The Infiniti FX35 aims to please those who seek on-road thrills and, when needed, all-weather capability — should you feel the desire to scale rocky trails and seek wildlife, look elsewhere. As a bridge between a luxury sedan and a true SUV, the FX35 shares a platform with the Infiniti G35, has a four-wheel independent suspension tuned for handling on pavement and lacks a low-range transfer case. Its relatively low-slung stance, raised rear deck lid and 18-inch wheels give it a more aggressive look than most other crossover SUVs.
Entering the FX35, you’ll find a spacious five-passenger interior furnished with handcrafted leather and polished aluminum accents, with a cockpit that includes a "floating" instrument cluster with a 9.5-inch LCD display. The rear quarters can be equipped with an optional DVD entertainment system that should keep most every rear passenger amused for hours. Infiniti outfitted the FX35 to perform more like a luxury sedan than an SUV. Although it’s certainly not the most practical luxury SUV on the market, the 2005 Infiniti FX35 delivers impressive performance and a luxurious ride that will surprise anyone who thinks it’s just another lumbering sport-utility vehicle.
The Infiniti FX35 is a four-door midsize SUV offered in one trim level. Standard equipment includes eight-way power driver and front-passenger seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, HID headlights, an in-dash six-disc CD changer and 18-inch aluminum wheels. There are three significant option packages for adding additional equipment. The Premium Package adds items like leather seating, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, heated seats and mirrors, a sunroof, a 300-watt Bose audio system, steering wheel audio controls, auto headlights and a programmable Homelink remote transmitter. The Sport Package is identical to the Premium Package, except for the addition of 20-inch aluminum wheels. For more gadgets, the Technology Package augments the equipment in the Sport Package with a DVD navigation system, intelligent keyless entry (that uses electronic signals in place of a conventional keyless remote), a DVD entertainment system, radar-based adaptive cruise control, a rearview backup camera and a tire-pressure monitoring system. An available Lane Departure Warning System (LDW) works to alert the driver to any unintended movement of the vehicle out of a designated traffic lane.
The 2005 Infiniti FX35 is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Both models use a 280-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. All-wheel-drive models use an electronically controlled system that automatically directs power to the wheels with the most traction.
Safety highlights include four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, BrakeAssist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Front-seat side-impact airbags are standard, along with front and rear head-curtain airbags. Electronic traction and stability control systems also come standard. All-wheel-drive versions feature a snow mode for smoother take-offs on slippery roads.
With plenty of passenger room and a clean design, the FX35 interior is comfortable and easy to get used to. Although leather upholstery is available, the interior has more of a sporty flavor than a luxurious one, as aluminum trim takes the place of wood accents. The center console features a few too many buttons of similar shape and size. The sloping roofline makes for tight headroom in back, but the seat backs recline for added space when needed. Cargo room is tight as there’s just 65 cubic feet of room compared to 80 cubic feet or more in most midsize SUVs.
Built specifically to excel on the pavement where most owners will use it most, the Infiniti FX35 handles more like a sedan than an SUV. Minimal body roll, quick steering and the powerful V6 engine all combine to provide a driving experience that few other SUVs can match. When driven at the upper end of its performance limits, the FX35 isn’t as easy to control as a BMW X5, but the vast majority of drivers will find its road manners exceptional.