2009 Infiniti FX50: Road Trip Day 3 -- Grand Canyon to LA
September 03, 2009
The trip actually took four days, truth be told, but one involved a lot of driving in darkness, so let's call it three. For my last FX50 trick, I started in Kanab, Utah and ended up at the Grand Canyon's South Rim. That gave me another shot at Route 89A, as well as plenty of time to contemplate my innermost feelings about our long-term Infiniti.
You'll note that I haven't said much about the FX50's high-tech stuff. Four-way parking camera, plasmacluster, et cetera. Hey, this is my road trip, and frankly I don't really care about all of that (though I'll concede that the camera is fantastic). To me, the way the thing drives is what matters. The rest is just details.
And the FX50 drives great. As noted on Days One and Two, the driving position, steering and handling are spot-on, and NVH issues aside (see Day Two), the V8 is a monster. This Infiniti eats up miles with confidence and flair. It's the real deal.
However, one detail that does matter is the FX50's near-$60k base price. Given that rivals like the Porsche Cayenne S and BMW X5 V8 have more refinement and snob appeal, I'd like to see the FX50 start at $50,000, where it would be an easily justifiable stretch from the six-cylinder Cayenne and X5. No wonder the FX35 sells so much better -- it's $15 grand cheaper.
A few final notes and pics below.
Route 89A near Jacob Lake, Arizona
"Tried a little soft-roading on a washboard-grade dirt road toward the Paria Plateau. FX was fine; I wasn't. Turned back after a mile or so of intense vibration. Car felt remarkably tight though, unlike a rattle-prone Audi Q7 TDI I drove on a similar road recently."
Route 89 between Page and Bitter Springs.
"Road noise really comes and goes in this thing. Certain surfaces barely register at all; others make enough of a racket to overpower the (unexceptional) Bose stereo. A little more sound insulation in the wheel wells would be welcome."
"Funny how much cooler the FX50 seems now that I'm out of LA. I'm getting the same wide-eyed looks that I used to give the first-generation FX when I lived in the northeast. Good to be reminded every now and again that it's not normal to see multiple European exotics at every stop light."
Route 64 south of the Grand Canyon
"Arizona has a sense of humor too."
Arizona/California border, Interstate 40, 8:30 pm.
"Pitch black outside, 105 degrees. Coastal California FTW. Incidentally, I like how there's no BMW-style analog fuel economy gauge here. You can keep tabs on your MPG via the trip computer if you want, but thankfully it's not in your face all the time. I know my own throttle position, thanks."
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 22,255 miles