2009 Infiniti FX50 Long-Term Road Test

Comfort


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2009 Infiniti FX50: Subtle?

January 27, 2010

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Subtle is not a word I would usually use to describe the 2009 Infiniti FX50. But despite its bulky design with prominent nose and big V8 engine, there is one element of the FX50 that is subtle: the seat heaters. You get three levels of subtle, subtler and hint of warmth. Even the dial that controls the function is small and understated.

Now, you know how we love our seat heaters at IL. Personally, I use them all of the time, even in the summer. So, here are the good things about the seat heaters in the 2009 Infiniti FX50. They work instantly without a long warm-up period. The heat is distributed up the backrest and not just on the seat bottom. I love that. They stay on unlike some other vehicles that slowly decrease the heat until they turn themselves off. The dial stays in the "on" position so next time you get in the car, they are already on.

I just wish they were hotter.

Anyone have an Infiniti FX out there? What do you think of the seat heaters?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD -- Overkill

January 04, 2010

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Over the weekend I opted to take my ratty old compact sedan to go shopping rather than fire up the 2009 Infiniti FX50. The FX was just too much work, too big to park, too much of a statement for me.

I decided it was like taking a battleship to go fishing.

But I love the interior of this AWD SUV. And the seats are so comfortable you don't want to get out.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 28,328 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: It Grows On You

December 04, 2009

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I'm the first to admit that the FX is a slightly silly vehicle. Too small to be a utility vehicle and too big to feel truly sporty, it's one of those crossovers that seemingly has no business case.

Then I drive it and like it which makes me think Infiniti is on the something. If I had some money to spend and wanted something fast, luxurious and completely different compared to the BMW and Mercedes sedans already crowding the office parking lot, the FX might make my list.

There's the still the issue of ride quality, which is not good, and the almost comical cargo capacity. Then again, it can rip freeway on ramps as well, or better, than many sedans and the V8 barely seems to notice the substantial weight. Looks pretty cool too in my book.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 26,678 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Seat Cushion

September 24, 2009

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I conducted a completely non-scientifical measurement of the length of the seat cushion in our FX50. Then I conducted a completely non-scientifical measurement of the length of my leg from the back of my tush to the back of my knee while I'm sitting. Turns out my "contact patch" is exactly the same length as the seat cushion (about 20 non-scientifical inches), which confirms one cause of my inability to get totally comfortable in the FX. The cushion hits me right smack in the back of the knees. It's the same in most BMWs, too.

Adding to the discomfort is the bump of the extendable portion of the seat (seen in profile in the above photo). I can feel the split in the seat pretty prominently there (even though it's not in extended mode), and it serves as a small, but nagging, irritation the entire time I'm driving. It's not making me crazy(er), but it is annoying. Maybe if my femur were longer, I wouldn't be so in touch with the cushion, and it wouldn't be so noticeable. It might bother you, too, if your thigh bone is about 20 inches long.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 Infiniti FX50: 7 Things I Learned in Monterey

August 18, 2009

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This past weekend our long-term Infiniti FX50 and I spent 800 miles together. Most of it (600+ miles) was highway running from Santa Monica up to Monterey and back. The rest was city driving in and around the Carmel Valley and Monterey Peninsula, including several trips to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Spend that much time in a car you're bound to learn a few things about the machine. I learned 7 things about the FX50. And here they are.

1) Its seat is extremely comfortable on a long run. After the late night 300+ mile run up to Monterey I emerged from the FX without a single ache. And I hadn't spend a single second of the ride trying to get comfortable.

2) The FX has range. It'll go more than 400 miles on the highway on a single tank. Nice.

3) It feels great at 130 mph and still has some speed left in it. (I learned this thanks to a professional driver who experienced the truck's speed on a closed course.)

4) Its navigation system is one of the best. It's extremely easy to program, its screen is large and well detailed and it never gave us a bum direction all weekend.

5) Its steering is near perfect with just the right weight, ratio and feedback.

6) It's quiet on the highway, which is another reason why you can drive the thing over 300 miles with zero fatigue.

7) The last thing I learned about the FX is that I'm a fan. This is a great vehicle. One I should have appreciated sooner.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 19,791 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Seating Position Lowdown

August 12, 2009

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Today I'm going to disagree with my friend and colleague Caroline Pardilla. Recently she posted a blog about the great seating position and awesome seat adjustability in our long-term Infiniti FX50.

