By KBB.com Editors
The line between rugged off-road SUV and performance-oriented CUV is becoming more and more difficult to discern. But, when it comes to the 2011 Infiniti FX, there is no mistaking this CUV for anything but an on-pavement performance wagon with a rich heritage and a reputation for fun. The sleek FX can be had with a choice of V6 or V8 engines, as well as a host of high-tech safety and performance enhancements. Unlike many of its European rivals, however, even the most basic FX comes so well equipped one might wonder why anyone would need more options; that is until they drive an FX with more options. As if to add insult to injury, Infiniti has priced the FX well below the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne, an important consideration even for today's affluent customer.
If you're seeking a performance driving machine that can also accommodate a bit more cargo than the average performance sedan, the 2011 Infiniti FX 35 and FX50 make an excellent choice.
The 2011 Infiniti FX's cabin can feel a bit cocoon-like, so claustrophobic drivers might prefer something a bit more airy and open. While the hatchback design does make it easier to load and haul cargo, the FX's rear cargo hold is nowhere near as accommodating as that of the Porsche Cayenne or Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
A power rear liftgate is made standard on all models and, on the FX50, 20-inch wheels and tires replace last year's 21-inch set.
Driving Impressions We took our 2011 Infiniti FX50 through Southern California's legendary mountain roads and, as expected, we were not let down. The FX50's well-balanced chassis, standard all-wheel-drive and excellent steering...response had us completely unaware we were driving a vehicle with more than seven inches of ground clearance. The seven-speed transmission's paddle shifters and rev-matching downshift programming worked flawlessly and allowed us to bypass the automatic's computer brain that sometimes seemed too slow changing gears. Thanks to a host of electronic nannies (Vehicle Dynamic Control, Rear Active Steer and Continuous Dampening Control suspension, to name a few) we were never able to push our FX50 too far before it stepped in to save our bacon. Once out of the mountains, we were impressed by the FX50's ride, made better this year by a one-inch reduction in tire/wheel size. Still, the most comfortable ride is found with the FX35, probably due to its softer suspension dampening and smaller wheel and tire combo.
Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist
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 2011 Infiniti FX's interior recreates the feel one gets from driving in a lowered sport sedan, that is until one opens the door and steps down to exit. The driver enjoys a commanding view in all directions except rearward (this is where the rear backup camera comes in handy), and is treated to a thick steering wheel complete with paddle shifters for easy fingertip gear changes. While we found most of the FX's instruments easy to view and operate, the numerous buttons that accompany the Technology Package can be a bit overwhelming; additionally, their placement near the driver's knee makes them difficult to see and reach. The cozy cockpit feeling is created partially by the narrow side glass and partially by the large power-adjustable front seats that seem to take up half the passenger cabin. Despite its somewhat cave-like cockpit, the FX actually has a rather roomy rear seat, with good headroom and legroom for its passengers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the FX's cargo hold, which is one of the smaller spaces in this class.Exterior
The original FX was once described by its designer as a "bionic cheetah." While the 2011 Infiniti FX retains much of the "sitting on its haunches" look of the original, the latest FX has a more sophisticated exterior, with intricate detailing surrounding the grille, headlamps and side fenders. When viewed from the side, the FX projects an almost coupe-like silhouette, with a very long hood, short rear end and a high beltline. The massive wheels filling the wheel wells leave almost no gaps between the tires and the wheel arches, a far cry from the typically large gaps found on most high-centered SUVs and CUVs. Infiniti completes (and in some cases over-does) the exterior with a number of chrome embellishments, including door handles, exhaust tips and two large, functional side vents.
The V6-powered FX35 features dual-zone automatic climate control, a power rear liftgate, Intelligent Key with push-button start, a power moonroof, ten-way driver's and eight-way passenger's power seats with power driver's lumbar support, 18-inch wheels, leather seating surfaces, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, a rearview monitor and an 11-speaker Bose audio system with CD player, USB port, 2.0GB hard drive storage 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, 20-inch wheels, hard-drive navigation and an iPod interface. Standard on all FX models are front, front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags, Vehicle Dynamic Control, 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 (FX35 only) adds climate-controlled front seats with driver's-side memory, tilt-down side-view mirrors, quilted leather seating pattern, aluminum roof rails, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a hard-drive navigation unit with voice recognition and 9.3 gigabytes of music storage, XM NavTraffic, Bluetooth Streaming Audio and Around View Monitor with Front and Rear Sonar parking assist. The Deluxe Touring Package adds 20-inch wheels (FX35), aluminum pedals and maple trim, while the same package on the FX50 adds 21-inch wheels. The Technology Package is offered on both trims and adds Adaptive Front lighting headlamps with auto-leveling feature, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, 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, driver's seat with power side bolsters and other sport-oriented amenities.
The 2011 Infiniti FX35 is powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine as in models past; with 303 horsepower, it's all the FX really needs. Status and speed will lure many to the more expensive 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 Mike on Friday, January 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great performance, high tech!"
Cons: "Not cheap, average gas economy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I’m a second time FX owner (03-FX45, 12-FX-35). I have loved both of my FX’s, possibly too much if you ask my significant other. My 03 FX45 was the original bionic cheetah and set the stage for all the imitators to follow - the BMW X6, the Audi Q5, Porsche Cayenne, etc, and that list is growing. Its combination of originality, bold lines and the baddest power plant anywhere made it a winner that was hard to part with, even at well over 100K miles. As a testimony to its design, my 03 still looked fresh and cutting edge to the eye eight years into its production run and even up to now. An instant classic. Speaking of classic and competition, my car rarely sound the inside of the dealership for service. I can’t recall a single non-routine repair visit in all my years of ownership. It just worked without complaint or stumble. From what I understand that could not be said for the BMWs and Audi’s of the world. I never owned a BMW SUV but have owned BMWs before and my experience with Infiniti was head and shoulders above BMW service. My current FX35 continues that reliability and originality, though it has been chromed up a bit more than I would prefer. It gives up a little in go power from the FX45, as I went from a big V8 to the V6 in the FX35. But the ride is much improved - the FX45 had a very, very firm ride - and the technology in the new generation FX35 is amazing. The all-around camera, the Bluetooth, the Navigation System, and on, it just flat out is everything needed and wanted today. I don’t see how I could have managed without all that technology before and it sets the benchmark for all other SUVs in its class. My service location and warranty work have been exceptional - one for the single visit I had to make for a minor part and two for the friendly customer service for my routine maintenance visits. Negatives? Fuel economy could be better. Entrance/egress from the aggressively curved back doors - though I don’t ride back there so not a big deal for me ;-) One comment on prestige...yes, Infiniti does not have the cachet of BMW or Porsche. But that also means you avoid the snob factor associated with those brands...and the smug satisfaction that you bought a superior, more reliable vehicle for less money and better performance. All in all I could not have made a better purchase. If I had to do it all over again I would, except I would opt for the larger 3.7 of 2013 and beyond. A no-brainer purchase."
13 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Joe Bag of Donuts on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Outstanding power and performance but with the 20 inch tires it does ride rough. Would rather have 18 or 19 inch wheels to soften the ride. Wish it had some features from some of my European cars, ie, does not have auto windshield wipers( this should be standard on a car of this price, my Mini cooper has this and so did my Volvos), also turn signals need the auto 3 bink function and a feature like on my volvo that had the pocket on the front of the seat , all cars should have this. Also should have auto feature to lay the rear seats down like comes on the Nissan Murano it cheaper sister. Otherwise its an excellent car ."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
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."
21 people out of 36 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."
15 people out of 28 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."
12 people out of 21 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 4 found this review helpful