By KBB.com Editors
There are only a handful of true performance-oriented crossover SUVS. Among the more notable are the Porsche Cayenne, the BMW X6 and the all-new 2009 Infiniti FX. Like its competitors, the FX is more a tall performance sedan than a rugged off-road explorer. True to its Infiniti roots, the new FX is fast, loaded with luxurious trappings and technological gadgetry and is one of the most alluring and fun-to-drive vehicles in its class. And, if you can live without the V8 engine, the V6-powered FX35 can even be classified as affordable – at least by luxury car standards.
If you like open and airy cabins and need plenty of cargo space behind the second-row seat, the FX's cocoon-like cockpit and diminutive cargo hold won't cut the mustard. Enthusiast drivers with these needs might be better off in the Porsche Cayenne or Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
From a distance you can still make out the familiar silhouette, but draw nearer and the changes to the totally redesigned 2009 FX become clearer. Beyond its wild grille and headlamp treatment, chrome side fender vents and racy wheels, there's a new 5.0-liter V8 engine, prompting the FX50 nameplate.
Driving Impressions We drove the FX50 on a number of winding mountain roads and it performed to expectation, exhibiting excellent steering and braking response, a well-balanced chassis and quick acceleration. The rev-matching...seven-speed transmission seemed to have a problem making quick decisions, but we were able to bypass the computer brain with the paddle shifters. Push the FX50 into a turn too quickly and you'll activate a whole host of electronic chaperones (the Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Rear Active Steer and Continuous Dampening Control suspension assist) that quickly return control to the driver. When not pushing the FX hard, we thought the ride was a bit harsh over uneven or rough surfaces, with the large 21-inch wheels being a possible reason. Those looking for a softer balance between ride and performance might prefer the FX35.
This feature not only maintains a set distance between the FX and a vehicle ahead of it, the Distance Control Assist can actually slow and even bring the FX to a complete stop with no driver intervention.
Around View Monitor
Using strategically placed cameras under the side-view mirrors and at the vehicle's front and rear, a full 360-degree outside view can be displayed on the FX's LCD monitor, helping reduce blind spots when parking.
The FX's interior was designed to create the feeling of driving in a low-slung performance sedan. The narrow side glass and ten-way adjustable front seats (FX50) create a cozy cockpit, while the rear seat provides two adults with surprisingly good rear-seat head and leg room. Available steering wheel-mounted magnesium shift paddles help the driver keep both hands on the wheel when shifting gears, and a large console-mounted LCD display set at eye level provides at-a-glance access to the navigation and audio settings. Although the instruments are generally well arranged and easy to operate, the myriad of buttons that accompany the Technology Package can be a bit overwhelming, and are clustered near the driver's knee where they are difficult to see and reach.Exterior
Although the overall shape is still familiar, fresh sheetmetal and an aggressive new front end make the 2009 FX a bit more edgy than the original. The three-dimensional grille is patterned after rippling water, while the swept-back cat's-eye headlamps create a rather menacing scowl. When viewed from the side, there are prominent and massive wheels, a short hood, even shorter front and rear overhangs and a very short rear end. Infiniti has also tacked on a few things we think the design could do without, such as the side fender vents that are becoming quite common on many new cars.
The V6-powered FX35 features dual-zone automatic climate control, Intelligent Key with push-button start, a power moonroof, eight-way power seats with power driver's lumbar support, 18-inch wheels, leather seating surfaces, a rearview monitor and an 11-speaker Bose audio system with CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack. The FX50 adds a V8 engine, Intelligent all-wheel drive, Around View parking monitor, heated and cooled front seats, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 21-inch wheels, hard-drive navigation and an iPod interface. Standard on all FX models are front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags, electronic stability and traction control and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
Most of the FX's options are bundled into packages, with many of the FX50's standard features being made available on the FX35. The Premium package adds climate-controlled front seats with driver's-side memory, Bluetooth, tilt-down side-view mirrors, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel and paddle shifters. The Navigation Package adds a hard-drive navigation unit with voice recognition and 9.3 gigabytes of music storage, XM NavTraffic, Around View monitor and front and rear sonar parking assist. The Technology Package is offered on both trims and adds Intelligent Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and rain-sensing wipers. Unique to the FX50 is the Sport Package, with adjustable Auto and Sport-mode suspension, Rear Active Steer, Adaptive front headlamps with auto-leveling feature and driver's seat with power side bolsters.
The FX35 is powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine as in last-year's model; with 303 horsepower, it's all the FX really needs. Status and speed will lure many to the all-new 5.0-liter V8, which employs Infiniti's Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) technology to maximize fuel economy and performance. Rated at 390 horsepower, the V8 provides a big increase in power over the V6 without much difference in fuel economy.
