2009 FX50 New Car Test Drive
The 2009 Infiniti FX is the second generation of this performance crossover SUV from Nissan's luxury division. The FX is all-new for the 2009 model year, with new styling, new engines, new transmissions.
The V6 model is still called the FX35, but the V8 model has been renamed FX50 in recognition of its 5-liter engine. (The FX50 replaces the previous FX45.) Both engines have significantly changed, both get new seven-speed automatic transmissions, and many pieces large and small are new.
Emphasizing polarizing looks over box-shaped utility the FX offers the same front seating room as most midsize sedans with a broad back seat with the same legroom as a Honda Civic. Big pieces of cargo will require folding down the back seats, but the V8 version will tow a small boat or pair of personal watercraft. This is not a car with high sales volume so there is some exclusivity, and with the eye-catching looks if there's another around you will notice it.
High style is maintained inside as well, especially on the V8 and premium-packaged V6 cabins; nicely stitched leather, wonderfully stained Maple wood, fine details, and matte-finish surfaces a nice respite from excessive chrome-plated plastic. The interior was the opposite of the mixed opinions on outside style as virtually every observer approved.
Features are good and fair for the price point. Some features, including the Around View monitor, are not available elsewhere at any price, at least not for the next 15 minutes or so. And these things are loaded. If it isn't standard, it's probably available. Standard features include moonroof, bi-xenon headlamps, power hatch closure, XM radio, while smart cruise control, voice-recognition navigation with real-time traffic, rear-seat entertainment systems, and a host of electronics are also available.
Primary competition for the FX line comes from the BMW X6, which by nature of its newness and more sweeping roofline may receive more styling attention and delivers slightly higher performance benchmarks than the FX, but doesn't necessarily drive better and costs thousands more. So if you're looking at the X6 and it seems costly, step over here to the Infiniti showroom and check out the bionic cheetah. You might even prefer it.
Based on the same platform as the Nissan 300ZX and Infiniti G37 sports cars, the Infiniti FX is a rear-wheel-drive based vehicle. (The FX has nothing in common with the Nissan Murano, which is a front-wheel-drive vehicle built on an entirely different platform.) The FX goes like stink and offers sporty handling along with some cargo capacity.
The 2009 Infiniti FX comes in three models: FX35 ($40,950), FX35 AWD ($42,350); and FX50 AWD ($56,700). The AWD models come with all-wheel drive. The FX35 version uses a 303-hp V6 (EPA rated at 16/23 mpg, 16/21 mpg with AWD). The FX50 has a 390-hp V8 (14/20 mpg). All use a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Every FX comes with power leather seats, leather shifter and tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, dual-zone climate control, split-folding and reclining rear seats, moonroof, power heated folding mirrors with puddle lights, power door locks/windows, power hatch closure, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, fog lamps, rear privacy glass, dark chrome grille, Intelligent key, illuminated mirror visors with extensions, stainless logo scuff plates, HomeLink, Bose audio system (300 watts, dual subwoofers, MP3, XM), rear-view monitor, variable/fixed intermittent front/rear wipers, trip computer, and space-saver spare tire.
Infiniti FX35 comes with a 6CD changer which reverts to single CD when navigation is ordered, and 18-inch alloy wheels. FX35-specific options include 20-inch wheels with all-season tires and matte-finish roof rails. Many FX options come pre-packaged and you could outfit an FX35 closely to FX50-level amenities and features for approximately $7,850.
Infiniti FX50 adds leather upholstery, heated/cooled front seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and auto entry/exit, two-position driver memory, hand stained Maple trim, HDD navigation with eight-inch screen, Around View monitor, magnesium paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, cargo net and cover, iPod interface, 9.3 GB hard drive with CF card slot, Enkei 21-inch alloy wheels, polished aluminum roof rails, and an air-purifying climate control system. Available only on the FX50 are performance summer tires (no charge) and a sport package that includes sport seats with manual thigh extensions and four-way power bolsters for the driver, adaptive auto-leveling dark-tint headlamps, rear active steering, and Continuous damping Control (CDC) suspension.
Options on any FX include lane departure warning/prevention systems, adaptive headlamps, nine-inch LCD DVD rear-entertainment system, intelligent cruise control with distance control, pre-crash belts, brake assist, rain-sensing wipers, tow package, splash guards, aero kit, roof rack cross bars, stainless steel illuminated sill plates, stainless rear bumper top, and a cargo organizer.
Safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, first aid kit, stability control with traction control and antilock brakes, and tire pressure monitors. The only safety options are the pre-crash seat belts integral with the intelligent cruise control/distance control system.