2008 INFINITI EX35 Review

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INFINITI EX35 model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Handles like a sport sedan, serene ride, brisk acceleration, numerous high-end features, sleek shape for a crossover SUV.
  • Below-average cargo capacity, not much rear-seat headroom or legroom.

A strong entry in the emerging compact luxury SUV class, the 2008 Infiniti EX35 is quick, comfortable and remarkably sharp through the corners. Its small backseat is a potential drawback; otherwise, Infiniti's latest is worth serious consideration.

Vehicle overview

Compact SUVs represent one of the final frontiers in the world of luxury utility vehicles. Only a handful of small luxury SUVs are on sale right now, but their population is on pace to double in the next two years. At first glance, this phenomenon might be hard to understand: These upmarket crossovers are small, expensive and, in most cases, light on utility. Yet for consumers who drive and park in traffic-clogged cities, tidy dimensions, a tall seating position, an upscale interior and adroit driving dynamics have considerable appeal. It's exactly this sort of buyer Infiniti is hoping to attract to its new-for-2008 EX35 sport-utility. And based on our testing, the EX will satisfy on nearly all fronts.

Like all SUVs in this class, the 2008 Infiniti EX35 is based on a car platform, and in this case, that car is the G35 sedan. With scarcely a 2-inch stretch to the wheelbase, the EX maintains its sedan sibling's overall proportions and indeed looks much like a G35 wagon, albeit with an extra inch of ground clearance. Compared to Infiniti's pre-existing midsize FX series SUV (which is modeled after the previous-generation G35), the EX is 7 inches shorter and almost 6 inches narrower.

The EX35 has the same power source as the current G35, a 3.5-liter V6 that in this application is rated at 297 horsepower. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and it drives either the rear wheels or all four if you opt for all-wheel drive. Whatever drivetrain you choose, the EX feels downright quick -- not surprising since it weighs only 200 pounds more than the G.

In terms of suspension components, the Infiniti EX35 borrows its front double-wishbone setup from the G35, while its rear multilink design is derived from the larger FX. This may sound a bit piecemeal, but the reality is that the EX's suspension offers perhaps the best compromise between ride comfort and handling capability of any vehicle in the Infiniti lineup. It's noticeably more compliant than the G, yet it will keep up with most sport sedans on a back road.

The good feelings continue into the cabin, where the EX35 has a distinctive dash design that flows around the driver in soft waves, along with nicely shaped front seats. In basic spec, the cockpit has all the pluses of the G35's interior, including solid ergonomics and impressive technology. The interior materials aren't going to win any awards for quality, but if you check off the Luxe Elite Package, Infiniti will upholster the cabin in higher-quality leather that truly delivers on the promise of this SUV's premium branding -- if we had it our way, this stuff would be standard. The other option that will draw your attention is the Around View Monitor. An enhancement on traditional back-up cameras, the AVM pieces together images from four cameras mounted around the perimeter of the EX to provide an overhead, 360-degree view.

If there's anything not to like about the 2008 Infiniti EX35, it's the small rear seat and cargo areas. Compared to rivals like the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Land Rover LR2, it has anywhere from 7 to 9 fewer inches of rear legroom. It's a similar story in regards to luggage capacity, as the Infiniti's hold is little more than half the size of the X3's. For shoppers who require genuine utility in a small luxury SUV, the EX is unlikely to fit the bill. The EX is also a questionable value proposition for anyone focused on practicality, given that its price tag extends well into the $40Ks when fully optioned.

However, for singles and couples drawn to the comforts and image of SUV ownership, the elegant Infiniti EX35 is an appealing option. It's quicker than any of its peers and arguably has the best ride/handling balance of any premium compact crossover as well. If you don't need space for kids or dogs, the EX belongs on your short list.

2008 INFINITI EX35 models

The 2008 Infiniti EX35 is a compact, five-passenger luxury SUV available in base and Journey trim levels. The base EX comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a power driver seat, single-zone automatic climate control, a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio, a keyless ignition system, and a sunroof. The Journey gains a sunroof, leather upholstery and power-folding second-row seats, and is eligible for many more options.

