2003 Infiniti FX 35 (445)

This weeks test car is the Infiniti FX 35 SUV – yet another entrant into the vast arena of SUV’s. How many ways can the horse be designed? Give it a break guys…

It must be really profitable for the likes of Porsche to get into the fray with their Cayenne. I like this FX 35 but have reservations about the styling. Where do they find these “Style Jockeys”? What possesses them to assume we’d like these odd shapes? Is it shock effect they rely on? Are these concept cars? Who made the decision to go into production?

Anyway, other than the questionable styling the car is comfortable, very quiet and elegant inside. The only real noticeable glitch is the overly stiff suspension. You’ll notice a jolt on bumps in the road that are harsher than you’d expect.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Japan

Class: – SUV

Cars: – FX 35/45, G35 (coupe and sedan), I35, M45, Q45 & QX4.

Handling & Performance:

A real well mannered gentleman that likes speed. The bumpy ride didn’t quite require a Kidney Belt.

Both FX 35 and 45 come in all wheel drive or two-wheel drive, as did my test car. The V8 model scoots from zero to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds, and the V6 was very close to 7 seconds on my stopwatch. That is also impressively faaast.


Odd shape with large snout and chopped off back end. It’s kinda like they took the concept car from the show and accidentally put it into production. The looks you get I believe are more curiosity than looks of passion or desire to own one. But it’s not ugly; not really… is it?

The odd shape contributes to an odd rear view vision. Picture emerging from the tunnel (if you’ve been there) entering Yosemite National Park in California. You view from a dark tunnel an arched light at the end, and as you emerge you see Half Dome’s famous profile. Well, that’s what the rear view window reminds me of. It droops low at the top and the view is smaller than I like.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent as usual with Japanese carmakers.


Oodles of goodies and all classy in their application. I like the tilt wheel that brings the gauges with it which is a first to my recollection. The “move out of the way” seat and wheel is smooth and quiet. The rear hatch opens exceptionally well, up and out of the way. Well-done Nissan/ Infiniti.


The price surprised me. I expected it to cost more, even if I haven’t warmed up to the design. Lexus is close in feel to me, but the Nissan Murano is a great option to these pricier luxury SUV’s.

Consumer Recommendation:

You’ll need to test drive those of interest if you’re searching for this class vehicle. They are all classy SUV’s but “for the money” the Murano is my first choice in this group. My racing buddy David Murry tells me the Porsche is very impressive but I haven’t tested it yet. Plus he drives for Porsche and may be just a little biased. With that exception, and “money being no object”, my choice would be between the M-Class Mercedes and the Lexus RX 330.

The Competition:

Infiniti FX 35 5DR $34-44,000, Acura MDX $36-42,000, BMW X5 $40-67,000, Lexus RX 330 $35-36,000, Mercedes Benz M-Class $37-66,000, Nissan Murano $28-31,000, Porsche Cayenne $56-89,000, Toyota Highlander $24-31,000.

Good News:

Fast, classy, top quality, sporty handling.

Bad News:

Odd design with large snout and chopped off rear end, bumpy ride, small cargo area.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 280 hp V6 engine, 5-speed auto trans, front engine rear wheel drive, traction control, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes, power steering, 18 inch aluminum alloy wheels, power mirrors, rear wiper, 5-passenger seating, climate control, information computer, cruise control, 8-way power driver seat and 4-way passenger seat, power windows and door locks, leather wrapped wheel and shift knob, audio system with cassette and 6 disc CD autochanger, remote keyless entry, security system, dual front and side airbags.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 23 Highway MPG.


MSRP $34,200.

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