Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Infiniti FX35: The Brand's Five-Passenger Performance-Oriented Crossover

Highlight: The FX shares the same platform as Nissan’s 370Z. This explains why this vehicle drives more like a performance vehicle than a luxury vehicle.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $49,975 (Base price starts at $43,495)

Standard Features: 18-inch wheels; a seven-speed automatic transmission; power front seats;a rear-view camera; push-button starter; keyless door opener; HID (High Intensity Discharge) bi-functional headlights; a dark chrome grille; speed sensitive windshield wipers; power folding (heated) adjustable mirrors; power-assist liftgate (opening and closing); and dual exhaust pipes.

Standard Audio System: a 11-speaker Bose audio system which includes a 6-disc CD player with MP3 Playback, a 2.0 GB Music Box with 800 MB storage and XM Satellite radio

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 60,000 miles

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

iPod connectivity: Yes

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/303-hp

Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/23-hwy

What’s New: With the exception of Infiniti making a few content package adjustments, the rear-wheel drive, five-passenger crossover is basically a carryover for the 2011 model-year.

Pros: The bold, in-your-face radical design of the FX definitely makes a statement unlike most of today’s look-alike crossovers. The FX, which is suitable for all driving conditions, is capable of conquering all-weather conditions since it’s available in either a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. In addition to the luxury crossover being an all-weather vehicle, the FX35 is capable of achieving 450 miles off of one-tank of gas.

And for the buyer seeking an even gutsier FX, an 8-cylinder FX50 is available, which offers a 390-horspower, 5.0-liter engine. Stepping into the 8-cylinder monstrous engine means that one will have to dole out an extra $5,000 over the 6-cylinder engine.

Besides the FX’s performance, Infiniti engineers have managed to incorporate an array of available advanced technology systems: Distance Control Assist (DCA), which helps reduce the burden of driving in heavy traffic by intuitively prompting the driver to release the throttle and apply the brakes to maintain distance to the vehicle ahead; a Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems, which alerts the driver of an unintended lane departure; and Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), which helps alert the driver that a collision may be imminent and provides automatic braking to help reduce the risk of injury if a collision is unavoidable.

Moreover, the FX can be outfitted with such must-have luxury features as climate-controlled front seats, dual memory seats, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a real-time traffic (and weather ) system, roof rails and a monitor that not only examines the rear of the vehicle, but the side and front too. All of this is available in the FX35, when the Premium Package is ordered.

Furthermore, for those seeking to enhance the look and ride of the FX, 21-inch wheels are available directly from the factory. In fact, our vehicle was equipped with Infiniti’s 20-inch factory wheels.

Cons: While this vehicle competes in the same league as the Lexus RX, it doesn’t offer the same luxury car ride. In fact, the FX35 rides more like a truck, although it’s based-off the same platform as a sports car.

Also while we found the FX immersed with loads of technology, we were somewhat disappointed that the crossover lacks an electronic blind spot lane changing system, which provides audible and visual alerts to the driver -- before changing lanes.

The Verdict: For those looking for more than just a smooth-riding, luxurious crossover, the FX will fit the bill. As we noted earlier, the FX provides a sporty, distinctive style, great handling, sports car performance and loads of high-tech features.

Competition: Ford Edge Sport, Lexus RX350, Lincoln MKX, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90

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