Big-ticket items include the Premium Package, which provides an upgraded Bose sound system with a CD changer and iPod integration, Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power front passenger seat. The Luxe Elite Package is a worthwhile addition that provides higher-quality leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels and adaptive bi-xenon headlights. (If, for some reason, you didn't want the upgraded leather, the Luxe Style Package gives you just the 18s and adaptive lighting.) A hard-drive-based navigation system with digital music storage capability and a rearview monitor are available, but you can take it even further with the Technology Package. This provides the 360-degree Around View Monitor, a lane departure warning and prevention system and adaptive cruise control. Black lacquer and aluminum trim pieces are standard in the EX35, but as you'd expect, the optional maple wood trim is much nicer.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Infiniti EX35 is an all-new five-passenger, compact crossover SUV.

Performance & mpg

Motivating every Infiniti EX35 is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 297 hp and 253 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and buyers have the option of getting rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. With either drive configuration, the EX35 is quick. We timed a rear-drive test vehicle at just 6.3 seconds for the 0-60-mph run. The transmission's ability to match revs on downshifts heightens the impression of speed and makes the EX quite entertaining on back roads. The Infiniti's fuel economy numbers are on par with those of the X3 and LR2. The rear-drive EX has 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway estimates while the AWD EX35 comes in at 16/23.


It's not an exaggeration to say the 2008 Infiniti EX35 has more safety technology than any other compact SUV. In addition to expected items like stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags, the EX can be equipped with either a conventional rearview monitor or an enhanced Around View Monitor, which uses four different cameras to provide an overhead image of the vehicle and its surroundings for additional peace of mind when parallel-parking. Another option is the Lane Departure Prevention system, which has the ability not only to audibly warn the driver if he veers out of his lane, but also to take corrective action via the stability control system.


Driving the 2008 Infiniti EX35 is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, even if you don't normally like sport-utility vehicles. For starters, the EX is quicker than other compact SUVs, even those of the premium variety, and its V6 is smooth, potent and aurally pleasing even at high rpm. In addition, the balance between ride quality and handling is close to ideal. Even with the 18-inch wheels, the EX35 is perfectly comfortable over crumbling pavement, yet it feels sharp and responsive when hustled around turns. The brakes are strong and easy to modulate.


The Infiniti EX35's cabin is uncommonly warm and inviting for an Infiniti, although you really need to spring for the Luxe Elite option group to enjoy it to full effect. High points include the flowing yet tailored design of the dash and supportive front seats, and the available two-tone color scheme. The driving position is excellent, thanks to a tilt/telescoping wheel and good sight lines. The rear seat is less impressive and offers just 28.5 inches of legroom -- substantially less than most competitors. When tall adults are seated up front, it's basically kids-only back there. If the EX35's scrawny 16.8-cubic-foot luggage bay isn't enough for you, you can take advantage of the rear seats' 60/40 split. In Journey models, these seats have a power-fold feature actuated by buttons in the cargo bay and on the center console.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 INFINITI EX35.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.88 out of 5 stars
My ex-35 what a Wonder to drive
Journey 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Happy with my ex-35. it's fast, great design, safe handling, excellent torque. Except: Spartan leg room space in the rear seating arrangement. Highly suggest infiniti attempt to increase leg spacing at cramped rear seat area. Reliability impressive.
4.75 out of 5 stars
This is a great car!
4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I bought this car after coming back from Iraq. I test drove the g35x but I liked the ex better. I have almost 12,000 miles in the last 4 months. The car is quiet and has great acceleration. I have been pulled over more times for speeding by the police than I have in the last 10 years. The brakes are the best I have ever had in a car.
4.88 out of 5 stars
It's not a car, it's a spaceship
Journey 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I've got fully loaded EX35 and I'm glad I did. The car itself is a total pleasure to drive under any conditions - from "endless" acceleration if you floor it to very sharp handling on a curvy road, to very quiet and smooth ride on a regular street or freeway. Extremely quiet cabin and excellent Bose audio with XM makes trips much less tiresome. Cruise control that can literally stop a car when a car in front of it stops is surprisingly useful even on a city street. Voice recognition understands my accent. But above all - give it a little gas to burn and feel acceleration that presses you into the seat - it stays constant while you go from 0 to 80, I don't even feel tranny switching. Yeah!
5 out of 5 stars
E for Excellent
Journey 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
What a great hatchback/wagon/crossover... not sure what to call it. I came from a G35 into this new machine. What a difference! The amenities and features of this car are great. Performance is great when you need it to go, it hauls. Brakes are great as well. It's my daily commuter 80 miles RT, about 65% hwy (75-85mph) and the rest backroad driving at 45-60mph getting 22.5 mpg. For the amount of performance and my semi-hard driving style this is a definite upgrade from my 06 G. Back seat space is not as terrible as you think, drove from NJ to Boston with 3 adults and comfort was not an issue. Great fold down feature for seats, my dog LOVES this car as much as I do. I would recommend to anyone.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2008 INFINITI EX35
More About This Model

We're hammering the 2008 Infiniti EX35 on Mulholland Highway in the mountains of darkest Malibu where the movie people live and we've just passed the Rock Store where bikers profile on weekends. Ahead lies the snakiest mile of the whole road.

