2012 INFINITI EX35

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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2012 INFINITI EX35. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Acceleration
  • Handling
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Reliability
  • Useful technology

The Bad

  • Backseat room
  • Cargo room
  • Ride comfort
  • So-so stereo

Notable Features of the 2012 INFINITI EX35

  • 297-hp V-6
  • 7-speed automatic transmission
  • RWD or AWD
  • Five seats
  • Optional Around View Monitor
  • Optional Lane Departure Prevention

2012 INFINITI EX35 Road Test

Kristin Varela

Parents often have a hard time delineating their lives as individuals from their status as "So and So's mom." Our whole lives change to revolve around our kiddos, from the way we dress (no more dry clean-only clothing) to what we drive (no more hot little Volvo C30 for me, a mom of three).

The 2012_Infiniti_EX35 compact luxury crossover is a clever car that bridges that gap between form and function.

Competing with the likes of the BMW X3, Cadillac SRX and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, the EX35 seats five, so it's not intended as a mega family-hauler. However, my family of five — three of whom are ages 11 and younger — fit just fine. My two youngest rode in narrow Bubble Bum booster seats in the outboard seating positions, while my oldest sat in the middle in the backseat. Once carpool drop-off was done, I no longer felt like a Sherpa hired for my ability to schlep kids, booster seats and science fair projects. It was just me: a modern woman in a modern crossover heading out for afternoon yoga and a Friday night sushi date with my sexy husband.

While my test car was the higher, Journey trim level with all-wheel drive, both the Journey and the base trim are also available with rear-wheel drive. See them all compared side-by-side here.

EXTERIOR
Many of Infiniti's designs are polarizing, falling into either the love-it or the hate-it category. Take the FX and EX, for example. I'm not a fan of the bulbous, jowled FX, but my test EX — in gorgeous, s...

Parents often have a hard time delineating their lives as individuals from their status as "So and So's mom." Our whole lives change to revolve around our kiddos, from the way we dress (no more dry clean-only clothing) to what we drive (no more hot little Volvo C30 for me, a mom of three).

The 2012_Infiniti_EX35 compact luxury crossover is a clever car that bridges that gap between form and function.

Competing with the likes of the BMW X3, Cadillac SRX and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, the EX35 seats five, so it's not intended as a mega family-hauler. However, my family of five — three of whom are ages 11 and younger — fit just fine. My two youngest rode in narrow Bubble Bum booster seats in the outboard seating positions, while my oldest sat in the middle in the backseat. Once carpool drop-off was done, I no longer felt like a Sherpa hired for my ability to schlep kids, booster seats and science fair projects. It was just me: a modern woman in a modern crossover heading out for afternoon yoga and a Friday night sushi date with my sexy husband.

While my test car was the higher, Journey trim level with all-wheel drive, both the Journey and the base trim are also available with rear-wheel drive. See them all compared side-by-side here.

EXTERIOR
Many of Infiniti's designs are polarizing, falling into either the love-it or the hate-it category. Take the FX and EX, for example. I'm not a fan of the bulbous, jowled FX, but my test EX — in gorgeous, sparkling Midnight Garnet with softer, smoother lines and a purposefully low stance — had an upscale uniqueness that sat well with me. My husband, however, thought its proportions were just plain weird. Tomato tomahto.

The EX's height is perfect for someone of smaller stature, like me (I'm 5-foot-3). I opened up the door and slid right into the driver's seat, no ducking down or climbing up required. That may sound like a small thing, but the amount of energy I saved by not having to heft my kids up and into a huge SUV without running boards and then climb up and in myself was noticeable.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
Other than offering seating for five, the EX doesn't go above and beyond in terms of family considerations. But because I loved so many other things about the EX, I was willing to overlook a few shortcomings, mainly its lack of storage space.

There's a moderately sized center console between the driver and passenger seats, plus two cupholders up front. The cupholders, however, are a smidge too close together. When my husband and I both had Starbucks cups in there, their lids fought for first place, requiring us to remove one cup to avoid popping the lid off the other. Maybe not the biggest burden in the world, but this is a luxury vehicle. We like to take long weekend road trips together, and this would definitely prove an annoyance over time.

There's a tiny compartment just large enough to stash the remote key fob in front of the gearshift. Beyond that, I was at a loss as to where to store my iPhone — important to have out when driving, as I often use it to route me. I guess I could have used the in-car navigation system, but my phone is so much easier and more reliable.

There are very narrow storage pockets in each of the front two doors — just large enough for a folded newspaper or a small clutch bag for a night out - but no extra bottle holders and no storage in the rear doors.

