2009 Infiniti FX50 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Infiniti FX50: There's a Bee In My... Seat.

February 03, 2010

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I was completely worn out after a long day. I had 60 miles to go through rush hour traffic before I could call it quits. It's times like this that I hate living in LA.

While driving the FX, I noticed a curious noise. I had the seat heater fan blowing and every time I hit the gas, the fan would buzz like a bee as it increased its revolutions. It sounded like a car radio without a noise filter. To double check, I turned the fan off and the noise went away. Back on, it angrily buzzed.

This is what traffic and boredom reduces me to. Sometimes I hate this town.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 29,825 miles

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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: Door Panel Replaced

January 21, 2010

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Finally. It took 2 months of ordering and re-ordering the replacement door panel for our 2009 Infiniti FX50. But it finally arrived. We stopped by Cerritos Infiniti to have it installed and now it's good as new. And the work itself took just under 2 hours.

Total Cost: $0

Days Out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 29,000 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Floor Mat Creep

January 14, 2010

2009 infiniti fx50 floor mat on throttle

I didn't check the floor mat's positioning before I got into the driver seat recently. It's been a couple of months since floor mats were a main topic in the news, and I'd gotten complacent. But as soon as I started driving, I could tell something was wrong. The throttle pedal felt lumpy.

At a stoplight, I peeked down into the footwell and saw that the floor mat had crept up onto the bottom-hinged throttle pedal, as you can see in the photo above. While the light was still red, I reached down and pulled it as far away from the pedal as possible and then went on my merry way with no further incident.

Later, when I got to my destination, I figured I'd better reattach the mat, if that was possible. When I lifted up the mat, I saw that, unlike last time, there was a clip attached to the mat (we must have picked one up recently), but it had come loose from its anchor point in the carpet again. I pushed the clip into the hole as best I could and then rehooked the mat. It seemed to hold well enough. But it was a good reminder to check that mat every time I get in.

Bryn MacKinnon

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Love the Trap Door

January 11, 2010

2009 infiniti fx50 cargo area

Every time I get into our FX50 and have to install my child safety seat anew (which is every time I switch cars), I am reminded that I love the hinged cargo cover. It's like having a trap door from the back seat to the cargo area.

After I cinch down my kid's giant car seat, I always make sure to secure the top tether to the top tether anchor (which is often on the back of the back seat, below the cargo cover). To do this in many SUVs and hatchbacks that have rigid cargo covers, I have to jam and squeeze the top tether's large buckle through a tiny space not really designed to accomodate such a thing. Not so with the FX50. The hinged section of the cargo cover that's closest to the back seat easily just pushes down to let me drop the tether down where it needs to go.

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2009 Infiniti FX50S: SQUEEEEEEEEEE

January 07, 2010

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...and we're not talking the super-cute pictures of baby animals type squee. What we're dealing with in our 2009 Infiniti FX50S is a super-high-pitched (probably out of some people's hearing range) squuuuuueeeeeee every time you depress the accelerator with an iPod connected.

It's caused by improperly shielded/separated wires that are mixing signals when a current says, "Hey! Fuel pump....GO!" If we were to rip the FX50 apart we'd most likely find that the wires powering the iPod connection hard-wired in the center console are, in some spot, in close proximity to the wires that make fuel pumps pump. They could even be wrapped in the same harness. *gasp*

Bush-league mistake that every rookie car audio installer would catch before turning the system on. Never had this happen in any other Nissan/infiniti...only this one. Lame.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 28,511 miles

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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: Parts on Back-Order

December 28, 2009

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Some time ago the passenger door panel on our 2009 Infiniti FX50 began to peel. So we took the FX50 to Cerritos Infiniti for repair. At that time our advisor informed us the peeling trim was a known issue. She ordered the replacement door panel and sent us on our way.

"I'll call you when the parts arrive. But they are on back-order and we probably won't see them for two weeks." That's what she said.

