Pro’s: Beautiful styling, wonderful engine and transmission, handling worthy of a sports sedan
Con’s: Limited interior room, brakes
Final Thought: A beautifully styled crossover with AWD capabilities that’s a big step up from the average SUV.
When I hear the term “crossover” I immediately think of the word “compromise”. I mean let’s face it, that’s what most crossover vehicles are right? They’re a compromise between a sedan and an SUV which means that they generally don’t do anything all that well. I was recently handed the keys to the 2012 Infiniti FX35 AWD Limited Edition that you see here and strangely enough, Limited Edition in this case actually means it, as there are only 550 units being produced. All this exclusivity gets you some nicely done trim bits, special iridium blue paint, 21-inch turbine style wheels with V-rated tires, full-view cameras that surround the vehicle and a hard drive navigation system that’s pretty damn good. But what about the rest of the FX35 though, how does it stack up as an all around everyday vehicle? Click through to find out.
One look at the 2012 Infiniti FX35 Limited will tell you that this vehicle (at least from the outside) is something special. The blue iridium paint shines and those massive 21-inch wheels definitely convey a sense of performance. Combine that with a long flowing organic hood and short rear and you’d swear that this was a flat out performance machine similar to the “M” badged SUV’s from BMW. However where the “M” trucks are truly built for speed and performance, the FX35 is more of a look at me type of vehicle.
In terms of technology the FX35 is loaded to the hilt with all types of goodies. Things like a hard drive navigation system, satellite radio, Bluetooth hands free phone, push button start and a simply outstanding Bose audio system with 11 speakers help lend to a wonderful interior experience.
All functions can be controlled in one of two ways; either through steering wheel mounted controls or the push button system beneath the large navigation/menu screen in the center of the dash. The system is actually quite intuitive compared to others we’ve seen and only takes about 5 minutes of fiddling to master. Air conditioning and climate controls are also located in the center stack and unlike some other manufacturers, Infiniti has chosen to keep them straight forward and easy to use.
From a fit and finish standpoint the FX35 is top notch with no signs of cheapness going on. The seats, door panels, steering wheel and center console are done nicely with double-stitched leather, while the rest of the interior is adorned with soft-touch materials.
Now, while the interior is great to look at, there are a few faults here. The seats for instance are definitely not as supportive as I would have liked and although they were power adjustable with heat, they only offer marginal inflatable lumbar support and no A/C ventilation. I say this because at a price of $52,445.00 and a limited edition model I would have expected that.
Rear seat room is also a bit compromised as is the FX35’s storage capacity partially due to some concessions made for styling. There is no question that this is a very good looking vehicle, but in developing the FX Infiniti has negated some of what a crossover is supposed to be, that being, useful. For instance rear cargo room is 24.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 62 cubic feet with the seats down. This however is marred by the low roof line and curved automatic tailgate. Also, for such a large vehicle I would’ve expected more rear leg room. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but if you’ve got a budding family of four this may not be the best choice.
Once in the FX35 you can either insert the key fob into the appropriate slot to the left of the steering wheel or simply just hit the starter button if the fob is in range. Under the hood lies Infiniti’s proven 3.5-liter V6 that cranks out 303 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Now at first I didn’t think this would be adequate for a vehicle that weighs in at over 4,200 lbs, however I was thankfully mistaken.
The V6 pulls hard all the way up to its 7,000 rpm red-line, all the while letting the 7-speed automatic transmission make seamless shifts the faster we went. 0-60 time is rated at under 6.5 seconds which is nothing short of amazing for a V6 powered AWD crossover. If there is one true highlight in the FX35 it’s this engine and transmission. Another favorable mention would be the FX’s range. With a mileage rating of 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway, combined with an almost 24 gallon fuel tank, I was getting between 350-400 miles to a tank.
Now, as for the ride quality, well that’s another thing entirely. As we mentioned the FX35 Limited Edition comes shod with 21-inch wheels covered in low profile 265/45/21 Bridgestone tires. What this means is not only a very stiff ride, but a bumpy one as well. Vehicles of this size and weight need some sidewall on a tire for which to cushion the ride, something that the FX simply didn’t have. However, these big wheels and tires, when paired up with Infiniti’s Vehicle Dynamic Control system did help dramatically with the handling. In fact I found myself looking for twisty roads as this thing handled more like a sports sedan than a crossover vehicle. The brakes on the FX are of course anti-lock units with 12.6 ventilated discs and 4-piston aluminum calipers. Braking performance was so-so in my opinion and honestly, those little 12.6 discs seemingly disappeared behind those massive 21-inch wheels. I feel that Infiniti needs to step it up in this department.
The 2012 Infiniti FX35 AWD Limited is a good vehicle if you’re considering a high-end, sport oriented crossover. It offers plush luxury and great styling and performance that’s on par with many luxury sport sedans. However before you plop down your $52,445.00 I’d make sure that you’re actually in need of a crossover and not a full-sized luxury SUV.