liked:

We loved the snug-fitting front seats coupled with the cozy interior of the driver-focused cabin layout of the EX35. While this vehicle is classified as a midsize crossover, the step-in height is basically the same as Infiniti’s G37 coupe and sedan. Moreover, this crossover offers the same great road manners and performance we found in its siblings, the G37 coupe and sedan.

Furthermore, the optional premium 11-speaker Bose Audio system with 2 subwoofers available only on the Journey model produces an angelic, soul-soothing sound from the speakers. Unlike a number of brands that incorporate the audio-system as an afterthought, it seems as though Infiniti’s luxurious interior is designed with the audio system in mind. Other brands can take a lesson from this Japanese automaker since this is one of the best systems we’ve heard any vehicle. 

And besides the audio system, who wouldn’t appreciate the EX35 Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) system, which builds on the brand’s Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system? Rather than relying only on an audible and visual warning system to alert the driver of unintentional vehicle movement outside the designated lane, the LDP system in this Infiniti uses the vehicle’s Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system to help assist the driver to stay in its lane.

Both LDP and the LDW systems use a small camera installed behind the windshield to detect visible lane markers in front of the vehicle and calculate its position relative to lane markers and warn the driver of lane drift (pending lane change without use of the turn signal) with a visual display and audible buzzer. Yes, big brother is definitely riding along with the driver!

What We Disliked:

Had this vehicle been out a few years earlier, it would not have been classified as a crossover, but as Infiniti’s first midsize station wagon. Infiniti realizes it’s not cool for their drivers to be seen in a station wagon so they appropriately slotted this vehicle into today’s fast-growing segment, crossovers.

Besides the cleverly disguised classification of the EX35, the rear-wheel drive configuration of this cozy crossover makes it a tight fit for adults in the back seat, limiting both leg and hip room. Oh yes, with this vehicle being loaded with so many high-tech safety driving features, why is blind-spot lane changing technology not standard on this vehicle, warning driver’s of vehicles in its blind-spot before changing lanes? Even some of the lower-end, non premium brands offer this new blind-spot technology.   

Furthermore, it’s too bad the base EX35 isn’t available with a navigation system. One will need to step into a Journey to get this feature. What a shame? Oh yes, is there a manual transmission option being considered? We believe a six-speed manual transmission would be appropriate for this performance-oriented crossover. 


.Any Juice:

Under the hood of the EX35, one will find a more than adequate 297-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission.


The Verdict:

For those in the market for a well-built, easy-to-navigate, utilitarian, performance-oriented luxury vehicle, the EX35 easily fits the bill. While the sensuous flowing interior design is a spin-off from Infiniti’s best-selling G37-series, immediately upon entering the driver-oriented cabin it’s easy to forget this is a crossover. The style, flair, performance and array of high-tech features of the EX35 place this vehicle into a category by itself.

To get into a base EX35, one will spend approximately $34,000. However, the base model lacks many of the advanced features noted in the “Must-Have Goodies Section.” Conversely, pricing for a well-equipped all-wheel drive Journey model tops out at around $46,700, while a comparably equipped rear-wheel drive model is about $2,000 less. 

Competition: Acura’s RDX, Audi’s Q5, Lexus’ RX350 and Volvo’s XC60

4 comments:

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