2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Oregon Holiday Trip Candidate?
December 19, 2008
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