The time for boring SUV’s is over
The Infiniti brand has always been about luxury and performance, and the 2012 EX35 has both attributes going for it. The EX35 has the underpinnings of its sporty sibling, the G model, with rear-wheel-drive, Nissan’s superb 3.5-liter V6, and a fully independent suspension. The EX35 definitely feels more like a sports sedan than a crossover.
The Infiniti EX35 looks like the G coupe crossed with a wagon. It sits lower than a typical crossover, and has a sporty, swept back appearance. The EX35 shares its basic structure with the G and FX models, but the EX is nine inches shorter overall than the FX and rides on a 3.4-inch shorter wheelbase. The EX is also lighter than the FX by more than 300 pounds contributing to its sporty driving characteristics.
Quality and sophistication inside
Rich, soft-touch materials abound inside the EX35, and the fit and finish is what you find in more expensive models. Storage up front is lacking for those smaller items like cell phones and keys, but the center console is nicely sized with two cupholders in the front of it. The front seats are comfortable and have plenty of support for spirited driving.
The EX35 offers the room of a midsize station wagon, but is compact by SUV standards. With the seats down there is 55.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. With the rear seats up, there is still 18.6 cubic feet of cargo volume. Infiniti says the EX35 has seating for five, but only for shorter distances if those five passengers are adults.
The rear seat is split 60/40 and there is a standard fold-down center armrest, and on this Journey model with the Touring package, a coat hanger pops out of the back of the driver-seat headrest, useful for hanging a sport coat.
Standard features and technology
The EX35 Journey AWD ($39,300) gets several unusual technology features. The available navigation system is mated with a hard drive with 9.3 gigabytes of space to store music files. Music can be ripped directly from CDs. Bluetooth streaming and iPod links are among other input options.
The EX35 Journey model came with everything you would expect from a luxury crossover with leather-appointed seating, remote keyless entry and starting, XM satellite radio, rear camera, and heated front seats. A number of deluxe packages are available like the Touring Package ($2,200) that offers features like 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, driver memory system, entry/exit assist, and power up-folding second-row seats. The Premium package ($2,700) adds voice-recognition navigation with XM traffic/weather/Zagat guide, 9.3-gb Music Box, Bluetooth streaming audio, Bose 11-speaker audio system, Around View Monitor with front/rear park sensors, and upgraded climate control with Plasmacluster air purifier.
The EX has the heart of a sports sedan
More than any other crossover, the Infiniti EX35 drives like a sporty sedan, but that’s not surprising because its roots go back to the G sedan’s architecture. The 3.5-liter V-6 cranks out 297-horsepower and 253 lb. ft. of torque and is a proven performer. It’s mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate allowing the driver to enhance the fun in the corners.
The EX35 leaps from a stop and is truly impressive in passing situations at highway speeds. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 17/24 mpg City/Highway. The available AWD is meant for on-road use and is perfect for increased traction in wet or dry conditions. The EX35 is responsive and the brakes and steering feel natural and inspire confidence. The Around View Monitor with sonar shows obstacles 360 degrees around the vehicle, making it easier to maneuver in tight quarters.
With its sport sedan like handling, powerful engine, and useful cargo room, the Infiniti EX35 offers a nice alternative to larger, more cumbersome SUVs. The available technology and rich, classy interior add to the appeal. If you want a sporty alternative to a standard SUV, the EX35 is a good choice.