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2011 Infiniti FX

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2011 Infiniti FX Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2011

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 the FX
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.

2011 Infiniti FX Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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).

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.5-liter V6
303 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (RWD), 16/21 (AWD)

5.0-liter V8
390 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
369 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20

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