2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Keep an Eye on the Weather
December 20, 2008
I had the keys to the 2009 Infiniti FX50 in my pocket and I was on my way out the door for my holiday trip to see my parents when our fleet manager quietly said, "FYI, it's got summer tires. Just FYI."
Another staffer looked up. "Where are you going?"
Him: "You're going to have trouble."
Me: "It's all wheel drive."
Him: "I don't care. You're going to have trouble."
I looked unconvinced. So he said, "Let me tell you a little story."
The story was kinda long but the gist of it was this: the FX's summer tires suck in the snow. As Dan Edmunds pointed out in his blog entry some time ago, when he considered taking the FX to Oregon, "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."
Well, it was too late change cars, and way too late to get all seasons on it. So I took decisive action: I began hoping it won't snow. In December, in the Rocky Mountains, it requires a whole lot of hope to rule out snow. So chances are, I'll be blogging later this week about exactly how bad the tires were. Or, how having all wheel drive saved my butt.
For purposes of comparison, I made the trip two years ago in a 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited and got stuck in a snow storm. No snow tires, no all wheel drive, and I made it. I grew up in New England well before all wheel drive vehicles. Sometimes we got stuck. Sometimes we drove our way out of trouble. So that's the attitude I'll have to take on this trip.
By the way, I began to compile my impressions about this extreme SUV but found that Edmunds Executive Editor Paul Seredynski pretty well nailed it. I'll save my reactions for when -- or if -- I get over the mountains tomorrow.
Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor, 2,445 miles