Developing a successor to a popular design is always challenging, and Infiniti’s 2009 FX35 is a case in point.
The second-generation FX is, in Infiniti’s words, “a radical expression of sport and utility – offering exceptional levels of power, refinement and driving exhilaration.”
There are three models: A rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive FX35 with a 303-horsepower V-6 and an all-wheel-drive FX50 with a 390-horsepower V-8. Prices start at $42,150 for a rear-wheel-drive FX35 and $58,400 for an all-wheel-drive FX50.
Styling of the FX is a tad overstated, but the overall look evokes motion and excitement. The front fenders have an exaggerated bulge, but that doesn’t matter once you slide behind the wheel.
The FX35 has a comfortable interior and a long list of convenience features. It drives with the agility of a passenger car, yet it has a fairly large cargo space like an SUV. The driving feel is athletic, energetic and luxurious.
The V-6 cranks out more than enough horsepower. I should think only real performance fans would consider the V-8.
The transmission is a seven-speed automatic that can be shifted manually with paddles that flank the steering wheel.
All-wheel drive was useful in our recent snow, but low, wide tires don’t provide as much grip as narrower ones. Folks who live in the Snow Belt will probably want winter-specific tires.
The FX rides on a chassis platform that is considerably stiffer than the one used in the previous model. The tighter structure results in better handling and a quieter cabin.
The FX35’s cabin feels more refined and substantial. The gauges are large and easy to read. The center stack contains an LCD screen that is used for the audio and climate control as well as the optional navigation system and backup camera.
The backup camera has an amazing feature that gives the driver a 360-degree view, as if a camera were mounted on the roof. In fact, cameras in front, back and in the bottom of each rearview mirror combine images for the circular perspective. This function is tremendously handy when backing out of a driveway or seeing if anyone or anything is alongside the vehicle.
The FX is strictly a five-passenger vehicle, and no third seat is available. That cargo is large enough to be useful but you have to fold the back seat to carry genuinely large items.
Infiniti has designed the FX to drive and handle like a sports sedan while offering the versatility of a utility vehicle. To that end, the vehicle is most successful.
The base price of the test car was $43,600. Options included the navigation system, Around View Monitor, music-box hard drive and the premium package, which includes quilted leather seats, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity and an MP3 player connection. The sticker price was $49,665.
Four years or 60,000 miles with a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty.
2009 Infiniti FX35 AWD
Engine: 3.5-liter, 303-hp V-6
Wheelbase: 113.6 inches
Curb weight: 4,299 lbs.
Base price: $43,600
As tested: $49,665
MPG rating: 16 city, 21 hwy.
To contact Tom Strongman, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.