By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
When introduced in early 2003, the Infiniti FX brought to the market an over-the-top look that was unlike any sport-utility-type vehicle previously available, and the second generation was even more extreme. Now, the 2012 Infiniti FX receives a forward-looking face in combination with what is described as an all-new FX Limited Edition. After several years of using the same basic architecture, time for a new FX approaches but, for the present, you can't disregard the emotional pull of a classic.
If you enjoy combining maximum performance – especially when equipped with Infiniti's 5.0-liter V8 – with a modicum of utility, the FX Infiniti delivers fully on that promise, and does so at a price point below its Euro competition.
Those seeking a reasonable balance of "sport" and "utility" may be disappointed in the 2012 Infiniti FX, as its sporting attributes and in-your-face design tend to overwhelm the utility portion of that blend. That said, it provides more versatility than Infiniti's G37 while occupying a much smaller footprint than the large Infiniti QX56.
For 2012 the Infiniti FX has a new front grille and fascia inspired, we're told, by Infiniti's Essence Concept. There's a new FX35 Limited Edition, built atop the FX35 all-wheel drive (AWD) platform; and new wheel designs, a new color and a slight remixing of option packages sum up the substantive changes for this model year.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Infiniti FX's appearance is a blend of sport ute and sports coupe, and the chassis builds on that stylistic premise. Even at its most opulent, the...FX50 AWD carries but 53-percent of its approximately 4,500 pounds on the front end – not a lot by sport utility standards. A 2012 FX35 with rear-wheel drive is some 400 pounds lighter, and that lighter weight is distributed 51/40 front/rear. In short, a balanced chassis, all-independent suspension and responsive powertrains combine to make the FX a good handler within the segment of sport utility vehicles. That performance capability is enhanced by a driver's cockpit designed to complement a driver's sporting aspirations, with a smallish steering wheel and performance-oriented gauge package. Finally, with over seven inches of ground clearance you can get to the trailhead, although you may not wish to navigate same with your FX; better to take the mountain bike.
3.5 Liter DOHC V6
Since its introduction, Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 has been a sweet spot in its family of engines. And, while wishing the engineering team had adapted the larger 3.7-liter V6 (found in the G37) for the 2012 Infiniti FX, we continue to like its balance of high horsepower with relatively low weight, compact design and reasonable efficiency.
Rarely does a corporation embrace a love-it-or-leave-it exterior design, but Infiniti threw stylistic caution to the wind tunnel with the debut of the FX. And, while we found the refreshening in 2008 more disarming than the original, there seems to be some semblance of restraint with the new front fascia for the 2012 Infiniti FX. Kudos, then, to Infiniti's risk-taking corporate culture.
You step up, as with an SUV, to get into the Infiniti FX interior but, once there, driver and passenger are enveloped by a cocoon yof luxury fully appropriate to the FX price point (roughly $44K to $60K), and fully inappropriate to the more conventional entries in the segment. Although not as extreme as the exterior might suggest, the FX interior remains daring within a competitive arena that's generally focused on a balance of design and utility. And, although the seating area is reasonably generous, a driver-centric cockpit and a (relatively) small amount of cargo volume make this a more personal expression of the SUV experience. Beyond its cubic volume is cubic technology, especially when fitted with one or two of the optional packages. The centerpiece of the Premium Package is the Hard Drive Navigation, which also includes Streaming Audio via Bluetooth wireless technology and Around View Monitor with front and rear sonar system. The Deluxe Touring Package includes maple accents and quilted leather-appointed seats. Equip your FX50 with the Sport Package and you'll enjoy sport-style front seats and solid magnesium paddle shifters.
With a new grille and front fascia, the 2012 Infiniti FX enjoys a mid-cycle freshening that has stayed true to the design team's original intent. The new look is softer than the previous FX, but you'll not confuse this Infiniti with your cousin's Nissan Rogue. Despite the new face, the general overall proportions remain the same; sheetmetal below the beltline is barely able to contain the wheel-and-tire package (especially when the FX is equipped with 20-inch wheels), while topside the greenhouse looks slightly undersized relative to the SUV's stance. Its overall look may or not play at the neighborhood Walmart, but should be absolutely perfect on Rodeo Drive.
Befitting both the category and Infiniti's pack-it-with-value mantra, both the FX35 and the FX50 benefit from a wide array of standard features. On the outside it includes High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, a power moonroof, power rear liftgate, rear privacy glass and dual exhaust. Inside there's even more, beginning with dual-zone automatic temperature control, rear-seat heating and cooling vents, leather-appointed seating, 10-way power driver's seat, 8-way power passenger's seat, black lacquer interior trim and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The FX50 moves the needle a few notches higher, with quilted-leather upholstery, advanced climate control, tonneau cover and entry/exit assist for driver's seat and steering wheel.
First and foremost – in our view – is the availability of all-wheel drive on what was designed as a rear-wheel drive (RWD) platform, giving you all-season capability with AWD and a performance orientation on dry roads. When fitted with all-wheel drive, the FX35 still has only a little over half of its weight on the front wheels, in stark contrast with many crossovers suffering from a 60/40 front/rear imbalance. Most options are bundled into packages. The Premium Package includes navigation, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, 8-inch WVGA color touch-screen display and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth. The Deluxe Touring Package (FX35 only) builds on all that's inside with 20-inch alloy wheels, maple interior accents, climate-controlled front seats and quilted leather-appointed seating. The Technology Package includes Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Distance Control Assist. The Sport Package ups the ante for 2012 Infiniti FX50 drivers wanting to take on BMW X6 drivers, with Continuous Damping Control, Rear Active Steer and various sporting upgrades.
The 2012 Infiniti FX35 is powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine as in previous models; 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. Both engines are connected to a 7-speed automatic transmission with both manual-shift mode and Adaptive Shift Control.
303 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
262 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (RWD), 16/21 (AWD)
390 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 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."
10 people out of 19 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 25 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