Two weeks passed and our phone was silent. We called the dealer to follow up and learned that the part number for our door panel had been changed internally. Some kind of inventory glitch. What that meant to us was a cancelled order. And to re-order the same part with the correct number would take another two weeks. Looks like we're going to need more super glue to get us through to next year.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 28,000 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Our Favorite Caption

December 18, 2009

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Thanks to mrryte for this week's favorite caption. You can always get me with a Star Wars reference.

Here are the others we dug:

Arm wrestle? (oldchap)
Did the Earth move for you too?! (ergsum)
Love struck, the FX50 asked if it could D8R! (ergsum)
Don't tread on me (mnorm1)
Ugly and the Beast (e90_m3)
Separated at birth? (dougtheeng)
Cat meet catfish. (dougtheeng)
Come here ya big lug and let me plant one on ya (626gt)
Infiniti's top secret front facia department (imarcr2)
Time to feed the CAT (ergsum)
I think that hood scoop is actually *hurting* your top end (zc1)
The FX prepares to meet its maker. (hybris)

What was your favorite?

This was the last caption contest until the New Year. Thanks for playing.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Infiniti Fx50: Preset Hell

December 15, 2009

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There are many ways to switch radio stations in the Infiniti FX50. But for some reason, all of the buttons, knobs, and dials skip through the presets only.

See that big dial in the middle? Turn it and it advances you through the presets. Try the arrows. They don't help. Push the AM-FM-SAT button, it sitches between the presets on the screen, jumping between bands.

Push the SEEK-CAT arrow. It seeks through the presets. Try the scan button. It scans through the presets.

Turn the tuning knob. It moves through the presets. Push the numbered buttons. As expected, they choose the specific preeset stations.

Shouldn't the tuning knob at least allow you to go station by station so you can set the presets to your liking? I'm sure it is possible to change the settings but looking in the manual while driving? Not a possibility.

Give up and listen to the classic rock station? My only choice.

Look in the manual after you get home? No longer care.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 27,778 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50S: A Tale of Two Shift Paddles

November 16, 2009

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This is upshift paddle on our long-term Nissan GT-R. Jump ahead if you care how this relates to our long-term FX50.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Dimming the Instrument Panel

November 05, 2009

Last night, I got into the FX50 only to have my retinas attacked by a horde of super-bright gauges. I decided to remedy the situation by dimming the instrument panel. Given that this Infiniti is such a tech-laden beast, I expected this process to be unnecessarily complicated -- I expected to have to navigate a boatload of menus to get the job done.

Then I noticed that the controls for this function are right where you'd traditionally look to find them -- near the perimeter of the instrument panel. A couple of taps later, the brightness was dimmed and my retinas were safe from harm. Glad to see that Infiniti didn't deem it necessary to reinvent the wheel on this one.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Bond. James Bond.

October 30, 2009

There are some pretty late nights here at the office from time to time. I had a string of them in a row. To add on top a touch of the flu and I'm getting a little loopy by the end of the day.

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I was pretty much out of it as I left last night. I was waiting at the stop light to exit the garage when I looked down on the passenger seat. I swear to god I started to hear the piano intro to "Diamonds Are Forever" as I looked over the stitch patterns of the seat. All I needed to complete the package was Shirley Bassey to start belting out notes right behind my head.

I need to get some sleep.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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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: A Tech Gadget That Actually Works

September 22, 2009

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There's a growing number of us that have become resistant to the latest automotive gadgets, often because they are useless replications of things that already worked just fine. In this case, however, the FX50's proximity sensors actually worked quite nicely.

As you can see from the picture, I was backing out of a tight space that was constrained by our Mazda 6 on the left and a sizable concrete pillar on the right. With the FX's bird's eye view screen I was able to back out with ease.

