The second generation of Infiniti's popular FX crossover SUV arrived in 2009. Looking more like a sport wagon with oversized wheels, the 2009 Infiniti FX elicits a strong emotional response that sometimes overrides the brain's more common-sense side. You see, while the FX is stunning both inside and out, its interior is cramped and its total cargo volume measures one of the smallest in the segment. The FX is great on dry pavement, but it can't venture off-road, and its big wheel and tire combo isn't exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to driving in deep snow. As most Sport Utility Vehicle shoppers are equally interested in the "utility" part of the name, the FX would not be our first recommendation. However, if dynamic driving characteristics, blistering quick acceleration and strong visual appeal are the primary motivators in your used-SUV search, the FX35 and V8-powered FX50 will likely fit like a glove.
What We Like
Fluid styling; excellent performance; comfortable front seats; handsome interior design; a bounty of high-tech features
What We Don't
Limited cargo space; cramped rear seat; limited rearview visibility; rough ride with 21-inch wheels; poor fuel economy
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The Infiniti FX35 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine teamed to a 7-speed automatic transmission. This engine puts out a respectable 303 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, and sends power to the rear wheels on 2-wheel-drive models. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the rear-wheel-drive FX35 at 16 miles per gallon city/23 mpg hwy; the all-wheel-drive models earn a slightly lower rating of 16 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.
The FX50 is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 good for 390 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This model is offered only with all-wheel drive and earns an EPA-estimated 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The FX35 comes nicely equipped and includes a power moonroof, Intelligent Key keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter, 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel with buttons for audio and cruise control, 8-way power passenger seat, leather seating surfaces, HID headlights, heated side mirrors, rear wiper/washer, rear spoiler, 18-in alloy wheels, rearview monitor, 11-speaker Bose audio (nine speakers plus two subwoofers) with CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack. Standard safety features include front side and full-length side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability controls and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.
The FX50 adds a V8 engine, all-wheel drive, 360-degree Around View monitor, a power rear lift gate, heated and cooling front seats, 21-in wheels, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth hands-free cellphone connectivity, tilt-in-reverse side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, Plasmacluster air filtration ionizer, hard-drive-based navigation and a USB/iPod interface.
Options for the FX twins are bundled into packages, with many of the FX50's standard features offered as optional on the FX35. The Premium Package for the FX35 brings Bluetooth, heated and cooled front seats with driver's side memory, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, magnesium paddle shifters and roof rails. The Navigation package adds voice-activated hard-drive navigation with 8-in touchscreen and 9.3 GB of music storage, front and rear sonar park assist and the 360-degree Around View monitor. Also offered is a mobile rear DVD entertainment package and the Deluxe Touring Package (20-in wheels, AFS and maple wood trim).
Offered on both the FX35 and FX50 is the Technology package that includes Intelligent Cruise Control (maintains a safe distance to traffic ahead), Intelligent Brake Assist, Land Departure Warning and Prevention, Distance Control Assist, rain-sensing wipers, a DVD entertainment system and 21-in wheels.
Unique to the FX50 is the Sport Package that includes Rear Active Steering, Continual Dampening Control (CDC) adjustable suspension settings, adaptive front headlights and sport front seats with power adjustable side bolsters.
The 2009 Infiniti FX retains strong 5-year resale values. However, as with many luxury brands, these figures can fluctuate widely at the time of purchase depending on the economy, fuel prices and consumer sentiment. Both the FX35 and FX50 hold equal value, so there is no benefit shopping one over the other from a purely resale value point of view. To get a good idea of the FX's price range, we suggest using the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently does not have any recalls for the 2009 Infiniti FX35 or FX50.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
Unfortunately, NHTSA did not test the Infiniti FX for 2009, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives it the highest rating of Good in the frontal offset, head restraint and seat tests. IIHS did not perform a side-impact or roof-strength test.
When it was new, the FX35 and FX50 came with a 4-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Infiniti also offered a fully transferable extended warranty that could be purchased when the car was new, so be sure to check if the car you're buying has such a warranty. If you buy your FX through Infiniti's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program, the basic warranty period is extended to 72 months/100,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date. You can also purchase an additional year of coverage through the CPO program. To qualify, a vehicle must have less than 60,000 miles and be no older than four years from its in-service date.
Other Cars to Consider
Porsche Cayenne -- The Cayenne will cost you more, but it uses its interior space better than the FX and offers the same, sporty feel.
BMW X5 -- The X5 is a better handling SUV with an available diesel engine option and a small but usable third-row seat. The X5's ride, however, is harsher than the FX35 but about the same as the FX50.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport -- The Range Rover Sport isn't as fuel-efficient or powerful as the FX, but it provides much more interior room, has excellent driving dynamics and real-world off-road ability.
The FX35 with the Premium and Navigation package seems to be the right choice. The V6 engine has plenty of punch and, unlike the FX50, you can opt for or against all-wheel drive. We also like the smaller wheel and tire package on the FX35 due to its softer ride.