2008 Infiniti EX35 Review

A crossover that offers power and solitude

2008 Infiniti EX35 Review
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FAST FACTS

1. EX35 uses 297hp engine from G35.

2. First Infiniti to feature the Around View Monitoring system which gives drivers a real time

3. view of objects around the car.

The new Infiniti EX35 crossover is up against stiff competition, but after a week with one not too long ago it's clear the competition doesn’t have it easy either. Selecting the model with Infiniti’s intelligent AWD system with ATTESSA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split) adds $1,400 and is well worth the price, but be careful because it’s not hard to drive the original $35,450 price tag over the $46,000 mark.

Both the base and upgraded models receive a 3.5L V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual sport mode and downshift rev-matching (very cool) as standard. This fourth-gen VQ35HR engine, which EX35 shares with the G35 sedan, features a symmetric twin-ram air intake system, variable exhaust cam timing and various engine breathing and sonic performance improvements.

EXCELLENT POWER BUT COMPROMISED FUEL ECONOMY

At 297 hp and 253 ft-lbs of torque at 4800 rpm, the EX35 accelerates to 60 mph in under eight seconds and only needs 130 feet of road to stop completely from that mark. That's more than enough power for safe passing and a respectable braking distance for this vehicle type.

The U.S. EPA rates the EX35s fuel economy of 17/24 mpg (city/highway) under ideal conditions. The trip computer in my fully-loaded AWD test vehicle read 17.3 mpg after putting some 150 miles on it.

HIGH LEVEL OF STYLE FOR AN ENTRY LEVEL LUXURY SUV

Having garnered many long, curious looks from other drivers, the vehicles handsome FX-inspired exterior is owing to signature brand touches like the twin-arch grille, big L-shaped headlights with the available Bi-Xenon adaptive front lighting system, integrated fog lights and distinctive LED taillights.

A really cool feature is the patented self-healing “Scratch Shield” clear coat paint that supposedly eliminates swirl marks and fine scratches in the paint that accumulate over time. Other standard exterior features of the EX35 include an upper rear spoiler, dual chrome exhaust finishers, courtesy puddle lamps integrated stealthily into the side-view mirrors and smart-looking 17-inch alloy wheels with vented ABS brakes. Vehicle dynamics control (VDC) is also included along with an intelligent key, push button start, heated leather seats, eight-way power drivers and four-way power passenger seats, XM satellite radio and six airbags.

Infiniti’s “dynamic arch” profile might help its looks, but the steep rear glass/tailgate angle does seriously limit the height and shape of large objects the 19 cubic ft. rear cargo area will accept without protest. Even still, solid performance, elegant interior and numerous customization options will help close the sale for many suitors.

PLENTY OF ON-BOARD TECHNOLOGY

An independent double wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer bars yields solid and predictable handling with minimal body roll. Optional 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with P225/55 R18 tires help increase traction. Furthermore, the VDC system, which controls front-to-rear torque distribution, can be deactivated in situations where some wheelspin is desirable.

The EX is easily one of the quietest vehicles I've driven in quite some time and there are countless extras that can be added to make it more enjoyable, including everything from a power sunroof to Infiniti’s lane departure warning system to the cutting-edge “around view monitor” system.

The AVM system uses four tiny exterior cameras to give occupants a real-time 360-degree bird’s eye view of the vehicle and any objects, obstacles or hazards within a few feet of it on the standard seven-inch vehicle information display to assist with backing up or parking.

PLUS

Impressive stopping distance for an SUV
Peppy 297hp V6 engine
Style, power and technology make it attractive to younger target demographic

MINUS

Fuel economy could use improving
Tailgate shape makes fitting larger objects difficult
Pricy options add up fast

The 92 cu-ft. interior is roomy enough for four full-size adults to travel comfortably with dual-zone automatic climate controls and rear A/C vents keeping everyone cozy. Complete with a nine GB hard drive, compact flash (CF) card slot and Infiniti’s iPod interface system, the 11-speaker premium Bose audio system ensures there's always great-sounding music close at hand. The CF card option is only for MP3/WMA music files and does not allow photo viewing.

THE VERDICT

The Infiniti EX35 crossover builds on the success of the FX lineup and there's no reason to believe it won't blend itself seamlessly into the lives of many households. Yes, there's plenty of competition out there, but the combination of its seductive design, elegant interior and advanced technologies should appeal to buyers who want a luxurious vehicle without paying for one.

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