KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Instead of offering just another cargo-hauling, people-moving crossover, Infiniti has blurred the lines between form and function with the EX35, creating a vehicle that for all intents and purposes has the basic utility of an SUV but takes its styling cues and driving dynamics from sportier vehicles. The 2008 EX35 is not just a plush "coupe-like" SUV, it is also a showcase of all the advanced technology Infiniti has to offer. Both the self-healing exterior paint and available Around View Monitor are exclusives for the automaker and help set the EX35 apart from competitors like the BMW X3, Acura RDX and Land Rover LR2.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you like the idea of a comfortable, technology-driven show horse that can also perform on the road, then you'll like the EX35's smooth 297-horsepower V6 and industry-first technologies.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The EX35's cargo capabilities and rear legroom aren't exactly generous (Infiniti does describe the vehicle as a "personal luxury crossover"), so you might appreciate the added utility of the Acura RDX, BMW X3 or Land Rover LR2.
What's Significant About This Car?
The 2008 Infiniti EX35 marks the automaker's first foray into small crossover territory, rounding out its luxury SUV offerings with a more fuel efficient -- but very spirited -- vehicle that showcases all of the new bells and whistles the automaker has to offer.
The EX35 rides and handles in such a way that we began describing it to friends, family and curious passersby as the G35 Plus. By combining a lower roofline than its competitors with what is essentially the G35's terrific powertrain (albeit with nine fewer horsepower), Infiniti has created one of the most fun crossovers we've driven. Ride and handling are downright sedan-like and the eager V6 and five-speed automatic transmission work in concert to deliver swift and smooth acceleration as well as excellent downshift rev matching. Topped off with a plush, comfortable interior, the EX35 is as pleasant as it is potent. Adding to the overall experience is an exceptional (but optional) iPod integration system that makes it easy to navigate thousands of songs via steering wheel-mounted controls.
Around View Monitor (AVM)
By using small front, side and rear-mounted cameras to project an all-around view of the vehicle, this available monitor can be extremely useful when parking, giving the driver an idea of the total space surrounding the car.
Lane Departure Prevention System
A small camera detects lane markers in front of the vehicle and, when an inadvertent lane departure is detected, this system applies a small amount of left or right brake force to nudge the vehicle back on course.
Overall, the interior of the 2008 Infiniti EX35 has a fluid, graceful look and feel. The instrument panel is laid out in a "double wave" design that puts the controls and a seven-inch driver information screen within easy reach of the driver. Tasteful black lacquer or optional wood accents are used throughout the car, complemented by what Infiniti calls "kimono-like" seating with detailed stitching and a tailored look and feel that is best experienced in leather. Two adults will fit comfortably in the 60/40 split power-folding rear seat, although three can be accommodated. Perhaps the only place where the vehicle doesn't shine is in the rear leg- and cargo-room departments, falling short of its competitors and making five-person trips a cramped experience.
Built on Infiniti's proven Front Midship platform, the EX35's front is graced by a long, sleek hood and double-arch grille framed by L-shaped halogen headlights and integrated fog lights. LED taillights, chrome-finished dual exhaust tips, and a spoiler adorn the rear. With an arching roofline, 17-inch wheels (18-inch optional) and short front and rear overhangs, the overall look is pure sport. To make stepping in and out of the car at night easier, a puddle light is integrated into the driver's side-view mirror. Unique to the EX35 is Infiniti's "Scratch Shield" exterior clearcoat paint, which makes fine scratches -- like those found under door handles -- disappear in a few days thanks to a highly elastic resin.
Notable Standard Equipment
The base EX35 RWD and AWD models come with a cloth interior, keyless entry and start, eight-way adjustable driver's seat, automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch color display in the dash, standard XM Satellite Radio and six-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input, MP3 playback and iPod connection cable. Choosing the Journey trim adds a power tilt/slide moonroof, leather seating, auto-dimming mirror with electronic compass, bi-xenon headlights with auto on/off, front and rear sonar parking assist and heated outside mirrors. All trims come equipped with front and rear side-impact curtain as well as front seat-mounted side-impact airbags.
Notable Optional Equipment
Most of the technological goodies on the 2008 Infiniti EX35 are available only as options and only on the Journey trim. The two that will get the most attention -- the Lane Departure Prevention System and the Around View Monitor -- are only available in the Technology Package grouped with the Lane Departure Warning System and Intelligent Cruise Control. Opting for the Navigation Package adds a hard drive-based navigation system, real-time traffic information and a back-up camera, while the Premium Package brings an 11-speaker Bose sound system, iPod interface, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and heated front seats to the mix. The Luxe Style Package enhances the EX's smooth sheetmetal with 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon auto-leveling headlights and an adaptive front lighting system.
Under the Hood
The 2008 Infiniti EX35's 3.5-liter V6 -- shared with the G35 Sedan -- churns out a driver-pleasing 297 horsepower and 297 pound-feet of torque. This fourth-generation engine is available with only one transmission: a five-speed automatic with manual shift mode and downshift rev matching. The EX35 sees at least 17 city and 24 highway mpg fuel economy in rear-wheel drive form, and loses only 1 mpg overall when equipped with all-wheel drive. While at first blush these numbers may not be noteworthy, what is impressive is that the EX35 produces considerably more horsepower than any of its competitors while matching their fuel economy numbers.
297 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
253 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA City/Highway Mileage: 17/24 (RWD), 16/23 (AWD)
The base 2008 Infiniti EX35 starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $32,500, while the well-equipped Journey trim begins closer to $36,000. A fully loaded EX35 Journey with all of the attention-getting options can climb past $45,000. By comparison, the Acura RDX starts at $34,000 and caps out around $37,500, the Land Rover LR2 enters the segment at $34,500 and tops out near $41,500, and the pricey BMW X3 goes from $38,500 to over $47,000 when similarly equipped. To ensure that you get the best deal on your EX35, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are paying for theirs. Over time, the EX35 is expected to maintain an above-average resale value, staying on par with both the RDX and X3.