2010 EX35 New Car Test Drive
The Infiniti EX35 is a crossover SUV, smaller than the Infiniti FX. It strikes a balance between sportiness and luxury. It feels more carlike than other crossovers and SUVs, but it isn't as driver-oriented as BMW's X3 and other crossovers.
Inside there is room for five, but it's much more comfortable with four. The cabin boasts rich, soft-touch materials and a stylish design. All of the controls are within easy reach.
The EX35 is brimming with technology. For example, the Around View Monitor shows obstacles 360 degrees around the vehicle, there's a hard drive available with 9.3 gigabytes of storage space for music files. The Lane Departure Prevention system lightly applies the brakes on one side to steer the vehicle back into its lane should it start crossing lane lines.
Room up front is good, but taller drivers will want more head room, especially if they opt for the up-level Journey model with its standard sunroof. The back seat offers decent room, but things get a bit tight with the front seats all the way back. Both rows are easy to enter and exit, thanks to the EX35's ride height, which is higher than a sedan, but not as high as most SUVs.
Cargo room is plentiful thanks to the hatchback design, though many SUVs offer more space. An power-folding second row eases the process of loading items in the back, and they can be brought back up from the driver's seat, handy when pulling up to the curb to pick up passengers.
Under the hood is Nissan's superb 3.5-liter V6. It makes 297 horsepower and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that has a manual shiftgate but no paddle shifters. We were pleased by the EX35's ready power. It accelerates from a standstill quickly and offers strong passing response at highway speeds. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 16/23 mpg city/highway.
We found the EX35 drives like a sports sedan with a slightly elevated ride height. The EX35 comes with a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The AWD is meant for on-road use and is very beneficial in foul weather. We found the handling responsive, and the brakes and steering feel natural and inspire confidence. The EX35 rides more smoothly the larger FX, and it isn't as firm as the BMW X3. Even with the available 18-inch wheels, the EX35 smoothes out the bumps without jolting passengers.
With its carlike handling, powerful engine, and useful cargo room, the Infiniti EX35 is a fine alternative to larger, more cumbersome SUVs. The smooth ride and rich, classy interior add to the appeal. If you want a sporty, comfortable vehicle that drives like a car but has the cargo room of a wagon or SUV, make sure to put the EX35 on your shopping list.
The Infiniti EX35 was launched as an all-new vehicle for 2008. For 2010, the headlights have been subtly reshaped and there have been changes to features and option packaging.
The 2010 Infiniti EX35 is offered in two trim levels, base and Journey, each with rear- or all-wheel drive. Every EX35 is powered by a 297-hp 3.5-liter V6. The lone transmission is a five-speed automatic with a manual shiftgate.
The EX35 ($33,800) and EX35 AWD ($35,200) come standard with automatic climate control (with rear heat and air conditioning vents), leather-appointed seating, aluminum trim, eight-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, four-way power passenger seat, 60/40 split second-row seat, manual tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry and starting, trip computer, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input jack, XM Satellite Radio, RearView Monitor, auto on/off halogen headlights, and P225/60R17 all-season tires on seven-spoke aluminum wheels. Added for 2010 are a USB port for the stereo and heat for the outside mirrors; AWD versions now get heated front seats, too.
EX35 Journey ($36,000) and Journey AWD ($37,400) add a power slide/tilt glass sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, auto-dimming inside mirror with compass, power tilt/telescoping steering column, and wood interior trim. For 2010, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system with steering-wheel mounted controls is standard. The Navigation Package (no charge) includes XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, and Zagat restaurant guide; plus voice recognition for audio and navigation, 9.3GB Music Box, in-dash single-disc DVD audio/video drive, and streaming audio via Bluetooth.
Options include the Bose Around View Monitor Package ($2,150).The Around View Monitor uses four small front, side and rear-mounted cameras to give the driver a top-down view of the outside of the vehicle and help reduce blind spots when parking. The package includes front and rear sonar park assist, a Bose premium audio system with 11 speakers (including 2 subwoofers) and 2.0GB Music Box hard drive, and an Advanced Climate Control System with auto-recirculation, grape polyphenol filter and Plasmacluster technology.
The Premium Package ($1,750) adds a memory function for the driver's seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors (with tilt-down in reverse); eight-way power front passenger's seat; driver's seat power lumbar support; xenon headlights with AFS; HomeLink Universal Transceiver; premium stitching on the instrument hood; power remote rear seat; headrest coat hangers; and aluminum roof rails. The Technology Package ($2,250) includes active safety features including Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, and Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning. High-performance P225/55VR18 all-season tires on eight-spoke aluminum alloy wheels ($500) are available.
Aluminum roof rails ($250) are a stand-alone option on any model. Dealers can install aluminum roof rack crossbars ($240) and a cargo organizer ($150).
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual front airbags; torso-protecting, seat-mounted front side airbags; head-protecting curtain side airbags; LATCH child seat anchors; active front head restraints; antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution; traction control; electronic stability control; and a rear-view monitor.
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