2009 Infiniti FX50 crossover – Test drive and new SUV review – 2009 Infiniti FX50 Sport Utility Vehicle

27 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Infiniti FX50 crossover – Test drive and new SUV review – 2009 Infiniti FX50 Sport Utility Vehicle
Infiniti FX50

Utility? Who needs utility?

There are weeks when my job is#8230; well, work. Then come the weeks when I test a crossover like the 2009 Infiniti FX50. Then my job becomes a hoot and a half. This V8-powered rocket enticed me on long drives to nowhere and back, seeking out the twistiest road home.

They had to pry the keys away from me to take the FX back for a rest. The 2009 Infiniti FX50 carried a $58,400 base price ($65,015 as tested), along with a 4 year/60,000 mile basic warranty, a 6 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty and an EPA estimate of 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway. Let#8217;s drive.

First Glance

Larger Exterior Photos: Front Rear

FX50 is all new for 2009, the second generation of the FX that debuted in 2003. I loved the first-generation FX, and I had high expectations for the new vehicle.

FX has grown a smidge in each dimension, with a 113.6#8221; wheelbase, 191.3#8221; length, 75.9#8221; width and 66.1#8221; height, but the essential character has been maintained, even heightened. In keeping with the rest of the Infiniti family, FX#8217;s grille has grown more complex, with a series of ridges and bumps that bring to mind the roof of my mouth as sculpted by Henry Moore.

I apologize if that image causes you to wake up screaming tonight, but look at FX#8217;s grille and see if you don#8217;t agree. A functional vent has taken residence on the front fender, just behind the wheel well, presumably to help direct hot air out of the engine compartment, and to look super cool. FX#8217;s expressive headlamps and taillamps are carved into the front and rear fascia respectively, wrapping around each corner for great visibility and scary animation.

The crossover#8217;s scarab shape remains, and is echoed in muscular bulges over each wheel.

FX now wears a coat of the high tech #8220;Scratch Shield#8221; paint that debuted on the EX, purported to heal itself when inflicted with small scratches. It#8217;s deep, lustrous and rich-looking paint, and in combination with FX#8217;s almost-liquid chrome and metal highlights, stunning. Big 21#8221; aluminum alloy wheels complete the package.

This is a crossover you#8217;ll want to keep clean and polished.

In the Driver’s Seat

Space-age technology.

Photo #169; Jason Fogelson

They must have a Jason Fogelson mannequin at Infiniti. That#8217;s the only way I can explain how perfectly the FX fits me. I#8217;m on the tall side (6#8217;2#8221;) and on the heavy side of normal. Though I love sports cars, I#8217;ve really got an SUV body.

Infiniti gets it, providing a very flexible seating platform with a highly adjustable steering column, making it easy to find the perfect performance driving position. FX#8217;s driver#8217;s seat is one of the best I#8217;ve encountered in a luxury SUV #8211; not too firm, not too soft, with just the right, generous dimensions and side bolstering.

FX#8217;s center stack houses a myriad of buttons, logically arrayed in groups according to function. Shorter drivers may find the navigation system#8217;s angled panel too high for their eyeline, but it was just right for me to see and reach (thanks, Jason mannequin!). FX wears several redundant steering wheel-mounted controls for telematics.

In typical Infiniti fashion, the controls themselves are little works of art, with knurled surfaces and an interesting layout.

FX#8217;s interior materials are top notch with real wood trim, brushed aluminum, painted metal and high quality plastics arranged in tasteful patterns. You can feel the difference between good and cheap just by running your hands across surfaces in a vehicle, and FX passes the touch test. This is an interior that Stevie Wonder could enjoy.

Infiniti FX50

On the Road

Now comes the real fun of the FX50 #8211; driving. Strap yourself in, Stevie #8211; we#8217;re going for a ride. Listen to the rumble of that 5.0 liter V8 engine.

Infiniti has provided 390 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, and hooked it up to a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Click the left paddle (marked #8220;-#8220;) for a downshift, and the engine growls to match revs and make the gear change more efficient. FX has the power to throw you back in your seat, and the sure-footed handling to let you dance through the curves like a big cat.

All-wheel drive is standard, and big brakes haul the 4,575 lb crossover to a halt with reliable force. FX really benefits from its car-based chassis and engineering, as a low center of gravity and well-controlled damping make the crossover feel like it is glued to the road. I loved driving the FX50.

My test vehicle was loaded down with option packages that made my ride even more enjoyable. A $3,000 Sport Package included continuous damping control and rear active steer. A $2,900 Technology Package added Intelligent Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and other high tech features.

Combined with Infiniti#8217;s standard package of technology, FX is one of the most advanced, electronics-laden vehicles on the road. A week was only enough time to scratch the surface of FX#8217;s capabilities #8211; and that scratch healed itself.

Journey’s End

Try and keep up with this.

Photo #169; Jason Fogelson

It#8217;s fun to drive a loaded vehicle like the FX50, but not many of us are ready to plunk down the $65,000 plus tax and license that it takes to own one. I think that I could live happily with the lesser FX35, with its 3.5 liter V6 engine and slimmer level of standard equipment, especially considering the $15,000 price differential. I#8217;d still get the great design that I lust after, and I could spend the $15,000 on a used Mazda Miata for some driving thrills.

If money isn#8217;t your issue, and you#8217;re ready to pony up for the V8 FX50, there are a few other crossovers you ought to drive before you empty your piggybank.

Taking money out of the equation, and Infiniti#8217;s FX50 becomes my absolute favorite crossover vehicle.

I wish life worked that way, because I wouldn#8217;t be sitting at this computer typing right now #8211; I#8217;d be out driving my FX50.

Infiniti FX50
Infiniti FX50
Infiniti FX50

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