Now of course, I could have accomplished the same feat by merely swinging my head back and forth a half dozen times, but that's not progress people. Think of all the tendons I spared by looking straight ahead the whole time. My neck feels more relaxed just thinking about it.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 23, 078 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: TPMS Revisited

September 21, 2009

2009 infiniti fx50 tire pressure display

As you can see here, commenters dubaizen and drewsrx were right: The FX50 does tell you what the actual pressure is in each tire. I just didn't think to look when I was in problem-solving mode last week. You just push the physical Info button and then tap "Tire Pressure" on the touchscreen (of the previous screen), and it gives you the psi for all four tires all at once like a good luxury car should.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 22,942 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Recaro Child Seat

September 08, 2009

2009 Infiniti FX50 with Recaro Como child seat

Weekend with the family, time to cinch down our Recaro Como child safety seat. It was actually pretty easy, though there's minimal maneuvering room in the back seat for such a thing. Good thing my bony butt is also small. It was easy because the leather upholstery is nice and grippy, so it worked on the first try, not something I can say for all leather upholstered LT cars. I did have to remove the headrest, but that wasn't a problem once I inclined the seatback forward a bit. Leg room for the kiddie was kinda limited, especially for a crossover (front passenger seat is adjusted for someone 5'8"). And thanks to the FX's natural visibility limitations, at least the gigantic Recaro didn't make the visibility much worse, like it usually does in other cars.

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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 AWD: Great Steering Wheel

August 06, 2009

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I went from alternating among three performance cars for a big comparo (it will be going live in the coming days) straight into our longterm 2009 Infiniti FX50.

And you know what? This big SUV has a better steering wheel than any of those performance cars.

I'm not talking about the ancillary stuff like the buttons, I mean the actual wheel itself.

The overall diameter is right. Its leather wrap looks and feels great--neither sticky nor slippery.

There are nice little pockets for your fingertips on the undersides of the spokes at 9 and 3, and the rim itself fits human hands (what a concept). Your thumbs fall to rest naturally on any one of several spots at the "saddles" on the front side of the spokes.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Mystery Driver

August 04, 2009

Usually I can tell who drove the car before me by various hints. It could be the seat backs slung low, seat moved far forward, or a particular radio station. All are solid clues to pointing to some Editor on staff.

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Last night I got into our FX50, and upon start up I was assaulted by a very loud radio and the seat cooling feature on max blowing frosty air up my bum. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a joke, or the person before more was roasting and rocking out.

I can tell you I was wide awake after that.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Wood A-Peel

August 03, 2009

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Our longterm 2009 Infiniti FX50's fake wood applique is coming unglued on the passenger front door.

Hard to say if it was "encouraged" by a bratty child (or a bratty significant other). By the looks of the intact mirror-image piece on the driver's side, I'd guess no, as the top edge tucks under the seam pretty well and would not be an obvious target for a nefarious-minded miniature person.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 17,724 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: Dude, It's Got a Plasmacluster

July 13, 2009

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Start up our 2009 Infiniti FX50 and a grape-cluster-shaped icon appears on the climate control display. For a while I wasn't sure what it meant, but I looked it up today. In addition to having an automatic air recirculation function, the FX50's climate control system has an ion-based air purifier.

Based on Sharp-branded technology, the "Plasmacluster" operates in two modes: Clean and Control. The cleaning mode emits positive and negative ions out of the air vents to "neutralize airborne particles" such as dust and pollen. The control mode just emits stabilizing negative ions. It's fully automated, so there's nothing you can do as the driver to control it, but you can at least tell what's going on as the color of the icon changes from blue (cleaning) to green (control).

This feature comes on the FX50 only and not the FX35. Without a scientific test, it's pretty hard to determine how effective it is at improving air quality. But for what it's worth, I will say that our FX does seem to keep out outside odors better than other cars I've driven with automatic fresh/recirc air functions.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 16,398 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Ventilated Front Seats

July 10, 2009

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Almost any car can be equipped with heated seats these days. But ventilated front seats are still limited to luxury vehicles, and a small selection at that. Our Infiniti FX50 has them, though, and they're standard. I've been trying out the cooling function for the past few days. Turn the seat climate knob to one of three "blue" points and a fan underneath the seat blows air through the seat's perforated leather upholstery.

The "blow" description is actually my best guess; it's really hard to determine whether the fan is pulling or blowing air because the effect is quite faint. It does work -- after about 30 seconds of it on, your backside will start to feel cooler, especially if you're sweaty. But the seats aren't actually using air-conditioned air -- it's more like how you feel cooler when you stand in front of a regular fan.

