Full 2010 Infiniti EX35 Review
What's New for 2010
For 2010, AWD versions of the Infiniti EX35 get standard heated front seats, the Journey model gets standard Bluetooth and all models get automatic headlamps and heated outside mirrors. Additional techno-goodies include a standard iPod/USB interface, an optional "plasmacluster" air filtration system, and extra navigation features (Bluetooth streaming audio, weather updates and the Zagat restaurant guide).
For quite some time now the station wagon has been out of favor. But that doesn't mean that Americans aren't interested in convenience or practicality. That's pretty much how the crossover SUV revolution came to be, and the 2010 Infiniti EX35 is one of the more recent additions to this growing crowd. Truth be told, the EX35 is more akin to compact wagons like the BMW 328i than crossovers like the Volvo XC60 in terms of functionality. It's not a big car. But what it does offer is most of the G37's sport sedan goodness, along with a more useful cargo bay, and that should be close enough to the magical "wagon by any other name" formula to attract shoppers in this segment.
Like its crossover brethren, the EX35 is based on a car platform, in this case the G37 sport sedan. Its wheelbase is 2 inches longer and its ride height 1 inch higher, but other than that, the EX is largely a G under the skin. There are two interesting exceptions, though. First, the EX's 3.5-liter V6 is a carryover from the old G35, as is the five-speed automatic transmission (the G37 has a 3.7-liter V6 and an improved seven-speed automatic). Second, while the EX35 borrows its front double-wishbone suspension design from the G37, its rear multilink arrangement is derived from the previous-generation FX SUV.
That may sound like an odd mishmash, but the results are impressive. Indeed, we think the EX35 may have the best ride/handling balance of any current Infiniti product, providing ample cornering capability without beating up occupants over bumps. The V6 may be down on power relative to the G37's, and the transmission may be short a couple of gears, but the EX still moves out smartly when you give it the spurs. Overall, this Infiniti's driving dynamics are more akin to a sport sedan's than a crossover's -- think of it as a marginally slower G37 with a more practical trunk.
Inside, the EX sports an attractive, dual-cowl dash design that employs high-quality materials and an available two-tone color scheme. There are also numerous standard and optional high-tech features, including Infiniti's innovative Around-View Monitor camera system and a trick hard-drive-based navigation system. Interior space isn't as impressive, however. The rear seat is a bit cramped, and while the folding rear seatbacks (power-folding with the Premium package) and hatchback body style facilitate cargo-hauling, the EX35 still can't hold a candle to larger, more traditional crossovers in these areas.
So the 2010 Infiniti EX35 isn't the most practical crossover on the block. If that's what you're after, you'll be better off with competitors like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK350, or the aforementioned Volvo XC60. But if you like the sound of sport sedan driving dynamics, a pleasant ride, a mildly elevated ride height and a still-useful wagonlike design, the EX35 is worth a close look. Americans may not like station wagons, but they're bound to appreciate this endearingly unusual Infiniti.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Infiniti EX35 is a five-passenger crossover luxury wagon available in base and Journey trim levels. Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, automatic headlamps, foglights, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, heated outside mirrors, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats (heated on AWD models), leather upholstery, two-tone cabin treatments, a rearview camera and a six-speaker stereo with single-CD player, satellite radio and a USB jack. The EX35 Journey adds a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, a power-adjustable steering column, heated front seats, wood interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an in-dash six-CD changer.
Notable options are limited to the Journey. The Premium package includes adaptive xenon headlights, aluminum roof rails, driver memory functions, an eight-way power passenger seat, a power-folding backseat and upgraded interior trim. Eighteen-inch wheels and an aero kit can be added to the Premium package. The Bose and Around-View Monitor package includes an 11-speaker Bose stereo with a single-CD player and digital music storage, a navigation system (including Bluetooth streaming audio, weather updates and the Zagat restaurant guide), a multicamera parking system with a bird's-eye view, and front and rear parking sensors. Note that the navigation system is only available via this package. The pricey Technology package includes lane departure warning and prevention systems, adaptive cruise control and intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Infiniti EX35 is available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The sole engine is a 3.5-liter V6, and it's attached to a five-speed automatic with manual shift control. Output is rated at 297 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. In performance testing, a rear-drive EX35 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds -- a quick time for this class. Fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, and 16/23/19 with all-wheel drive.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The optional Technology package adds the Forward Collision Warning (which uses the adaptive cruise control radar system to alert the driver of an impending collision), Intelligent Brake Assist (which automatically engages the brakes when the driver ignores FCW) and the lane departure warning system (which alerts the driver when the car starts to veer into another lane).
In government crash testing, the EX35 scored four out of five stars for frontal protection and five stars for side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the EX35 scored the best rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The EX35 has one of the warmest and most inviting interiors in its class. High-quality leather and interior trim available in a classy two-tone color scheme complements the soft lines and pleasing contours. The front seats are supportive and the driving position is excellent -- more so with the Journey's power tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The controls for the climate, stereo and optional navigation system are some of the most intuitive in the business, as is the case with the standard iPod interface.
The rear seat is less impressive, as its limited legroom can be a pain on long trips. The cargo area is also somewhat compromised -- the 18.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seatbacks is only marginally greater than the trunk space in many sedans. Infiniti doesn't say what the cargo capacity is with the rear seatbacks folded, but suffice it to say it's going to be less than what you'll find in most competing crossovers.
The 2010 Infiniti EX35 is a treat to drive, even if you're not a fan of sport-utility vehicles. That's because the EX is really more of a car than anything else. The balance between ride quality and handling is close to ideal -- even with the optional 18-inch wheels, the EX35 is perfectly comfortable over broken pavement, yet it feels sharp and responsive around tight corners. The V6 pulls hard from almost any speed, and the brakes are strong and easy to modulate. Those who go with the EX instead of the G37 will rarely miss the G's slightly better overall dynamics.