She wrote: "I love it when a car has seats that can be adjusted to suit every height, leg length, torso length, width, etc. Feels so luxurious sitting in a driver seat that feels tailor made for you. Just look at how many different ways you can adjust our 2009 Infiniti FX50's driver seat! If you can't find a comfortable position here then you probably won't find one anywhere."

Sorry Caroline, I don't agree. You might be perfectly comfortable in the FX, but I am not.

Although the FX's driver's seat is height adjustable it still doesn't adjust low enough for me. I feel like I sit too high in the FX, which is too bad because the seat itself is very comfortable and the truck's pedals and steering wheel are well placed. I just can't put myself in the proper position.

This is actually a more common problem than it should be. Note to car companies: If the vehicle is high up, the seat in the vehicle doesn't need to be high up for short people to get that desired "command seating position". And hello, if you're going to make the seat adjust up and down increase the range of adjustment so that even big, strapping young men like me can feel at home.

Funny, only the Germans seem to get this consistanly right. BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and VW allow the most seat height adjustment and understand wanting to sit in a vehicle and not on it.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 19,006 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Custom Seating

July 29, 2009

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I love it when a car has seats that can be adjusted to suit every height, leg length, torso length, width, etc. Feels so luxurious sitting in a driver seat that feels tailor made for you. Just look at how many different ways you can adjust our 2009 Infiniti FX50's driver seat! If you can't find a comfortable position here then you probably won't find one anywhere. And thanks to the Sport package we also get power bolster adjustment and thigh support (for both driver and passenger). Of course since I'm more apt to use the FX50 in rush-hour traffic than for some canyon carving, the only action those power buttons see is when I'm bored sitting at a red light playing "Just how snug can I get it?"

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2009 Infiniti FX50: No sport setting required

June 10, 2009

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It has been noted numerous times in the long-term blog how our Infiniti FX50 has a firm, some say harsh, ride. It's not too bad for me. But what is odd is that it has a sport suspension switch that degrades the ride quality even further. The only other setting is Auto.

I drove down to San Diego a while back and tried the sport setting on some relatively smooth sections of the 5 and 405. That lasted for about 30 seconds: it was too harsh.

I'm surprised that Infiniti instead did not include a comfort setting; that would be a welcome addition.

BTW, when I drove it last night, the warning telltale lights that Lord Vader noticed no longer appeared. Typical electronics fix? -- power down / power up? We'll keep on eye on it.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 14,630 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Sexy Beast

June 08, 2009

I know a lot of folks aren't really that into the looks of our FX. It's got big ol' wagon wheel sized rims, a funky face reminiscent of a catfish, bad visibility and terrible gas mileage. But I think for a lot of folks that's the point.

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Well, maybe not for the terrible gas mileage, but the power and grunt you get out of that engine is worth it. That's is if you don't mind paying for it. I know I greatly appreciated it for the old Interstate 110 full stop highway entrances when there is a lot of fast moving traffic. An open space, a mash of the pedal and this thing roars to life.

It's luxury interior appointments let you know you're riding in style. You think it's got an ugly face? The Susan Boyle of the automotive world? It doesn't look like much else out there and that's a good thing in the Civic, Prius, and Camry crowded highways of Los Angeles.

I'm giving our FX50 two big thumbs up. Yay! for fuggly!

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 14,582 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Needs a Big, Asphalt-Paved Yard

April 24, 2009

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A couple months ago, I drove our 2009 Infiniti FX50 to Napa and was amazed by the ride quality: It was actually good, despite our FX's 265/45R21 104W Dunlop SP Sport 01 summer tires.

But then a couple nights ago, I drove the FX50 straight into the center of LA County on the 10 and 60 freeways. And now I have to agree with Kelly and Brian: It doesn't ride well at all over LA's grooved concrete slabs. You feel every expansion joint.

As a pure indulgence, I would enjoy using an Infiniti FX50 to tour California's back roads, though not as my sole car (obviously, I'd need something small, sharp and rear-drive for more serious cornering).

But for urban transit, the FX just won't do.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,961 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Bug Catcher Extraodinaire!

April 13, 2009

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Just got back from a 1,220 mile trip in the Infiniti FX50 S, during which I made made several discoveries.