So we drive even faster. The hard-edged 297-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 spins a little quicker while the front suspension occasionally chatters a little in the hairpins, and a short time later we get to the top in the kind of a rush that makes a whole day of driving worthwhile.

Then we look over our shoulder and realize that there's a whole backseat behind us, plus the big cargo compartment and we realize again that we've just done the whole Mulholland drive in some kind of crossover-utility thingy.

It's a little unseemly. Who knows what the locals thought? Probably figured we were some kind of Malibu catering service running a party platter to some screenwriters.

But of course the 2008 Infiniti EX35 really isn't any kind of crossover at all.

Morphing the Sport-Utility
Now that we're decades into the whole sport-utility deal, we sometimes fail to remember the way utility vehicles have morphed into so many shapes and then filled all the little niches in the market where plain old cars used to live.

With the 2008 Infiniti EX35, Infiniti tells us that it's personalizing the sport-utility concept, creating a practical vehicle that has a fine sense of luxury and goes about its business like a personal coupe. But there's no talk of crossovers or station wagons from the guys at Infiniti. And since they like to portray the EX35 from a low angle, the vehicle seems to loom above you in pictures as if it were the size of a Nissan Pathfinder.

But once you're standing next to the Infiniti EX35, you realize it's not a crossover or even some kind of utility thingy. It's really just a tall wagon, more like a Volvo XC70 than a BMW X3. This explains everything about the EX35's combination of practical luxury and the kind of driving dynamics you'd expect for express delivery of a party platter in the mountains above Malibu.

Look, There's a G35 Sedan Under Here!
The Infiniti EX35's speed secret lies in the platform of the Infiniti G35 that lies beneath the utility-oriented sheet metal.

The wheelbase of the G35 platform has been stretched 2.0 inches to 112.2 inches, while the body is 4.7 inches longer than a G35 sedan at 187.0 inches. The EX's sculptured form looks substantial next to the G35 mostly due to an increase in height of 4.7 inches over the sedan, although 1.2 inches of this comes from the EX's higher ride height.

All the serious hardware is as familiar as the G35 sedan. This version of the Nissan 3.5-liter V6 puts 297 hp at your command, and it's always a pleasure to rev it to 6,800 rpm to get every last bit of it. There are 253 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm, yet this can't begin to capture the exhilarating rush this engine delivers as the tach needle sweeps all the way across the dial, a mechanical vitality that makes the personality of this V6 different from any other.

The EX35 does business with the road through a front suspension that duplicates the G35's, but the rear suspension is derived from the Infiniti FX's, a measure to accommodate the 16.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seat. Good thing, too, because a BMW X3 can still haul twice as much.

Naturally there are some consequences with the EX's new shape when it comes to weight, but the 3,752-pound version of the rear-wheel-drive model is just 255 pounds heavier than a rear-wheel-drive G35, and the fully equipped 5,029-pound all-wheel-drive EX35 AWD is just 241 pounds heavier than an all-wheel-drive G35x. Even the weight distribution is only fractionally different, but the rear-wheel-drive model is predictably a bit sharper and quicker than the all-wheel-drive model.

Hurry to the Store
There's not meant to be a lot of hurry in something like the EX35, mostly short trips around town while you wave to people on the sidewalk at the gourmet grocery. It's a utility vehicle, but not like some giant box-on-wheels that you'd back up to the loading dock at Home Depot.

The EX35 adapts to this sort of thing with far more grace than any other Infiniti, and it rides city streets with brilliantly sophisticated composure, using plenty of its suspension travel yet without feeling tall and tippy in the way many crossovers do. The five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and the V6 gives back 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. (We recorded 17.0 mpg in our mixed usage.) All the rough edges of the G35 sedan's personality have been smoothed down, and the EX feels deliciously deliberate in comparison.