303 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (RWD), 16/21 (AWD)
390 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
369 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
By h on Monday, October 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Acceleration, handling, comfort, camera system"
Cons: "Funky bluetooth interaction with iPhone"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have driven my FX35 for three years. My wife and I liked it from the very first drive till today. She drives it like the luxury vehicle it is. I love to drive it like a Porsche 911. Positives: It has everything I want - merge on to freeway fast, handling to maneuver through traffic and feeling safe. I drive it to the store and to Lake Tahoe at night in snow. I love it. The camera system is a special treat for people who want to back into tight spots or parallel park. Similar to other cars, there are four cameras. They are mounted on the front grill, under handle of the tail gate, and below side mirrors. This arrangement and the viewing software in the navigation system give it two unique features. I can describe the functionality but not the feeling. You have to try it to understand it. Really! 1. When you put the car in reverse, you see a split screen on the navigation screen - one pane shows behind the car; the other a 360 view of the surroundings with the car in the middle. Imagine you are a bird hovering directly above the car looking down. 2. The pane showing what's happening behind the car shows what is there and more. It shows you what where you'll end up and how based on how you steer! There are markers on the screen that show your projected path. The path changes as you steer. You don't have to guess if you'll hit the curb, clear a car, pole, or hedge. it took my wife and I a few seconds to get used to the camera system. She quickly adapted and relied on it on her second or third drive. I adapted slower because I insisted on using side and read view mirrors - I still do once in a while, but have really converted. Coolest thing about this was when my cousin noticed it. They drove up with their Q5 from L.A. for thanks giving last year. On a quick run to grocery store, I back out of the garage and he asked how does it do that? i simply explained the bird's eye view. Driver and passenger seats have heating and cooling functionality. Negatives: The blue tooth interface between iPhone and the sound/nav system. The software is funky! It let's you pair your iPhone as a blue tooth audio playback device or phone. Can't use blue tooth for both!!! What? That's right. This problem is fixed in software of newer model G series. However, the software fix isn't available for FX or older models. Awkward work around: 1. Pair the iPhone as a blue tooth phone device and connect it using the USB port for music! 2. The opposite. Pair the iPhone as a blue tooth playback device and connect it to USB port for phone. or 3. don't pair it to blue tooth. Connect it to USB port. This way you can use it for either purpose. Problem with 1 and 2 is that if you place or receive a call the system won't mute the music play back that's in progress. All works well in 3. But isn't this frustrating? The sideview mirror housing is too large and creates blind spots for shorter people!! My wife is 5'-0". She has to adjust the seat all the way up and as close to steering wheel as possible to see what's happening around front quarter panels. Rattling noises from sun roof and rear compartment."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By gjv on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "power, paddle shifting fun, handling excellent"
Cons: "tire noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My FX35 is an incredible sports/luxury car with no mechanical problems and even will average 22 mpg driven freeways 72-74 mph. Accessories like AC seats, paddle manual/auto rev shifting and 7 speed trans really amazing."
14 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Terry on Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance and features for the $"
Cons: "None for me"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Living in Miami and being a father of 2 children I was forced to make a decision on a new purchase. I am pretty extreme... meaning if I drive a car it is sports car. My idea of a sports car is 2 seats and no space. If not I prefer a full size 4x4 pickup. Well, 2 kids and the sports car is out and wife is sick of my trucks. What is left? The sportiest SUVish kinda vehicle. I spent a year searching for what would work for me. Something with mass luxury, serious acceleration, and good road holding abilities. I opted out of a family car for the low height (or low view) on the road. In Miami or any major city I think it is a necessity to see more than just the tail of the car in front of you. I like to watch 5-10 cars ahead. I drove the X6, RX, the new LR Evoque, and the ML. For the money none could match the options and performance of the FX37. I got the limited edition so it has some cool features and beautiful paint. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some love the FX others hate the styling. I really like!! The Limited Edition came with the 21" wheels which I love, but be warned it does increase the ride stiffness even more. It doesn't bother me one bit, but I know many reviews complain about the stiff ride. If any of you think the way I do I recommend at least giving it a test drive."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Boxins on Saturday, June 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, love the navigation"
Cons: "No personal space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've wanted an FX for a long time. Last year I finally got one. The car is fantastic to drive. I particularly like the voice activated features. This car actually understand me when I speak Okie! The fuel mileage could probably be better but let's be honest, nobody buys this car for mpg. The only real complaint I have is the same with all smaller vehicles today, there is nowhere to put anything! My purse has to go in back if I have a passenger and forget having a place to dump change or other odds and ends. Aside from that, drive and enjoy!"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By NOVA on Monday, May 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, speed, style, fit and finish are great"
Cons: "Lacks cargo capacity equal to competitors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"You will love this SUV if you are looking for handling on street roads. If you are looking for an off roader, or third row seating for the soccer team--keep looking. The interior is top notch with plenty of redundant buttons to ensure you can navigate the audio system, climate control and navigation with ease. Three years old and the leather still looks great. I have had no problems requiring repair, other than normal maintenance. I have the FX50 version, which is notably quicker than the V6, thought the V6 is plenty powerful itself. Also, for family beach trips I simply attach a hitch mounted luggage carrier."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Deb Mitchell on Sunday, May 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas mileage"
Cons: "Too small back seat & front seat ."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Nothing like what we had thoughtbitbwould be . All PLASTIC !!!! My LOWER BACK kills me when I drive it ., even with lumber pushed out . LOVE THE 25 mi to gallon on hwy AND the sound car makes when taking off . Also too much ROAD NOISE and too SMALL OF BACK SEAT !!!"
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful