The 2012 Infiniti FX35 rewards the finicky with its attention to detail and versatility. Maybe it should be called the Infinicky FX35. (Good taste does not mean we can resist bad puns.)
THE BIG PICTURE
I am the kind of shopper who does her research for every single thing I purchase. I scope out the options online and in stores, read customer and industry reviews, and check for sales. If it’s clothing, I inspect the stitching. If it’s a purse, I put the contents of my current purse inside it to make sure it all fits. I will pay more for a well-made winter coat if I can wear it for years.
The 2012 Infiniti FX35 is the Montcler down puffer jacket of the automotive world. It’s sporty, it’s high-tech, it’s comfortable, and you won’t be wishing for new coat, er, car in a year. There are cheaper SUVs (and ski jackets) out there, but the FX35 gets all the details right: a 303-hp V6 engine for plenty of power, distinctive styling to keep it from blending in, and leather seats. Also, neither the Montcler nor the FX35 has to witness the extremes of winter snow to prove they have the goods; just know that they could.
Let’s start with those leather seats, which have 10-way power adjustments for the driver, 8-way adjustments for the passenger, and heat. The rear seats have plenty of space for passengers, and the cargo space is cavernous. A couple of bags from an REI shopping trip looked downright sad back there. I nearly went back for a new snowboard just to fill it up. Backseat riders get their own heating and cooling vents, and their seats fully recline. Excellent for that long family trip. And for the driver, there’s an overhead sunglasses case. Not a big deal but certainly a welcome little perk.
The FX35 is quite family-friendly, with lots of space and good access. It looks far cooler than any minivan on the market, which makes it a good alternative for the style-conscious parent. It looks cool enough that it may even reduce teenage embarrassment (nah, probably not).
There’s as much safety equipment in this Infiniti as there is in any other luxury SUV these days, including all the essential front, rear and side airbags, brake assist (which senses when an emergency braking situation is happening and automatically applies the maximum brake force), traction control, and tire-pressure monitoring. The seatbelts are height-adjustable, too, which makes them more likely to be used and to work properly.
I jumped into the cockpit of the Infiniti FX35 in Oregon after a week in sunny Los Angeles. The first thing I did was jack up the heated driver’s seat all the way. The little knobs in the center console allow you to select your tush warmth more precisely than “on/off.” The second thing I did was adjust the seat and store its position in memory, since the FX35 moves the seat back when you turn it off for easy egress, then moves it back to your memory position next time you push the Start button. It’s the little things.
It’s also the big things, like the 3.5-liter engine, which had enough power to propel me into traffic on a cold, rainy, dim afternoon. Also the electronic stability system, which gave me enough control that I didn’t make an jerk out of myself while doing it (I had the FX35 AWD to test). Fuel economy in an engine like this is predictably poor, getting 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
As I started for home, the nav system helpfully shouted that there was a storm warning in fifteen miles, which made me wonder two things: fifteen miles in which direction, and how do I turn her down? She was ruining my moment with Jay-Z and Kanye on the satellite radio.
One thing about the curvaceous exterior design: it’s very striking, which I love, but not everyone does. Infiniti sometimes has polarizing design. From the driver’s seat, you can see the pronounced curves of the fenders, which again, I love. It seems sporty inside and out, and looks like the designers put thought into each piece of sheet metal rather than going with what the competition is doing. Again, it’s attention to detail that counts with finicky shoppers.
But when a car company dares to move beyond vanilla with its designs, it risks alienating some, including my husband. He thinks it just looks odd. At well over six feet tall, my hubby was happy for the range of adjustability in the passenger seat.
GIZMOS AND TECH
Finicky shoppers love to find useful extras — the built-in coin purse, the hidden iPod pocket. The Infiniti FX35 has a phalanx of cameras on board. Shift into reverse, and the navigation system screen shows the rear back-up camera with rear sonar to help you back up. Many vehicles, especially SUVs, have rear-view cameras, but the Infiniti FX35 also has Around View. There are four cameras total, situated all around the FX35. The nav screen displays the scene from every angle, so you can see exactly how close you are to the recycling bin at the end of the driveway. Genius.
: I’m going to call this the Infinicky FX35 AWD from now on and mean it in the best possibly way. Hey, why not buy what you can afford? And if fifty thou is what you can afford, this SUV has a lot to offer.
Attention to detail inside and out makes the 2012 Infiniti FX35 worth the price
The Around View system is both amazing and useful -- a rare combination
As with many SUVs, the abysmal gas mileage is a downer