But when you're looking for a little bit of hurry from the EX35, it's there for you. It leaves in a decent amount of haste from a stop, getting to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and then passing through the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 96 mph. A BMW X3 is left far behind.

When it's really important, this 3,820-pound rear-wheel-drive EX also comes to a halt from 60 mph in 118 feet, an excellent performance from the G35-spec brakes and Dunlop SP Sport 7000 tires.

Of course there comes a time when you have to make peace with the increased overall height of the EX, and you can find it in quick transitions. Yet the EX35 still weaves through the slalom at 66 mph, reassuring you with its feel of control and stability. After all, this is a G35 sedan at heart, and good body control and those P225/55VR18 all-season tires help deliver 0.82g of cornering grip on the skid pad with a fine balance that can be adjusted with throttle input. Again, the last X3 we tested would have trouble keeping up.

Maybe the Infiniti EX35 is meant for more than shopping.

Infiniti Discovers Luxury at Last
You can't help but expect performance from the EX35 since it's always been the nature of the G35 sedan. The surprise comes in all the little things that the EX does. Of course, you have to step up to the consequences on the price sticker, because the estimated $33,000 base price of the rear-wheel-drive EX forces you to endure the same generic interior trim that has disappointed us in the past. Once you add all the good stuff, expect a price tag above $40K.

Once you start checking off the option boxes, you find yourself surrounded by African rosewood trim and upgraded leather, which makes it possible to believe the Infiniti designers have finally visited a store that sells fine leather goods. With an 11-speaker Bose audio system, a navigation system based on a 9.3GB hard drive (with enough room left over for MP3 music storage) and all the usual lights and flashes, this is the complete premium Infiniti experience, more like the now-departed Q45 luxury sedan than some kind of crossover thingy.

The Infiniti EX35 also goes the extra distance with a few bits of cleverness you'd expect in a vehicle that puts utility and luxury in the same sentence. The power-operated 60/40-folding split-back rear seat can be triggered from the cargo area. (Buttons between the front seats enable you to flip them upright again.) There's a lane-departure warning system, and it lightly engages the stability control to bring you back into your lane, although you can turn it off if you like. And the EX35 introduces "Around View Monitor," a system of four small cameras that give you an overhead view of the whole vehicle in order to simplify parking.

The only thing the EX35 can't give you is extra passenger space. Although the EX provides 107.1 cubic feet of passenger volume, an increase of 8.1 cubic feet over the G35 sedan, it's still not easy to clamber into the rear seat through the small doors and there's less headroom than you'd like.

What's the Difference? It's Fast
The 2008 Infiniti EX35 doesn't really fit our idea of a crossover. It goes down the highway like a luxury sedan, but the tiny tremble from the wide tires tells you there's a high-performance sedan lurking beneath. It steers crisply through the corners. In short, it's one of the most satisfying examples of a vehicle with "utility" in its job description that you'll find anywhere.

Yet the best news might be the way the EX35 adapts to the role of luxury transportation. Premium furnishings, a composed ride and the ability to adapt to all kinds of weather, all kinds of driving and all kinds of adventures makes this Infiniti's best choice for real-world driving.

We've been waiting for something that really delivers on the whole promise that the Infiniti brand makes, and the EX35 is it. Just pack light.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Second Opinion

Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Magrath says:
Don't let the name fool you. The EX35 is little more than a G35 hatchback. And with it, Infiniti has finally appeased a very dedicated, highly specialized, ultralow-volume niche market. Me.

The type of buyer who hates the illogical storage options and tired looks of three-box design, even if the boxes are very swoopy. The type of buyer who's going to have the rear seats folded down far more often than he will have them occupied by third or fourth passengers. The city driver whose ground clearance issues revolve more around potholes, curbs and the occasional pigeon than with stumps, rocks and river crossings. The type of guy with no wife and no kids, but a really cool bike and some snowboard gear to lug around.

The type of guy who doesn't want utility to interfere with comfort, on-road performance or styling.

What's that, you say? The EX35 is Infiniti's first car designed for and marketed to women? D'oh!

Used 2008 INFINITI EX35 Overview

The Used 2008 INFINITI EX35 is offered in the following submodels: EX35 SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Journey 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and Journey 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned INFINITI EX35 models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 297 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2008 INFINITI EX35 comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2008 INFINITI EX35 comes with a 4 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2008 INFINITI EX35?

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Which used 2008 INFINITI EX35s are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 INFINITI EX35?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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