2012 Infiniti EX SUV - FROM $35,800
The 2012 Infiniti EX is one of the best vehicles to drive in the growing segment of compact luxury crossovers, and the price is right, too. Just don't expect it to haul people and stuff like its roomier rivals.
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Infiniti EX gets no major changes.
The 2012 Infiniti EX is built on the same platform as Infiniti's sporty G Sedan, and this means the EX is a cut above most other compact luxury crossovers when it comes to the way it drives. With its 3.5-liter V6 under the hood, the EX also delivers plenty of muscle. Really, if you're a fan of the G sedan but wished it was a little more practical, the EX should be the perfect compromise.
The EX's appeal continues inside as it surrounds its occupants with impressive luxury trimmings, including soft leather upholstery and genuine wood trim. An array of cutting-edge technology is also available, including the Around-View Monitor that stitches together images from four video cameras to give the driver a handy 360-degree top-down view of the vehicle and its surroundings.
At the same time, the EX isn't as spacious within its cabin compared to the competition, and it pays the price in terms of practicality. The backseat is cramped and the cargo area provides slightly less cargo space than the Audi A4 Avant. However, the fact remains that the EX is more practical than its G Sedan sibling and other entry-level luxury sedans. Think of it as a wagon without the wagon stigma.
Of course, if you do need more passenger and cargo room, the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Volvo XC60 are compact luxury crossovers that should get the job done. The BMW X3 is another athletic choice. If you're looking for more "sport" than "utility," however, the 2012 Infiniti EX should suit you well.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Infiniti EX is a five-passenger luxury crossover SUV available in two trim levels: base and Journey.
Standard equipment on base models includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger, heated on all-wheel-drive models), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio/video jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Spring for the top-of-the-line Journey trim and you also get a sunroof, heated front seats, power-adjustable driver lumbar, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an in-dash six-CD changer.
Journey models have a number of options available, including a Premium package that bundles a multi-camera parking system, front and rear parking sensors, an air purifier, Bluetooth audio streaming, a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather, an 11-speaker Bose audio system with single-CD player and 9GB of digital music storage.
To the Premium package you can add the Deluxe Touring package, which includes 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, driver's memory functions, an eight-way power passenger seat, a power-folding backseat and upgraded interior trim. To that package you can add the Technology package, which offers lane-departure warning and prevention systems, adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning and a blind-spot warning system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Infiniti EX is offered with a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. A 3.5-liter V6 that produces 297 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque and a seven-speed automatic with manual shift control round out the powertrain details. Based on testing of an EX with its previous transmission, we expect the EX to go from zero to 60 mph in a little more than 6 seconds, which is very quick for a compact luxury crossover.
Fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined for both rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive models.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Infiniti EX include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
The optional Technology package adds Forward Collision Warning (which uses the adaptive cruise control radar system to alert the driver of an impending collision), Intelligent Brake Assist (which automatically engages the brakes when the driver ignores FCW) and the lane-departure warning system (which alerts the driver when the car starts to veer into another lane). In performance brake testing, the EX stopped from 60 mph in 118 feet, a very good result for this class.
In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the EX earned a top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
If there was one word to describe the 2012 Infiniti EX's passenger cabin it would have to be "posh." Both the entry-level model and the top Journey trim level feature top-quality materials, including supple leather and genuine aluminum or maple wood accents. The styling is attractive and the controls are intuitive to use.
Front seats offer good comfort and support and the elevated driving position is excellent, especially with the fine-tuning capability offered by the Journey model's power tilt-and-telescoping adjustable steering column. The backseat leaves much to be desired, however, especially in the legroom department. Don't expect anything better than what most sport sedans provide.
The cargo area is also on the small side, with just 18.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Even with the rear seatbacks folded down, the EX's 47.4-cubic-foot cargo capacity is still significantly smaller than its competitors. It actually holds less than the Audi A4 Avant wagon.
If your tastes run more toward sport sedans than SUVs, you're bound to like driving the 2012 Infiniti EX. Even with its tall profile, the sporty suspension calibration delivers above-average handling, while responsive steering and strong brakes complete the package. Better still, the ride quality is quite good even with the standard 18-inch alloy wheels. The V6 under the hood delivers impressive acceleration to create a total package that's nearly as much fun to drive as its G Sedan sibling.