Flash Drive: 2009 Infiniti FX35
Staffers at MSN Autos take a quick spin in the 2009 Infiniti FX35.
The Infiniti FX35 is one of the sportiest of all SUVs. Even though it has all-wheel drive, a relatively high seating position and high ground clearance, it still feels almost as cosseting and aggressive as a sports car on the road. The power delivery, engine noise, handling and acceleration all remind me of Nissan’s 350Z or of an early Infiniti Q45. I like the new styling, too; it looks a little longer and slimmer but retains plenty of interior space. The camera view, showing images from all four sides of the car, was an entertaining gimmick for a moment, but I don’t think I would find them useful if I drove the FX35 every day. –Paul Hagger
Infiniti’s redesigned 2009 FX35 crossover offers the utility of other SUVs but drives more like a good sport sedan. In fact, it is nearly as fun and engaging as a sports car. At the heart is Infiniti’s award-winning 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is now mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode and downshift rev matching. Nissan has engine/transmission management down to an art, delivering the smoothest shifts in the industry. The FX35’s chassis is stiff and nicely balanced, and it responds quickly and precisely to steering inputs, a distinct advantage of the rear-wheel-drive platform. The interior is refined. But you can turn it up a notch with the optional Premium Package, which includes climate-controlled front seats finished in quilted leather. –Mike Meredith
The new FX35 is a sharp-looking crossover. The updated design features a sleek front end with distinctive wraparound headlights, a unique grille and a flared hood. It is just as amazing inside, with a nice balance between comfort and technology. The driver is rewarded with maple wood accents and comfortable leather seats. Safety options, such as adaptive cruise control and accident avoidance features, are state-of-the-art. The dash is clean and not too busy with buttons. The back seat is a decent size compared with the previous model, but still is comfortable for only two adults. On the road, this car is fun to drive, with uncharacteristic agility. The V6 is liquid-smooth and is coupled to a 7-speed adaptive control automatic, which makes sure you are always in the correct gear. However, the FX35 struggles a bit in the gas-mileage department if you have a heavy foot. –Joe Chulick