• (4.9) 16 reviews
  • Available Prices: $15,674–$27,574
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 18-19
  • Engine: 303-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain: 4x2
  • Seats: 5
2012 INFINITI FX35

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 INFINITI FX35

What We Don't Like

  • Cargo room
  • Somewhat cramped cabin
  • Visibility from the rear seat

Notable Features

  • 303-hp V-6
  • Seven-speed automatic
  • Seats five
  • Labyrinth of high-tech features
  • New Limited Edition version

2012 INFINITI FX35 Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

The Infiniti FX was something of a revelation when it made its 2003 debut. At the time, there were few sporty SUVs on the market — unless your definition of sport is the rugged, off-road type rather than the quick, nimble, on-road variety.

The refreshed 2012 Infiniti FX35 is essentially the same sporty performer it's always been, but its balky transmission and the evolving crossover/SUV market make its appeal narrower all the time.

Unlike most SUVs of its time, the 2003 FX35 was based on an enlarged car platform, yet it retained the rear-wheel drive that other models in the nascent crossover movement had abandoned. In a sense, it was an overgrown — and admittedly heavy — version of the G35 sedan and coupe, complete with reasonably balanced weight distribution and good dynamics. It also had ride quality sponsored by the American Dental Association, especially in the V-8-powered FX45 version. With the exception of gradual refinement and some styling changes, including a full redesign for 2009, the FX follows the same formula today. (See all the 2012 FX versions.)

New for 2012
Always a polarizing design, the FX has changed incrementally, again, for 2012, with a new grille that one of our editors thinks is an improvement. To me, it's a step back. (For a while, Infiniti grilles were always different and interesting from one model to the next. Alas, they're growing similar across the lineup.) Also new for 2012 is the all-wheel-drive FX35 Limited Edition, the version we tested. It introduces Iridium Blue paint — a crowd-pleaser — and includes 21-inch wheels and supposedly dark-tinted headlights and side vents, though they don't look very dark to me.

Thankfully, the Limited Edition also adds some otherwise optional features to justify — or perhaps just explain — why it costs $52,000, which is $6,850 more than the base FX35 with optional all-wheel drive: A navigation system, the terrific Around View Monitor, aluminum pedals, floormats with blue piping, and a full roof rack are all included. For 2012, all FX models have white gauge backlighting, replacing the previous generation's orange lights.

Carlike Handling
As always, the FX handles well, in league with the likes of BMW's X5 and Porsche's Cayenne — specifically the X5 xDrive35i and the base Cayenne, if you're comparing price and powertrains. These competitors also have rear-wheel drive or rear-biased all-wheel drive for a sporty feel. Though the FX's ride quality has been smoothed out somewhat over the years, our test model's 21-inch wheels appropriately evoked the model's salad days, as we found ourselves tossed about like hapless romaine.

Slight differences in tire series aren't always dramatic, but you can expect a more compliant ride with the FX's base 18-inch wheels. Unfortunately, an adaptive suspension is available only on the FX50, as an option.

Hurry Up? Wait.
The main problem I had with the FX35 was its seven-speed automatic transmission, which was added in 2009. It hesitates so much when you call for more power that I have a hard time calling this SUV sporty. I'm not even sure I can call it acceptable. I had a similar complaint about the seven-speed in the Infiniti M sedan, but didn't object to it in the G37. This seven-speed replaced a five-speed. More isn't always better.

The FX35's 303-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is no slouch and should satisfy most drivers, even in models saddled with the weight of all-wheel drive. However, an upgrade to Infiniti's newer 3.7-liter engine (and presumably a renamed FX37) might improve the transmission performance: More power almost always makes an automatic transmission's behavior less of an issue, as it does in the FX50, which has a 390-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 and standard all-wheel drive.

EPA-Estimated MPG
(city/highway — combined)
2012 FX35 4x22012 FX35 4x42012 FX50 4x4
16/23 — 1916/21 — 1814/20 — 16

 

The FX's mileage is uninspiring, but the same can be said of comparable luxury SUVs, for which 19 mpg combined is the norm in base versions. Likewise, 16 or 17 mpg is common among the more powerful trim levels. All these models call for premium gasoline.

Interior Tradeoffs
Once I'd called into question the FX's sportiness, I found it harder to justify its drawbacks. Always a bold design statement, the FX's sleek shape takes a toll on interior space. Thankfully, the supportive, comfortable front seats have generous legroom, 44.7 inches. The backseat is snug, and the legroom measurement of 34.6 inches is small even among sporty competitors like the Cayenne and X5. In practice, however, the ample front-seat legroom means there's some flexibility. We even found that a rear-facing infant seat (always a difficult test) left the front passenger plenty of room. (See the Cars.com Car Seat Check.)

Perhaps the boldly styled BMW X6 is the most appropriate model to compare, with 1.3 inches more backseat legroom but 1.3 inches less headroom. Like the FX, the X6 sacrifices cargo volume, totaling 20.1 cubic feet behind the backseat and 51.2 cubic feet with the seat folded. The FX has 24.8 and 62 cubic feet, respectively, which is within roughly 1 cubic foot of the Cayenne in both figures. The more conservatively styled X5 improves on them all, with 35.8 and 75.2 cubic feet. (See them compared.) Without a doubt, the hatchback design and a total of five seats provide a usable cargo area in all these models, but once you compare them with typical crossovers, the shortcomings are clear.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports its highest rating, Good, for the FX in a frontal crash test, but it hasn't tested it for side impact or roof strength. The FX hasn't been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition to frontal and front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags, the FX has curtain airbags to protect front and rear occupants in a side impact. The front seats have active head restraints. As is required of all new vehicles beginning with the 2012 model year, the FX has standard antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control. See all the standard safety features here.

Active-safety options include precrash seat belts, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and prevention, and adaptive headlights.

FX in the Market
Off-road SUVs proliferated before their numbers thinned, leaving healthy demand for stalwarts like Jeep. Conversely, SUVs designed primarily for on-road sport, like the FX, didn't become a significant subsegment. Does that mean the FX will remain a niche favorite, or will it lose its appeal? As drivability improves among more versatile crossover models — including Infiniti's new JX model, a seven-seater — the FX's limitations seem greater. They might even be greater than whatever performance advantages it brings — especially if you object to the transmission's behavior.

We at Cars.com frequently criticize vehicles that exhibit accelerator hesitation — certainly more than most review sources do. Why there isn't more outcry baffles us. It's possible you could drive an FX happily and never object to its behavior, but you should be sure to pay attention when testing it. It's easy to miss important attributes in the excitement and sensory overload of a test drive.

Send Joe an email  


Consumer Reviews

(4.9)

Average based on 16 reviews

Write a Review

Most enjoyable & dependable vehicle ever owned!

by healthcoachtb from HAINES CITY on October 22, 2017

This vehicle surpassed all my expectations over the 3 yrs I have owned it. It has so may standard options that other Luxury companies "ALA Cart You" for and empty your wallet. It is the smoothest, mos... Read Full Review

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3 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 INFINITI FX35 trim comparison will help you decide.
 

INFINITI FX35 Articles

2012 INFINITI FX35 Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on INFINITI FX35 Base

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on INFINITI FX35 Base

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

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

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/60,000mi

Powertrain

72mo/70,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

48mo/unlimited

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

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.

Powertrain

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.

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).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

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.

Other Years