Full 2010 Infiniti FX35 Review
What's New for 2010
After a complete redesign last year, the 2010 Infiniti FX35 receives minor changes to its feature content. Bluetooth and a USB audio port are now standard. The optional Bose premium audio system gets 2 GB of digital music storage and the available navigation system now has added functionality with an in-dash DVD audio/video drive, Bluetooth streaming audio, a Zagat restaurant guide and weather reports.
Nowadays, shoppers in the market for a luxury crossover have no shortage of choices. The vast majority of these car-based SUVs deliver a carlike ride, sumptuous interiors and a wide range of features. Standing out among this crowded field is no easy feat, but the 2010 Infiniti FX35 attempts to grab as much of the spotlight as it can with its evocative styling, athletic performance and technological wizardry that should please nearly any early adopter.
The FX35's external styling is smooth and flowing, unlike the chunky and angular lines of its competitors. Unique styling does have a tendency to bring out the critic in all of us, though, and the FX draws both praise and derision -- with most of the criticism levied at its nose, which some compare to some sort of sea creature. The FX's athletic performance, however, is hard to argue against.
Underneath the sculpted sheet metal of the Infiniti FX35 lie the same basic underpinnings of its G37 and EX35 stablemates. This sporty platform imbues the FX35 with nimble, carlike handling while the 303-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 provides enough oomph to satisfy most drivers. For power gluttons, the related FX50 packs a 390-hp V8.
The 2010 FX35 also boasts plenty of cutting-edge technology. The optional adaptive cruise control features Distance Control Assist (DCA) which maintains a consistent gap to cars in front by sensing the distance and adjusting throttle and brakes accordingly. The Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) goes a step farther by bringing the FX35 to a complete stop if need be, then resuming its preset speed. Other electronic gadgets, like a top-view camera system, add even more appeal to the FX35.
The 2010 Infiniti FX35 is not without its faults, though, and it seems no amount of technology can fix what ails it. As with some other luxury SUVs, luggage space behind the rear seats is unimpressive. The FX's rear seats are nothing to write home about either, as some full-sized adults may find those quarters a bit cramped. Plenty of other crossovers, such as the Acura MDX or the Lincoln MKX, provide more space for passengers and cargo.
Yet the FX35's outstanding performance and unique styling also make it a bit of an oddity in the crossover market. The new Acura ZDX is priced close to the Infiniti and features edgy styling, but it also suffers from similar space issues and isn't nearly as fun to drive. The BMW X6 is really the only other crossover with comparable performance, but it only seats four and is priced well past the FX35. For select buyers seeking a sporty ride, aggressive styling and boatloads of automotive technology, the 2010 Infiniti FX35 remains a standout choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Infiniti FX35 is a midsize luxury crossover SUV available in either rear-wheel drive or AWD. The single well-equipped trim level includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, heated outside mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, full power accessories, power front seats, cruise control and a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls. Also standard are dual-zone automatic climate control, a back-up camera, Bluetooth and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio/USB connections, a 2.0 GB music server and satellite radio.
Options include a Premium package, which features heated and ventilated front seats, driver seat memory, quilted leather seating and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column. A Deluxe Touring package (which requires the Premium package) adds 20-inch alloy wheels, maple wood interior trim, alloy pedals and a tonneau cover. The Navigation package (which also requires the Premium package) adds front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree parking camera system and a hard-drive-based touchscreen navigation system (with voice recognition, real-time traffic, a Zagat restaurant guide, weather reports, a 9.3 GB music server and streaming Bluetooth audio).
The Technology package (which requires navigation) adds rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control with Distance Control Assist for enhanced capabilities in heavy traffic, adaptive headlamps, IBA and a lane-departure warning and prevention system. Those who spring for the Technology package can also add a rear-seat entertainment system. A tow package is available for AWD models only.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Infiniti FX35 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 303 hp and 262 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only transmission available. Rear-wheel drive is standard, though the FX35 offers an optional AWD system with a rear bias to preserve its sporty handling capabilities.
In a recent track test of an FX35, acceleration was rather quick, with the FX reaching 60 mph from a standstill in only 6.6 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel consumption for the AWD FX35 at 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined, while rear-drive models are rated at 16 mpg city/23 highway and 19 combined.
Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, traction control and stability control are all standard on the 2010 Infiniti FX35. Fully loaded versions with the optional Technology package also benefit from a lane departure warning and prevention system that can help keep the vehicle from inadvertently traveling out of its intended lane.
Also, the IBA uses the laser range finder from the adaptive cruise control to analyze closing speeds to an obstacle ahead. If a forward collision is imminent, the system sounds a warning to prompt driver action and can automatically apply the brakes up to 0.5g. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the FX its top score of "Good" in frontal-offset crash testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 Infiniti FX35 features a luxurious interior with plenty of soft-touch materials and supple leather to surround all occupants. The vehicle's audio and navigation system interface is one of the best in the business; it's a bit tricky to figure out at first, but the various control redundancies make it easy to find a way of operation that suits your style. The optional 360-degree camera system is particularly useful for parking maneuvers as it provides a top-down view of the FX's location relative to other cars or curbs.
The front seats provide ample adjustment as well as head- and legroom; most people will find them quite comfortable and supportive. The rear seats aren't quite as enjoyable, as larger passengers will find the accommodations a bit cramped relative to some competing vehicles. Luggage space, at only 25 cubic feet, is about average for a midsize luxury crossover, but folding the rear seats will provide just 62 cubes of cargo space, well short of most rivals.
Much like previous FX models, the 2010 FX35's athletic nature is one of its strong suits. The powerful, smooth V6 and well-matched seven-speed automatic provide snappy acceleration. Handling and steering are also impressive for a crossover, and the FX35 can be driven down a curvy road with confidence. The vehicle's ride quality isn't particularly cushy, however, and opting for the 20-inch wheels brings a noticeable bout of tire noise and thump into the cabin.