Full 2008 Infiniti FX35 Review
What's New for 2008
The 2008 Infiniti FX35 enters its sixth year with little change, simply adding satellite radio as standard equipment.
Despite what its tallish SUV profile and comfortable backseat might imply, the 2008 Infiniti FX35 could be considered a sport sedan in SUV clothing. Thanks to a strong 275-horsepower V6 and sport-tuned chassis (derived from the previous-generation Infiniti G35), the FX35 accelerates with vigor, attacks corners eagerly and generally feels alive on the road. To drive an FX35 is to be convinced that a sport-utility vehicle can deliver on the "sport" part of the equation.
The Infiniti FX35 also does reasonably well on the luxury front. A well-designed interior features pleasant ergonomics and leather-lined seats that we've found to be especially comfortable. Upscale features like a 300-watt Bose stereo and rearview camera make life even easier, and Infiniti's distinctive shape, even after five years on the market, can still make quite a fashion statement at your local Macy's parking lot.
Unfortunately, the FX35's emphasis on speed and style comes with a few consequences. That distinctive shape detracts from cargo space and impedes visibility. It also precludes any possibility of a third-row seat, a feature that's been springing up in more and more competitors. Finally, while the FX35 is as comfortable as any to sit in, its firm suspension doesn't deliver the nicest ride.
Overall, we've found that the best entries in the midsize luxury SUV class make fewer compromises when blending entertainment, comfort and utility. Consumers shopping in this class should especially pay attention to the equally athletic BMW X5, the roomy Cadillac SRX and the jack-of-all-trades Acura MDX. However, anyone whose top priority is driving entertainment should give the 2008 Infiniti FX35 strong consideration.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Infiniti FX35 is a midsize luxury SUV that comes in one well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, power front seats, a power telescoping steering wheel, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a rearview monitor, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and full power accessories. Options include a moonroof, Infiniti's Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and run-flat tires. The Technology Package bundles a navigation system, a lane-departure warning system and adaptive cruise control. There's also the Sport Package that adds a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels, aluminum interior trim and a dark chrome front grille.
Powertrains and Performance
A 3.5-liter V6 making a potent 275 hp and 268 pound-feet of torque powers the 2008 Infiniti FX35. A five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode is the sole gearbox. Rear-wheel drive is standard, though the FX35 offers an optional all-wheel-drive system with a rear bias to preserve its sporty handling capabilities.
Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, traction control and stability control are all standard, as are a rearview monitor and tire-pressure monitor. The optional Lane Departure Warning System alerts the driver to unintended movement of the vehicle out of a designated traffic lane. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the FX scored five (out of five) stars for its protection of occupants in both front and side impacts, and in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset testing, the FX earned the top score of "Good."
Interior Design and Special Features
Although leather seating is standard, the FX35's cabin doesn't feel as upscale or warm as some others; it almost gives the feeling of sitting in a less elite Nissan product. Despite the presence of too many small, similar buttons on the dash, ergonomics are mostly well thought out. However, a more serious matter is how the narrow rear window and considerable blind spots compromise rearward visibility. There's plenty of room for four adults, though the sloping roof can make things tight for taller rear passengers. Cargo space is even more of a squeeze, as there are just 65 cubic feet of space compared to the 70-85 cubic feet found in most midsize SUVs.
Infiniti's efforts to instill the FX35 with a truly athletic character can be felt with every drive. The strong, smooth V6 and well-matched five-speed automatic provide snappy response, while tenacious tires and quick steering keep the grip high and body roll low. Finally, its braking distances are short even by car standards and almost stellar by an SUV's. The main issue we have with the 2008 Infiniti FX35 is its ride quality, which might be too stiff for the average luxury SUV shopper. Also worth mentioning is the FX35's behavior when pushed to its handling limits. Its rear end has a tendency to step out during aggressive driving when the standard stability control is switched off. Our recommendation? Leave the stability control on.