One: Despite my raw sciatic nerve, which usually makes me fairly sensitive to bounce and jounce - and despite contrary comments from several colleagues (Ms. Toepke and Mr. Moody) - I quite enjoyed the big Infiniti's ride. So did my wife, who is quite sensitive to uncomfortable, stiff suspensions and found the FX50's ride (and seats) to be, in her words, "nice and firm but not too much, and really supportive."

Two: While certainly a long, long way from beingin a "green" vehicle, the Infiniti FX50 can turn in fairly decent fuel consumption numbers for such a hefty ride. We averaged 18.3 mpg and had one 485-mile run averaging 19 mpg on our way from Southern California to the Northern Californuia wine country.

Three: Although it likes to cruise at about 80 mph and just sorta naturally slots in there, the CHP doesn't think that's a good excuse.

Four: While the '09 FX50's gi-normous front end probably was designed to shout "get the h... outta my way" at other cars on the road, what it really excels at is catching bugs. Ugh (and this picture was taken only a third of the way through the trip!). Took several hours with a plastic scraper to get 'em all off. The butterfly was pretty, though.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor, Green Car Advisor @11030 miles.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Sport Package Equals Stiff Ride

March 30, 2009

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There's a short cut out of my neighborhood that's peppered with whale-sized speed bumps. May be four or five of those bad boys, and it's always interesting for me to see how different test cars handle the hurdles.

I knew this weekend's test drive in the 2009 Infiniti FX50 was unusually harsh when my daughter commented from the rear seat, "When did they make these bumps bigger?"

Not everyone appreciates an ultra-stiff ride.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 9,345 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Cool Seats Not So Hot

February 06, 2009

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I've got a love hate thing happening with the seats in our 2009 Infiniti FX50. I love the upholstery with its cross stitching and diamond shapes. Reminds me of the seats in the Bentley Continental GT, which has one of the sexiest interiors around. I also like the way they feel; enough bolstering to keep you feeling like you're in a performance machine, but not enough to restrict my breathing.

My problems are with the bottom cushion that doesn't tilt down in back enough for me and the seat heaters which have the BTU output of day old pizza. Maybe by Monday I'll feel more love and less hate.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Oregon Holiday Trip Candidate?

December 19, 2008

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Yes, it's that time of year again. Time for me to select a vehicle from our long-term fleet for my family's annual 2,000 mile holiday trip to see my folks on the Oregon coast. As luck would have it, our new all-wheel drive 2009 Infiniti FX50 arrived just in time to make it onto the short list.

After a few days behind the wheel, I'm impressed. It steers and drives very well, and will make short work of the sinuous mountain roads we'll negotiate for almost half of the distance. It'd be nice to drive something on this trip that's a bit athletic, for a change.

And it is very comfortable and well-trimmed inside, too. Infiniti sure has upped their game on the interior front. And it has toys. Navi? Check. iPod connection? Yep. Seat heaters? Uh huh. We're good to go.

But it's not going on this trip. Here's why:

1) Not enough cargo space. The aft-positioned cab and long hood certainly give the FX50 a distinctive profile, but it doesn't leave much room behind the rear seats for a pile of presents and luggage for 4 people out on a ten-day trip. Without presents, it would work. Maybe I'll reconsider it for the July trip. For the record, there are 24.8 cubic feet back there.

But even if everything was soft-sided and I was particularly good at Tetris on packing day, there'd still be...

2) The summer tire problem. Our FX50 has the Sport package, which means that the 265/45R21 tires (yes, you read that right) are Dunlop SP07 summer tires instead of Bridgestone Dueller all-season units. As a result, our FX50 isn't suitable for travel in snowy climes, despite the presence of all-wheel drive.

Chances of snow and ice are slim along our mostly coastal route, but it's not unheard of. Just last year our Buick Enclave saw a bit of the white stuff on the same trip.

But here's the clincher: this year we're adding a side trip to Bend, Oregon to see my sister-in-law's new place. We have to travel inland and cross mountains to get there. We'll see snow and ice for sure this time.

Sure, if we lived someplace where it snowed all winter, like our brother in Michigan Dan Pund, we could simply fit snow tires and reinstall the summer tires after the big thaw. But that M.O. doesn't work here in LA.

Game over FX50 -- for this trip, anyway.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,952 miles

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