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Crossover SUV shoppers, by the very nature of the vehicle they seek, are a demanding bunch. They want something that drives like a sedan, yet is a capable people mover and competent cargo hauler. That's a tall order to fill. But not everyone seeking this versatility wants a vehicle that has all of these traits in equal measure. Some drivers are willing to sacrifice some utility in exchange for an extra helping of sporty driving character. Enter the Infiniti EX.
Shoppers should know that throughout its run, Infiniti's compact crossover had an identity crisis of sorts, as it has had (including the current iteration) no fewer than three monikers. First came the EX35. It was then renamed the EX covered here and ultimately was dubbed the QX50 (covered in a separate review) to keep in line with Infiniti's recent naming protocol in which all its SUVs have a QX prefix. All three are similar, with only minor changes made through the years to their powertrains and features.
Whatever you call it, this compact sport-utility has the "sport" part easily covered thanks to a mechanical similarity to Infiniti's highly regarded G Sedan. Packing a powerful V6 and sharp reflexes, the EX offers exceptional performance. It also boasts numerous high-end luxury features. The main downside is that it lacks rear-seat passenger room and cargo capacity relative to most rivals. Still, if you're more concerned about driving than people- and cargo-hauling, the EX should more than satisfy.
Used Infiniti EX Models
Produced from 2011 through 2013, the Infiniti EX was a five-passenger small luxury crossover available in base and Journey trim levels. Initially, the EX came with a 3.5-liter V6 making 297 horsepower, matched to a seven-speed automatic with manual shift control. For 2013, a more powerful engine was fitted, a 3.7-liter V6 packing 325 hp. Either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive was available. Regardless of which engine it has, an EX provides swift acceleration, with the 0-60-mph dash taking only about 6 seconds.
Like all Infinitis, the EX came very well equipped. Standard features included keyless/ignition entry, dual-zone climate control, power front seats, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. Stepping up to the Journey added a sunroof, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats and Bluetooth. Optional features included adaptive xenon headlights, driver memory functions, a power-folding rear seat, a Bose stereo, a navigation system, parking sensors, a multicamera parking system, a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, a collision warning system and a blind-spot warning system.
Since it used the same platform as Infiniti's G Sedan, it shouldn't be a surprise that the EX shines in terms of driving dynamics. In fact, the Infiniti EX is really more of a sport sedan with a tall ride height. In reviews, we noted that it strikes a near-ideal balance between ride quality and handling. Even with 18-inch wheels it feels comfortable over broken pavement, yet sharp and responsive in tight corners. The V6 pulls hard from almost any speed, and the brakes are strong and easy to modulate. Those who opt for the EX instead of the G sedan will not likely miss the G's slightly better overall dynamics.
As enjoyable as the EX is from behind the wheel, though, it doesn't exactly put the "utility" in sport-utility vehicle. The EX35 is short on rear cargo room compared to its competitors, and the rear seat offers just 28.5 inches of legroom -- also substantially less than what's available in rival models. However, for singles and couples drawn to the comforts and conveniences of SUV ownership, the elegant Infiniti EX35 is an appealing option. It's got plenty of power, and it also boasts one of the best ride/handling balances of any premium compact crossover. If you don't need a lot of space for kids, pets or cargo, the EX should prove rather appealing.