Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Infiniti FX It's confession-time: I've got a fetish for multi-purpose vehicles. No, I've never been a fan of SUVs. And no, the recent spate of crossovers has left me scratching my head (give me a wagon or give me death!). But what I am interested in are vehicles that can exhilarate on-road while holding their own off-road. It's that same allure that had me pressed against the window of a Subaru dealership at midnight to fantasize about the 2.5RS ten years ago; the reason that I can't wait to drive the BMW X6; and the reason I find myself in San Diego, once again, to spend some quality time with the 2009 Infiniti FX. %Gallery-21292% All photos © 2008 Damon Lavrinc / Weblogs, Inc. Truth be told, I liked the last generation FX. I even went so far as to recommend it to a friend, with the caveat that it wasn't the most refined ride in its class. Back when it was introduced, the FX stood alone among the sluggish stalwarts of the SUV set, blending a fair bit of functionality with some manner of sport. But with an interior by Playschool and a suspension made of granite, it didn't quite live up to buyer's expectations. Despite this, the FX still solidified its place as a niche vehicle in a segment that had yet to be defined. The 2009 model aims to do the same, but this time, Infiniti is attempting the same feat on a shoe-string budget with competitors that have gotten hip to the idea that a two-plus-ton beast should actually be engaging. First things first -- the FX looks pissed. Not angry in a "you used Equal instead of Splenda in my soy vanilla latte," but more of a "if you don't give me your chocolate, your money and your first born, I'm going to channel Ghenghis Khan and get 13th century on your ass." But then again, you'd be fuming too if your ass was that size. It certainly isn't subtle, but it's not particularly purposeful, or elegant – both of which are becoming de rigueur for the segment. While we understand that Infiniti has to make its mark in the styling department, we would have preferred a headlight treatment similar to the G's and a grille that lends some cohesion to the rest of the Infiniti range. That said, at least the vents aft of the front wheel arches are functional, simultaneously reducing under-hood temps while providing down force at speed. Exterior aesthetics aside, the 2009 FX still retains the basic shape of its predecessor, albeit with a wider track and a longer wheelbase. But more importantly, it utilizes the same FM (front-midship) architecture as the G35 sedan. That means weight distribution is some of the best in its class (FX50 AWD 54/46, FX35 AWD 53/47, FX35 RWD 52/48) and a potent choice of powertrain options that look downright tasty on paper. The entry-level FX35 comes …
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