2008 INFINITI EX35

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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2008 INFINITI EX35. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Innovative technology
  • Lots of safety features
  • Styling is easy on the eyes
  • Many luxury options

The Bad

  • Cargo space
  • Gas mileage
  • AWD and leather upholstery cost extra

Notable Features of the 2008 INFINITI EX35

  • All-new for 2008
  • Competes with BMW X3, Acura RDX
  • Multiple parking cameras optional
  • Optional Lane Departure Prevention system
  • 297-hp V-6

2008 INFINITI EX35 Road Test

Joe Wiesenfelder

The new Infiniti EX35 seemed too good to be true: a sporty five-seat crossover SUV to compete with the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Land Rover LR2 — bargain priced and available with what seemed the coolest feature to come along in years: Around View Monitor. While testing the EX, I realized its small size and lack of towing capability make it compete as much if not more with wagons like the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 328 and Volvo V50 T5. It compares favorably with these models, but the price difference isn't as jaw-dropping among these peers as it is versus the X3 and LR2.

And yes, the Around View Monitor option, which uses multiple cameras to let you see all the way around the EX35, turns out to be the coolest and most useful feature I've seen in years.

 

Exterior & Styling
The Infiniti EX35 is indeed a tall sport wagon/crossover/SUV, and it's clearly an Infiniti, with the brand's signature grille, and headlights that creep up the tops of the fenders. Our test vehicle had roof rails, which come standard on the Journey trim level. (Cross-bars are an option to complete the roof rack.) The base EX35, which isn't eligible for any factory options, has a streamlined look because the side roof rails aren't standard. The rear end recalls Infiniti's larger FX model, for better and for worse. The look is sporty and stylish, but it makes for a relatively tight cargo area. Though the EX is similar in size to the compact Rogue SUV from parent company Nissan, the platforms are di...

The new Infiniti EX35 seemed too good to be true: a sporty five-seat crossover SUV to compete with the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Land Rover LR2 — bargain priced and available with what seemed the coolest feature to come along in years: Around View Monitor. While testing the EX, I realized its small size and lack of towing capability make it compete as much if not more with wagons like the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 328 and Volvo V50 T5. It compares favorably with these models, but the price difference isn't as jaw-dropping among these peers as it is versus the X3 and LR2.

And yes, the Around View Monitor option, which uses multiple cameras to let you see all the way around the EX35, turns out to be the coolest and most useful feature I've seen in years.

 

Exterior & Styling
The Infiniti EX35 is indeed a tall sport wagon/crossover/SUV, and it's clearly an Infiniti, with the brand's signature grille, and headlights that creep up the tops of the fenders. Our test vehicle had roof rails, which come standard on the Journey trim level. (Cross-bars are an option to complete the roof rack.) The base EX35, which isn't eligible for any factory options, has a streamlined look because the side roof rails aren't standard. The rear end recalls Infiniti's larger FX model, for better and for worse. The look is sporty and stylish, but it makes for a relatively tight cargo area. Though the EX is similar in size to the compact Rogue SUV from parent company Nissan, the platforms are different. The Rogue offers front- or all-wheel drive where the EX comes with rear- or all-wheel drive.


Here's how the EX measures up against crossover SUVs:

Dimensions: Small Luxury Crossovers
  Acura RDX BMW X3 Infiniti EX35 Land Rover LR2
Length (in.) 180.7 179.9 182.3 177.1
Width (in.) 73.6 73.0 71.0 75.1
Height (in.) 65.2 66.0 61.9 68.5
Turning diameter (ft.) 39.2 38.4 36.0* 37.0
*AWD model; RWD turning diameter is 34.8 ft.
Source: Manufacturer data

 

The EX is longer but narrower than crossovers and sits a bit lower. It has the tightest turning circle.

 

Dimensions: Compact Luxury Wagons
  Audi A4 Avant (wagon) BMW 328i wagon Infiniti EX35 Volvo V50 (wagon)
Length (in.) 180.6 178.2 182.3 178.0
Width (in.) 69.8 71.5 71.0 69.7
Height (in.) 56.2 57.3 61.9 58.0
Turning diameter (ft.) 36.4 36.0* 34.8** 35.0
*RWD model; AWD turning diameter is 38.8 ft.
**RWD model; AWD turning diameter is 36.0 ft.
Source: Manufacturer data

 

Among compact luxury wagons, the Infiniti EX35 is again the longest and is comparable in width but sits higher, riding the line between wagon and SUV. In this company, the rear-wheel-drive version's turning circle is on the tighter side, but it's unremarkable with AWD, which widens the turning diameter. The Audi is the only one of the four models compared that doesn't offer two-wheel-drive. (The Volvo does, but both versions share the same turning measurement.)


A feature I thought it best not to test was the Scratch Shield clearcoat paint, which Infiniti says can heal itself of light scratches over the course of a week. You'll have to wait until the 2010 model year for a liquid-metal 
Infiniti EX35 that morphs into a bad cop and tries to terminate John Connor.