Our Infiniti's seat ventilation is a nice feature, but the overall temperature change you get isn't nearly as much as what happens with seat heaters.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Hauls a Big Blowup

June 15, 2009

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On Friday I went hunting for the Flex keys only to find them in Brian Moody's right front pocket.

"Brian, I need the Flex for the weekend," I said trying not to look desperate. "Got something to haul."

"Sorry guy," Brian said tightly clutching the keys through the stonewashed denim of his Levi's. "I got a bunch of kids to haul around. Some event at my kid's school. Why don't you take the Infiniti?"

I had thought of that. But our long-term Infiniti FX50 is so small inside I figured the large print I had made to hang in my garage wouldn't fit. "Too small," I said. "The picture is 36x48."

"It'll fit," he said. "Just fold the seats."

So I reluctantly took the Infiniti. I folded the seats, which could not have been easier, and slid the large photo in with plenty of room to spare.

Now I admit that getting my blowup home isn't exactly a rigorous test of the FX, but lets face it, this is the kind of convenience that people buy SUVs and crossovers for. The photo would not have fit in the trunk of a car.

I wonder if it would have fit in the Fit. I should check.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 14,901 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: What a Load of...

May 26, 2009

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I used the 2009 Infiniti FX50 this weekend to pick up a load of crap, uh, compost from the local nursery. Ten bags fit snuggly in the FX's 24.8 cubic feet with the second-row seatback still in the upright position.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Limited Rear Visibility

April 15, 2009

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I really don't like the rear visibility of our 2009 Infiniti FX50. Not only is the rear window tiny and squinty due to the car's sporty profile but the rear-seat headrest extends the blind spot created by the C-pillar making it difficult to see whomever may be in the next lane. Good thing there's that all-around camera for those times you want to back up.

If this were a sports car, it wouldn't bother me as much. But it's a big "crossover" that's not even all that sporty despite its intentions what with slow throttle response, heavy steering wheel and fat-suit bulkiness. So I can't see or maneuver quickly? Pass.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: What Is That Noise?

March 03, 2009

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Last night was my first drive in the Infiniti FX50. My first impression was that it's too much. Too much of everything. Too many buttons, too heavy, too much hood. And there was this constant blowing fan noise.

I looked around to see where it was coming from. It wasn't the A/C. It wasn't the audiobook that someone left playing in the car. It sounded like it was coming from the driver-side door. Then I realized it was the seat cooler which was on full blast. I turned it down and--ahhh--Silence.

I tried the heated end of the spectrum and it also blows loud hot air. So if I want to warm my buns or cool my fanny, I need to listen to that constant whir. Too much.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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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 FX50S: Not-So-Roomy Backseat

January 21, 2009

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In our road test, we describe of the 2009 Infiniti FX50 as a "personalized coupe, only with cargo capacity." Considering the mediocre amount of room in the back seat, that's an apt description.

First, entry and exit for the rear seat is hampered by the narrow door opening at the bottom -- the rear wheel arches are sizeable. The rear doors open close to 90 degrees, but they seem kind of thick, again hampering easy access.

Once you're in, the FX50 pretty comfortable, but only if you're not tall. With the front seats positioned comfortably for me (I'm 5-foot 10-inches), I had about 2 inches of spare headroom and legroom when I sat in back. Some of the lankier folks on our staff would probably complain about being in back. Toe room under the front seats is tight as well.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Parts Bin Sharing Japanese Style

January 02, 2009

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Does this paddle look familiar? Well, probably not, but around here this is an obvious example of corporate parts sharing. You know, that dreaded bit of industrial incest most often attributed to General Motors and Ford.

In this case, Infiniti pilferd the FX50's paddle shifters from none other that the almighty Nissan GT-R. It's not a bad idea actually, as these paddles are large, nicely trimmed (notice the leather accents) and solidly constructed. And if you're going to steal parts, a $75,000 sportscar isn't a bad place to go looking.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 4,441 miles

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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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