2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Satellite Radio
January 29, 2010
I can always tell when our time with a particular long-term test vehicle is about to end. That's when the subscription to satellite radio ends and the electronics tell us to make a call to Sirius or (in the case of the 2009 Infiniti FX50) XM.
It's a sad moment, really. You never know how much you depend on satellite radio until it's gone, especially in a vehicle that has seen as many cross-country trips as this one.
When satellite radio first became available, there was a lot of talk about improved audio quality. Although, really, there wasn't much talk about satellite radio at all, since almost everyone was too busy downloading music onto his iPod to care about someone else's programming. But now that we have all these choices for audio entertainment in an automobile, I find the thing that makes satellite radio a great thing for me is the surprise factor.
You're never quite sure what you'll hear on satellite radio, whether it's a matter of changing from one genre to another or simply the sequence of music or programs. Everything is a surprise.
Even with an iPod memory full of music, an MP3 player always seems predictable even when it's selecting randomly, probably because you've loaded the music yourself. Also it's only playing music or programming that you've heard before. Meanwhile, conventional radio stations have become so rigorously formatted that the same loop seems to repeat every 21 minutes. And as far as talk radio goes, the only surprise is how angry and bad it is.
Maybe it's all in my head, but satellite radio seems to make the time pass on a cross-country trip in a far more pleasant way than other entertainment options. (It's particularly better than any kind of travel companion.) If it were my money, I'd spend it for a subscription.
So now that the 2009 Infiniti FX50 is about to disappear from our fleet, I'm scouting for another candidate for cross-country travel. Satellite radio is required.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 29,405 miles