 

Ride & Handling
The ride quality is firm but comfortable — more like a sport sedan than an SUV. Our roads are well-cratered after a harsh winter, and there were times when I wished my vehicle had the standard 17-inch alloy wheels rather than the optional 18s. The standard higher-series tires measure P225/60R17, which means they'd have a slightly higher sidewall than the optional P225/55R18 versions — not a huge difference, but I'd take any help I could get. Both sizes are all-season tires.

Based as it is on the same rear-drive platform as Infiniti's G and M sedans, the EX35 offers spirited handling with excellent dynamics. The rear-drive version's weight distribution is 52.5/47.5 (front/rear), and AWD makes it 54.6/45.4. When you push it hard into corners, the accelerator helps you achieve the right balance, even in the AWD version, thanks to its ability to send more pounds-feet of torque to the rear wheels. The EX is no SUV, but I definitely felt the extra height relative to a conventional wagon like the 328i. Though the body itself is narrow, the EX's wheels have a wide stance and it feels grounded, and a standard electronic stability system keeps it going where pointed in low-traction situations.

Going & Stopping
The standard drivetrain is a 3.5-L V6 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Two-wheel drive is another feature that's common among the wagons but rare in the SUVs. In the Infiniti EX, the AWD option adds $1,400 and subtracts 1 mpg. At 17/24 mpg with rear-wheel- and 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive, the EX's mileage is typical of small luxury SUVs but a bit lower than the sport wagon average. Premium gasoline is recommended for optimal performance and mileage but isn't required. It's highly unlikely that regular gas will decrease your fuel economy enough to negate the money saved over premium gas.

As it is in so many Nissan and Infiniti models, the responsive engine is a high point, with more than adequate oomph over the rev range, and competent passing power. The transmission shifts smoothly in normal circumstances — and smartly and efficiently when in a hurry. The clutchless-manual operation — activated by sliding the shifter to the left from the Drive position, and then forward and back to upshift and downshift — also responds quickly. Some shoppers are sure to bemoan the lack of steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, but I seldom find a use for such things away from the racetrack.

The Inside
The interior is appointed like other Infiniti models, which is to say nicely, with modern, high-quality materials and design. Aluminum trim appears sparingly and is effective, as is the black-lacquer bezel on the center console and control panel. Standard equipment includes eight-way-power driver's and four-way-power front passenger's seats with cloth upholstery and a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Leather upholstery, heated seats and side mirrors, power lumbar adjustment, driver's seat-position and side-mirror memory and an eight-way power passenger seat are all available as options, but only on the Journey, which costs $3,550 more to begin with.

The 
Infiniti EX35's greatest interior shortcoming is the size of its backseat, which is especially frustrating, because the lack of space seems unnecessary. Take a look at the front and backseat legroom versus the competition, and the EX seems unbalanced.

Interior Dimensions Compared
  Legroom (front/rear, in.) Cargo volume (behind seats/seats folded, cu. ft.) Headroom (front/rear, in.) Shoulder room (front/rear, in.)
Acura RDX 41.8/37.7 28.8/60.6 38.7/38.3 58.2/56.3
BMW X3 40.2/35.8 30.0/71.0 38.1/37.8 55.6/55.0
Land Rover LR2 41.9/36.4 26.7/58.9 40.2/39.4 57.6/57.3
Infiniti EX35 44.3/28.5 18.6/47.4 40.5/38.4 54.8/55.1
Audi A4 Avant (wagon) 41.3/34.3 27.8/59.0 37.9/37.2 55.1/53.4
BMW 328i wagon 41.5/34.6 16.2/60.9 38.5/38.0 55.4/55.1
Volvo V50 (wagon) 41.6/34.4 12.8/62.9 38.9/38.1 55.2/54.1
Source: Manufacturer data

 

Yes, it has more legroom in front than the other guys, but the backseat suffers. If you're a long-legged driver, this might make the EX more appealing, but it seems to make a sacrifice that disadvantages the masses. Because this is a rear-wheel-drive platform, there's a high center hump in the floor, and that complicates things further. All that being said, be sure to check out any perspective purchase yourself; and bring the family along. Standard interior measurements don't always do the best job representing three-dimensional space.

 

Power-Folding Backseat
Among the interesting features is a power-folding backseat, which comes standard in the Infiniti EX35 Journey trim level. We've seen power folding before, but it's plenty unique to find it designed to both raise and lower the seats ... in the second row ... in a vehicle of this size. There's a rocker switch on either side of the cargo area for its corresponding seat, and another pair immediately behind the gear selector for the driver's use. The 60/40-split segments work quickly and effectively, often without any adjustment necessary to the head restraints or front seats. Major gee-whiz points here, but unfortunately the rear seats can't be slid forward and back; given the choice, I'd rather have this capability — to better share space between the cargo area and backseat. The tight backseat might be more of a deal-breaker than the power folding is a deal-maker.

