Does a Utility Vehicle Have to Be a Box? - 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD Long-Term Road Test

2009 Infiniti FX50 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Does a Utility Vehicle Have to Be a Box?

April 21, 2009

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We've all had our fun with the Atomic Catfish. Sure, the 2009 Infiniti FX50 doesn't look like any other utility vehicle you've ever seen.

Then again neither does the BMW X6 xDrive 50i or the Acura ZDX concept vehicle just revealed at the New York auto show. (I know, like this helps.)

What's going on here is an attempt to make the utility vehicle more like a high-performance coupe, a personal statement of driving performance and extreme style. It's supposed to be a utility vehicle without all that six-passenger, 4x8-foot plywood, camping gear and trailer-towing baggage that a sport-utility carries around. You know, that whole box on wheels thing.

This should be the kind of utility vehicle that car guys can really relate to.

And yet they hate it.

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The Infiniti FX was really the first of these coupe-style utility vehicles. And now the second-generation Infiniti FX50 is more outrageous than anything else not only in the Infiniti lineup but also in the entire Nissan portfolio. It's more like a Ford Mustang than a Ford Explorer, an all-wheel-drive monster, bursting with power.

It takes me back to the old BMW X5 4.8si. Similarly obscenely powerful and fun to drive, this X5 proved unintentionally thrilling whenever there was any moisture on the pavement, much less ice or snow.

We all loved that wicked old BMW X5, so how come no one has embraced the Infiniti FX50? And why does everyone despise the Acura ZDX and BMW X6? Is it that even car guys can't let go of the old stereotype of a utility vehicle as a box on wheels?

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 11,855 miles

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  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (1)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

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