When the center seat wasn't occupied, my kids had access to two more cupholders in the backseat's fold-down center armrest. There's also a pocket on the back of each front seat. While the backseat was perfectly functional for two kids (and on occasion three) with kid-sized limbs, it's tight for full-sized adults. Maybe you should drive your minivan instead of the EX35 when picking up your friends for a double date, or consider one of the EX's competitors. Whereas the EX has 28.5 inches of backseat legroom, the X3 has 36.8, the SRX 36.3 and the GLK 35.1 inches. (See other specs compared here.)

Rather than write the EX off due to its lack of nooks and crannies, I found myself brainstorming ways to get creative and circumvent the problem. After all, couldn't we all use a little incentive to streamline our lives and the crud we carry in our cars? An organized environment leads to an organized mind, right?

One place that didn't require us to trim down our load was the cargo area. Strictly by the numbers, the other models mentioned have between 4.7 and 11.2 cubic feet more volume behind their backseats, but I found the EX's 18.6 cubic feet to be more than enough space for several suitcases. If we had needed more room, we could have folded the split rear seat flat to expand the cargo space to a total of 47.4 cubic feet. The process is very simple: Just press either release button in the cargo area. To raise them again for the kids to get in later, opting for the deluxe Touring Package gets you a power-operated switch near the gearshift that raises each portion automatically. I was surprised and disappointed that my $45,000 test car didn't come equipped with a power liftgate, as well.

The visual Zen on the inside of the EX carried my post-anniversary spa peace through the entire weekend. The uber-luxe wheat-colored leather seats, steering wheel and trim, punctuated with dark maple accents, felt calm and meditative.

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove On

BEHIND THE WHEEL
The EX's 297-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine was pure joy to drive. The all-wheel-drive EX had the perfect balance of sporty and responsive acceleration, informative road feedback and stability while cornering over mountain passes. The kicker is that there's also enough softness in the suspension to be comfortable for me both as a daily driver and for long road trips. I experienced no fatigue even after hours in the EX. I even found myself creating extra errands. (What? Our spice cabinet is all out of Spanish saffron threads? I'll run out to the specialty spice market to pick some up, you know, just in case we decide to whip up some paella later tonight. No, really, it's OK. You can stay home and help the kids with their homework. I'll be fine.)

One downside is the EX35's larger-than-expected, 36-foot turning circle. The rear-wheel-drive version's turning diameter is slightly smaller, at 34.8 feet. I had to execute a three-pointer every time I pulled into my garage. Because the EX drives so much more like a car than an SUV, my subconscious expected a tighter, more carlike turning circle — and gas mileage. Getting an estimated 17/24 mpg city/highway, the EX isn't exactly a green- or budget-conscious option.

SAFETY
In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Infiniti EX35 gets the highest mark, Good, in all tests, and is thus listed as a Top Safety Pick. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet crash-tested the EX, it did rate its rollover resistance at 4 out of 5 stars (common for most crossovers today).

As is required of all 2012 models, the Infiniti EX35 has standard antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control.

The EX features frontal airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, and roof-mounted curtain airbags for the front and rear seats.

The EX has two sets of lower anchors in the backseat as part of the Latch system for securing child-safety seats. The anchors are for the two outboard seating positions and are accessible via vertical slits in the seat bight. For kids in booster seats, the rear seat belt buckles are on stable bases, which typically makes it easier for kids with limited dexterity to buckle up on their own. However, since these buckles are flush with the bottom seat cushion, booster seats can have a tendency to wiggle and worm themselves on top of the buckle, requiring parental intervention.

My test car came equipped with an Around View Monitor as part of a $2,900 Premium Package. This is a fantastic feature for anyone who needs to park in tight spaces, but it's especially useful for families, giving you a 360-degree view around the car to make sure no kiddos or pets or tricycles are in your way before you even think about putting the car into reverse.

The small triangular windows alongside the cargo space cut down a bit on rear visibility in the EX, so I would have appreciated blind spot monitors to help out while trying to change lanes on the highway. This feature is available on the Journey trim as a part of an optional Technology Package.

See all the standard safety features listed here.

Send Kristin an email  



Latest 2012 EX35 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.2)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great car to own and drive.

by Indiana from NEW ALBANY, IN on August 12, 2018

so far, this car drives great and has power. the interior is great and has a lot of extras. It handles well with a smooth ride. Read full review

(5.0)

Excellent Car

by Uhk from Rockville on July 14, 2018

Excellent car, runs great, reliable, comfortable, great performance, beautiful style, powerful engine, holds value very well. You would no t expect this level of performance from this size of a car. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 INFINITI EX35 currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 INFINITI EX35 Base

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

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

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

Other

Roof Strength
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.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by INFINITI
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Less than 6 model years/less than 70,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    6 years/unlimited mileage

  • Powertrain warranty

    72 months/70,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    167-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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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