Around View Monitor
If you believe the advent of the backup camera was a boon for convenience and safety, prepare to be blown away. The idea of cameras all around the vehicle is compelling enough, but you don't get the full impact until you see the dashboard display. The cameras may be on the grille, the liftgate and under each side mirror, but the scene you see on the LCD looks like it's shot from a tree overlooking the Infiniti EX35. It's just amazing, and extremely useful. Put the transmission in Reverse, and the left part of the screen shows the view behind you, just like a regular backup camera. Included are superimposed lines that indicate where your fenders will be; as with the best systems, the lines curve as you turn the steering wheel. The right-hand side of the display has the overhead view of the car, with four quadrants stitched together to form a complete picture. As you move, you see curbs, parking stripes and other cars corners relative to your own.


There's more: Push a button, and you get a detailed view of the passenger side to help get you close to the curb without scraping your wheels, no matter your tire size. Though the system doesn't work if you accelerate above a couple mph, you can use it when driving forward, too, by pushing the "Camera" button. In this mode, the backup image on the main frame is replaced by a forward view, complete with curving fender lines here, too. Combine all this with the beeping sonar proximity sensors, and you have one mean parking machine. I don't care if parking is easy — for you or wherever you happen to park. You want this. It's too, too cool, and it prevents scrapes and helps fit you into parking spaces you might otherwise not be comfortable attempting. It'll cost you $1,950, though, in the optional Technology Package — again, offered only with the Journey trim level. It also includes Intelligent Cruise Control — which maintains a set distance from the car in front of you, even if it slows down — and Lane Departure Warning and Prevention.

Lane Departure Warning and Prevention
Infiniti has offered Lane Departure Warning on some models for a few years, and now they've added Prevention to the name and functionality. Now, in addition to sounding a beep alert if the system detects you straying outside of your lane, it intervenes and nudges the steering wheel to keep you between the lines. As before, the system takes a breather if you use your turn signal, indicating that you intend to cross the line, and it can also be turned off altogether. This is one of those features that pays for itself if it prevents one mishap, and that's worth something, but I personally didn't find it effective enough. The camera — yet another one, mounted high on the windshield — doesn't see well when the streets are wet, and some lane markers are too faint, broken or infrequent to be detected. Consistency isn't critical, but it would be ideal. As for the prevention aspect, the nudge isn't as strong as I think it needs to be — yet I suspect everyone's idea of how strong it should be will differ. The feature doesn't actually steer the car, and it can easily let you leave your lane, especially if the road curves. More than most drivers, I think I'm accustomed and receptive to the idea of computers intervening in the driving experience, but it has to be a worthwhile intervention, and here the action left me cold. For what it is, the warning aspect seems better executed, though I prefer Audi Lane Assist's vibrating steering wheel to the simple beep warning.

Safety
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the EX35 is a Top Safety Pick, which means it has earned top-tier scores in the organization's frontal, side-impact and rear-impact crash tests. There are currently eight Top Safety Picks in the luxury SUV class, and the EX comes in third behind two larger models: the Acura MDX and BMW X5.

Standard safety features include antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. The front seats have side-impact airbags and active head restraints. Curtain airbags protect front and backseat occupants in a side impact.

Cargo & Towing
As mentioned above, the cargo area offers little to get excited about. The cargo volume behind the backseat, at 18.6 cubic feet, is larger than that of the BMW 328 wagon and Volvo V50, but smaller than the SUVs discussed. Also, once you fold the seats flat, all of the SUVs and wagons beat the EX in maximum cargo volume.

Infiniti says the EX35 isn't intended for towing, which again puts it in the company of the wagons, not the SUVs. In this small class, SUVs typically are rated at 1,500 to 3,500 pounds maximum trailer weight. Even the diminutive Volvo V50 wagon is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds.

EX35 in the Market
The EX comes along at a good time. SUV and wagon devotees, like all motorists, are looking to save money on gas, and they're more likely to make a move to a smaller or more efficient SUV than to, say, a compact vehicle. We at Cars.com were all impressed with the Infiniti EX35, with the driving experience and, especially, its Around View Monitor. There's more than enough to recommend it. When you scrutinize the utility aspect of it, though, the emphasis clearly is on sport. View it as a sport wagon, and you might find more sport than wagon, too.

Send Joe an email  

 


2008 EX35 Video

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays walks you through the 2008 Infiniti EX35. It competes with the BMW X3 and Acura RDX.

Latest 2008 EX35 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great Car

by Steve W from Gallatin, TN on August 12, 2018

Well designed and reliable car. The interior is comfortable and made from quality materials, and under the hood it has that great dependable V6 that will move you around quickly. Read full review

(4.0)

Perfect Car for a Single or Small Family

by Aliaks from Philadelphia, PA on May 11, 2018

Cons: only one, this vehicle doesn't has lots of room where rear seats are and in the trunk. Pros: perfectly enough space for front passengers, comfortable seats, best steering I ever had, great ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 INFINITI EX35 currently has 4 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2008 INFINITI EX35 Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The EX35 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker