2003 INFINITI FX35 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Terrific handling, strong V6, unusual styling, comfortable seats, choice of rear-drive and AWD configurations.
  • Limited cargo space, restricted rear visibility, cluttered center stack controls.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$1,982 - $3,427

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A stylish melding of form and function. More than just a tall station wagon, the FX35 has several unique features to recommend it to the pseudo-SUV buyer.

2003 Highlights

The FX35 is an all-new crossover SUV from Infiniti. It is performance-oriented, and boasts a powerful V6, sharp handling and available all-wheel drive. It's also a less expensive alternative to the V8-powered FX45.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2003 INFINITI FX35.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Think before you buy
Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
My FX35 has more rattles than any vehicle I have owned (which include Acura, Audi, Volvo, Honda etc). Every week there is something annoying - rattle of the week. Problems with driver seat which the dealer can't fix. Problem with alignment of the headlight which dealer can't fix. Busted stereo and CD player. Problem with rear-seat belt. When I take the car through a carwash, water leaks in. The paint on this vehicle is paper thin - slightest nick and it chips off and rusts in less than few weeks. The vehicle is a pain to maintain. Repeated brake problems. Very stiff ride. The build and mechanical quality is bad enough that this will be my last Infinity. And city fuel economy of 16mp!!
130,000 miles near flawless!
Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Bought CPO in 08 w 40K mi. I have always averaged 35-45K/yr. Usually switch cars every 6 mos-2 yrs. Have had difficulty finding cause with this car. Squeaking brakes have been a constant issue. My cd changer skips when it's cold $500 for rebuild and xm loses signal when it's hot. Those are the only problems I have had. Period. I've owned ford gm toy niss Honda Audi BMW vw & Porsche, the FX has been the most pleasant overall. Performance & handing are great. Service beats all others. Nav is better than 07 Audi or BMW. Also ave mixed 21 mpg and 25+ at 80mph.
Comparison to Murano
comparison shopper,02/25/2004
Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I compared the Nissan Murano and the Infiniti FX. The Murano is front-wheel drive with significant torque steer, a tranversely mounted engine, and a CVT. The FX Std is rear-wheel drive with a longitudinally mounted engine, and automatic with auxillary 5-gear manual. The CVT was smooth but the FX's automatic was too. The Murano provides manual Sport and Low gears and the FX has a 5-gear manual. The FX handles like a sports car while the Murano wallows on curves. Inside, the FX dash is cleaner than the confusing array in the Murano.
No regrets
Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Purchased used Sport edition with 26K miles and have overall been very satisfied at 53K. More or less a full-size wagon, it is fun to drive with decent cargo space. Was a little concerned since 2003 was first model year, but only issue has been one fuse replacement that was not really expensive to address. CD player has become jammed, but mostly use ipod and satellite radio. Have only used regular fuel, but acceleration has been solid. Although now seven years old, exterior styling is timeless (which I think is better than 09 body style change). Would definitely recommend to anyone dealing with dual child seats and does not want or need huge SUV or minivan.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2003 INFINITI FX35
More About This Model

Infiniti lost its way some years ago, and at the same time never really seemed to have a clear path established. Models such as the I30/I35, J30 and G20 never really had a place within a brand that sold a car as cool and advanced as the flagship Q45. Thankfully, those days are gone and Infiniti is now building luxury cars that emphasize performance, technology and edgy styling. The company is on its way to becoming the anti-Lexus, and the FX is the latest offering from a company that has grown tired of playing it safe.

The FX is an all-new vehicle from the ground up. The FX45 is so named because it comes with a 4.5-liter V8, while the FX35 is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6. No, the FX is not a rebadged Nissan Murano and in fact shares no major components with that vehicle. Rather, it has more in common with the G35 and the new Z than any other car. That being said, it's obvious where Infiniti is trying to take this crossover idea — sports-car handling with SUV convenience. The FX35/45 is intended to compete against vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne, Acura MDX and BMW X5.

The FX rides on an enhanced version of Nissan's FM platform and, like the G35 and Z that share that platform, is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. All-wheel drive is an option on the V6-powered FX35 and is standard equipment on the V8-powered FX45. Even on all-wheel-drive vehicles, though, the bias is toward rear-drive as the front wheels begin to grab only when the rear wheels begin to lose traction.

