2011 FX50 New Car Test Drive
The Infiniti FX is a big crossover with sporty handling and responsive engines. Designed for performance and style, it avoids the boxy proportions of traditional SUVs. It offers some usable cargo space, but not as much back-seat room and cargo space as the boxier SUVs, in spite of its large size.
We find the wild styling appealing. Certainly, it's not bland.
And it runs like a bionic cheetah. The FX is based on the same platform as the Nissan Z and Infiniti G sports cars. All-wheel drive is available, but it's a rear-wheel-drive platform, meaning sporty. (Note the FX has nothing in common with the Nissan Murano, which is a front-wheel-drive vehicle built on an entirely different platform, a common misperception.) Primary competition for the Infiniti FX line comes from the rear-wheel-drive BMW X6, which comes at a higher price point.
The Infiniti FX35 comes with a 303-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, while the FX50 features a 390-hp 5.0-liter V8. Fuel economy for the FX35 is an EPA-estimated 16/23 mpg City/Highway; the FX35 AWD is rated 16/21 mpg, and the FX50 AWD is rated 14/20 mpg.
While the exterior styling of the FX is polarizing, its interior earns approval from most. Touring Package cars feature fine details, nicely stitched leather, wonderfully stained Maple wood, and matte-finish surfaces that provide a nice respite from the chrome-plated plastic in many other vehicles.
Technology abounds, including the Around View Monitor, which displays images of everything around the FX on the navigation display. Smart cruise control, voice-recognition navigation with real-time weather and traffic, rear-seat entertainment systems, and a host of electronics are available.
For 2011, changes are minor. A power rear liftgate is standard and the FX50 comes with 20-inch wheels and black lacquer cabin trim. The 21-inch wheels and Maple wood trim previously standard on FX50 are now optional, but even including them the price is about $400 lower. We think both of those moves are in the right direction. The Infiniti FX was all-new for 2009.
The 2011 Infiniti FX is available in three models, differentiated by engine, driveline, and equipment content. The FX35 is powered by a 303-hp V6 and comes with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). The FX50 has a 390-hp V8 and AWD. All models come with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The Infiniti FX35 ($41,600) and FX35 AWD ($43,050) come with power leather seats, leather shifter and leather-wrapped manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, split-folding and reclining rear seats, moonroof, power heated folding mirrors with puddle lights, power door locks and windows, power hatch closure, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, fog lamps, rear privacy glass, dark chrome grille, Intelligent key, visors with illuminated mirrors and extensions, stainless scuff plates with the Infiniti logo, aluminum pedal covers, HomeLink, rear-view monitor, variable/fixed intermittent front/rear wipers, trip computer, and P265/60VR18 all-season tires on 18-inch alloy wheels. Even the standard stereo is an 11-speaker Bose extravaganza (300 watts, dual subwoofers, CD/MP3/XM); with a USB port, iPod interface, 2.0-GB Music Box hard drive (replacing last year's 6CD changer) and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
The FX35 Premium Package ($4,800) adds quilted leather upholstery, climate-controlled front seats; two-position memory for the driver's seat, outside mirrors that tilt down in reverse, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, roof rails finished in what Infiniti calls sand blasted aluminum and navigation (includes a 9.3-GB Music Box hard drive, plus voice recognition for both audio and navigation functions, eight-inch color display, XM NavTraffic and XM NavWeather, Zagat restaurant guide, Bluetooth streaming audio, in-dash DVD audio/video player, Around View Monitor), front and rear park-assist sonar, Around View Monitor. The Deluxe Touring Package ($2,750) upgrades with maple interior accents, aluminum pedals, a cargo cover, and P265/50VR20 all-season tires on high-luster 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Infiniti FX50 ($56,400) comes with all the FX35 AWD with Premium package plus the V8 engine and AWD, larger brakes, and 20-inch alloy wheels. Real chrome replaces silver paint for the lower bodyside accents, and the aluminum roof rails are polished. The FX50 also adds an automatic entry-exit feature to the power steering column and features Infiniti's Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with Plasmacluster air purifier, auto-recirculation, and a grape-seed polyphenol filter. The FX50 Sport Package ($3,000) features an adaptive Continuous Damping Control (CDC) suspension; active rear steering; upgraded sport seats up front; magnesium shift paddles; and dark tinted headlights, side air vents and lower side trim. Both Sport and Technology packages require the Touring package.
The Technology Package ($2,900) bundles advanced safety systems including Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Prevention; Lane Departure Warning; Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts; Intelligent Cruise Control; Distance Control Assist; rain-sensing front windshield wipers; Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS); and auto-leveling headlights. A Deluxe Touring package ($1,650) adds Maple cabin trim, 21-inch wheels and tires, and aluminum pedal accents. Port-installed options include an aero kit ($2,070), DVD monitors in the rear headrests ($1,510), a tow package ($680) consisting of Class II hardware and a four-pin harness, aluminum roof rail crossbars ($325), and a cargo organizer ($225).
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. Available all-wheel drive can enhance safety in adverse conditions.