By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/1/2012
Labeling the 2012 Infiniti EX as just another run-of-the-mill compact luxury SUV would be a far cry from the truth. With sedan-like handling characteristics, an optional advanced all-wheel-drive system, remarkable agility and a powerful 297-horsepower V6, the Infiniti EX effectively puts the "Sport" back in Sport Utility. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5 and Acura RDX, the EX's tastefully-styled cabin offers a host of color combinations that stretch far beyond the predictable black, gray and tan schemes. Toss in class-exclusive features like the 360-degree Around View Monitor and self-healing paint, and the 2012 EX easily becomes one of the most attractive SUVs in the segment.You'll Like This Car If...
If you admire the outstanding performance capabilities of the Infiniti G37, but yearn for an added measure of versatility, the 2012 Infiniti EX might be the ideal choice. And if the latest in-car gadgetry is of chief importance in your next compact SUV, the EX will satisfy your high-tech appetite.You May Not Like This Car If... What's New for 2012
A Homelink universal garage door opener and a new Malbec Black exterior paint scheme mark the changes for the 2012 Infiniti EX.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2012 Infiniti EX35 rides and handles very much like the G37 sedan from which it's derived, and that's a highly-commendable trait. Although it's not as powerful as the G37, the EX35 shares a similar V6 engine and the same 7-speed transmission, as well as many identical suspension components, making it one of the most fun-to-drive SUV's we've tested. Acceleration from a standing stop is swift and steady, and the steering wheel is appropriately weighted with a solid on-center feel. The 7-speed automatic transmission can be shifted manually and features a slick downshift rev-matching feature that assures smooth downshifts and improved stability. Additionally, Infiniti's optional Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system delivers an added level of traction on wet and dry pavement.Favorite Features
Around View Monitor (AVM)
The available Around View Monitor utilizes a series of externally-mounted cameras to produce a composite video feed depicting an aerial view of the vehicle's surroundings. The system is particularly helpful during difficult parking maneuvers that could use an extra set of eyes.
Intelligent Cruise Control
Conventional cruise control systems are useful when the highways are relatively deserted, but Infiniti's Intelligent Cruise Control can operate under the most congested traffic conditions by maintaining a preset distance from the vehicle ahead. As traffic slows, the system can automatically reduce vehicle speed - to a complete stop if necessary - and accelerate once traffic begins to move.
Since the EX is Infiniti's entry-level SUV offering, one might assume the interior quality would reflect its moderate price point. The moment you step inside the cabin, however, it becomes abundantly clear that the 2012 Infiniti EX is anything but entry-level. Rich leather seating surfaces available in a sleek two-tone color arrangement complement the curvaceous dashboard and high-quality trim pieces, while the high-end suite of available electronic gadgets complete the upscale, contemporary presentation. Though we found it challenging to find any shortcomings regarding the cockpit layout, the EX's key interior weaknesses reside behind the front seats, where there's an undersized cargo area and cramped rear-seat legroom.Exterior
The compact 2012 Infiniti EX makes a big visual statement. The low, sloping roofline combined with a long hood combine for a near wagon-like appearance. Nevertheless, anti-wagon fundamentalists have nothing to fear, for the standard 18-inch alloy wheels and raised ride height confirm the EX's SUV status. Available 19-inch alloy wheels speak to the EX's sporty demeanor, as do the dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets and the rear spoiler. Perhaps the most intriguing exterior feature is Infiniti's Scratch Shield, a highly elastic clear coat paint finish that, when exposed to daytime heat and sunlight, slowly heals itself of light scratches and scuffs.Notable Standard Equipment
The base 2012 Infiniti EX RWD and AWD models feature standard leather seating surfaces, keyless entry and start, 8-way adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rear backup camera and a 7-inch color dash-mounted display. Standard audio equipment includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a USB port for portable music players. Opting for the Journey trim adds a power tilt/slide moonroof, Bluetooth, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and heated front seats. On the safety front, all trims include six airbags and a full complement of electronic active safety aides.
Most of the technological goodies available for the 2012 Infiniti EX are bundled into packages. The Lane Departure Prevention System that alerts drivers of an unintentional lane change and Infiniti's Intelligent Cruise Control are available as part of the Technology Package, while the nifty 360-degree Around View Monitor is grouped with the Bose premium audio system and hard-drive-based navigation in the Premium Package. Finally, the Deluxe Touring Package adds an 8-way power passenger's seat, driver's-seat power lumbar support, reverse tilt-down outside mirrors to help mitigate curb-related wheel damage and auto-leveling xenon headlights.Under the Hood
The 2012 Infiniti EX's 3.5-liter V6 develops a driver-pleasing 297 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. This fourth-generation engine is available with only one transmission: A 7-speed automatic with a manual shift mode and downshift rev-matching capability. The EX is EPA-rated at 17 city and 24 highway mpg in either rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive form. While at first blush those numbers may not be noteworthy, what is impressive is that the Infiniti EX produces considerably more horsepower than its competitors while returning nearly identical fuel economy figures.
2012 Infiniti EX/All trim levels
297 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
253 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
The base 2012 Infiniti EX starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) close to $37,000, while the well-equipped Journey trim begins close to $39,000. A fully-loaded EX Journey with all of the attention-getting options can climb past $48,000. By comparison, the Acura RDX starts at about $35,200 and caps out around $40,000, while the more expensive German-built Mercedes-Benz GLK and BMW X3 enter the segment at around $37,000 and top out in the mid-50s when similarly equipped. To ensure that you get the best deal, be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are actually paying for their 2012 Infiniti EXs. As for residuals, the EX is expected to maintain an above-average resale value, better than the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and on par with the Acura RDX and BMW X3, but slightly below the larger Lexus RX 350.