Exterior styling is always subjective, but at the very least, the FX's appearance will be polarizing. It looks like someone fused a sports coupe upper body to an SUV lower body. Infiniti refers to the FX as a "bionic cheetah," and from certain front angles it does have the muscular guise of this feline. For an SUV-type vehicle, there are precious few straight lines on this car — this is not just another boxy SUV. Especially unique is the angled C-pillar, which gives the illusion that the roof had to be stretched to cover the rear glass.

Intended as a premium crossover SUV, the FX35/45 offers some of the best qualities of a car and an SUV all in one package and with little compromise. Luxury is abundant and both vehicles come standard with reclining rear seats, power front seats, ABS with BrakeAssist, dual-zone climate control, HID headlights (both high and low beam) and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. The FX45 adds heated outside mirrors, driver memory system, one-touch up and down windows for all four positions and 20-inch wheels (the FX35 comes with 18s).

The base vehicles offer plenty of luxury, but the optional equipment packages are where the real fun stuff is found. The V8 Premium Package adds an 11-speaker and 320-watt Bose audio system, steering wheel-mounted controls, Homelink and a cargo net. Add the Technology Package and you get a navigation system, DVD entertainment system, rearview monitor, tire-pressure monitor and an ultracool Intelligent Key system that uses only an electronic signal instead of the traditional metal key. The same packages are available on the V6 model, but that car has an additional Sport Package, which includes 20-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and aluminum pedals.

On the winding mountain roads just outside of Palm Springs, the FX45 proved its worth as a genuinely sporty SUV. The vehicle is amazingly well-balanced, and the body exhibits little roll. Massive 265/50 Goodyear Eagles mounted on 20-inch alloy wheels provide more grip than some sports cars. When asked how they were able to offer the production car with 20-inch wheels (just like the concept car), Eijiro Fukai, chief product specialist, said, "The engineers wanted to save money by using smaller wheels, but on this point I would not compromise. [The] FX45 must offer excellent performance on the road for it to be successful." The only drawback to all this canyon-carving performance is that the ride quality can suffer a bit when the road is anything less than smooth.

The 4.5-liter motor is good for 315 horsepower and delivers effortless acceleration. Luckily, all that horsepower can be heard as well as felt. Large chrome dual exhaust pipes resonate with a nice subtle rumble at idle and sound aggressive at launch. The cabin remains quiet, but we found ourselves rolling the rear window down for no other reason than to hear the V8's exhaust note. The 3.5-liter V6 makes 280 hp and produces a higher-pitched exhaust note, which is almost as pleasing as the V8's rumble.

Inside the FX45, there are high-quality materials and contrasting tones that give it an upscale ambience. But it's not just about looks; the interior of the FX is a very comfortable place to pass the time. The eight-way power driver seat can be raised or lowered a full three inches, and the seats themselves have a luxurious feel without being overly soft. Instead of the money-saving silver-colored plastic many companies are using on the dash area, Infiniti put real aluminum on the center console. Just behind the shifter is an opening that can be used as a dual cupholder, or simply a storage box, and even the door for that box is covered with aluminum. The optional 11-speaker Bose stereo sounds incredible and may be one of the few factory-installed systems to rival the Mark Levinson systems offered in many Lexus models.

From behind the wheel, the FX has a noticeably wide stance, and the bulge in the hood gives the driver an authoritative feel. Due to the "sport coupe" look of the roof line, rear visibility suffers a bit. Traditional boxy SUVs offer superior outward visibility in almost every way.

A reasonably equipped FX35 will be priced around $36,000, while fully loaded FX45s will top out at well over $50,000.

The FX35 and FX45 are clearly different and show that Infiniti is willing to take a "no compromises" approach to building high-quality cars that move people emotionally. A blending of sports car and SUV, the FX leans more toward on-road prowess than off-road ability or minivanlike people hauling. At the end of the day, the FX35/45 is exactly what Infiniti claims, a premium crossover SUV. Too bad the word "sport" is hidden in "sport-utility vehicle," because that seems to be where the FX really shines.

Used 2003 INFINITI FX35 Overview

The Used 2003 INFINITI FX35 is offered in the following submodels: FX35 SUV. Available styles include AWD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and Rwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 INFINITI FX35?

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Should I lease or buy a 2003 INFINITI FX35?

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.

Check out INFINITI lease specials
Check out INFINITI FX35 lease specials