Infiniti FX Review

Infiniti FX Review

The Infiniti FX was no staid, family-oriented luxury SUV. It was mean, outrageous, curvaceous and available with a pair of stout engines. While other SUVs were (and are) based on sedans, trucks and even minivans, the FX traced its lineage back to a sports car: Nissan's Z. As such, the FX carved out a cool little niche of its own.

Indeed, through its two generations, the FX was a different sort of sport-utility: one that put an unmistakable emphasis on "sport," while some "utility" was a mere bonus. Passenger and cargo room were never what we would call generous, so if hauling the kids to hockey practice was a priority, something else would be in order. As such, the Infiniti FX is certainly not for everyone. But for those who like the idea of a high-riding sport sedan with standout styling, the Infiniti FX may be the perfect choice.

The FX was replaced by the Infiniti QX70.

Used Infiniti FX Models
The most recent Infiniti FX generation was available from 2009 through 2013. The V6 version known as the FX35 had a 3.5-liter, 303-horsepower V6 up until 2013, when it was replaced by the FX37 and its 3.7-liter, 325-hp unit. The FX50 model packed a 5.0-liter V8 making 390 hp. Either way, the transmission was a seven-speed automatic with manual shift control. Rear-wheel drive was standard for the V6 versions. An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, with a rearward bias to preserve the vehicle's sporty handling, was optional. The FX50 only came with AWD.

Standard feature highlights included automatic xenon lights, a sunroof, a power tailgate, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a Bose surround-sound audio system. Optional features included keyless ignition/entry, heated and cooled front seats, a navigation system, a 360-degree overhead parking camera, parking sensors and blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems.

These FX models are known for their athleticism. As the FX shared its platform with the Infiniti G sedan and the nimble EX, carlike handling is encoded in its DNA. There's ultimately no hiding its higher center of gravity and hefty mass, but around corners, the FX displays impressive road-holding prowess and confidence, aided by strong, consistent brakes and a tight and direct steering feel. The trade-off, however, is a stiffer ride on the highway. Larger wheel sizes only compound matters, increasing road noise and impact harshness.

In addition to those fine handling chops, our reviews of this last-generation FX also revealed that the V6 models provide more than enough performance. Honestly, the FX50 is really just an example of overkill. All, however, suffer from a lack of utility. Quite simply, the FX's backseat and cargo room pale in comparison to its competitors -- even so-called "compact" luxury crossovers are more spacious.

The first-generation Infiniti FX was produced from 2003-'08. Like its successor, it shared its platform with the G sedan and Nissan's Z car, giving it a dynamic driving experience that few could match. Its styling was also quite striking, though without the current car's flamboyantly exaggerated wheel arches, it was a little easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

This generation was broken up into FX35 and FX45 models, which like the current car signified differing engines. The 3.5-liter V6 produced 275 hp, while the 4.5-liter V8 had 315 hp from 2003-'06 and 320 hp thereafter. A five-speed automatic was standard. The FX35 could be had with standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive, while the FX45 came only with the latter.

Throughout its life, Infiniti made several changes. For 2005, a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control and keyless ignition/entry were added to the options list, while all FX45s got standard side curtain airbags. There were significant changes for 2006, when the exterior was given the slightest of alterations, the engine was upgraded and the suspension was revised for an improved ride. Inside, a new center console design, gauges and interior trim debuted, along with several high-tech items like Bluetooth. As such, Infiniti FXs from 2006 and later are the picks of the litter.

Although the cabin was loaded with premium features, there was nothing fancy going on with the seats, controls and instruments. The leather upholstery was complemented by aluminum trim, not wood. The front seats were more supportive than plush. Many of today's high-tech features were also available, though more so in the later years.

In reviews and road tests, we found this Infiniti FX to be every bit as exciting as it looked. It truly felt like a sport sedan, with quick and responsive steering and agility. The engines were powerful and had the same sort of telltale exhaust howl as the G35 and 350Z. Even more impressive, the FX felt balanced and under control during all but the most extreme maneuvers, while remaining comfortable throughout. As with today's models, this FX suffered from poor rear visibility and a lack of space in the backseat and cargo area.

Infiniti FX years