2012 Infiniti FX SUV - FROM $43,700
Design, performance and technology drive the 2012 Infiniti FX to the forefront of luxury SUVs. But if practicality and utility are among your needs, look elsewhere.
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Infiniti FX is largely unchanged. It gains a restyled front grille and fascia, updated gauge illumination and revised standard features. There's also a new FX35 Limited Edition trim level based on the all-wheel-drive FX35.
The 2012 Infiniti FX sport-luxury SUV is designed for those who value style, performance and technology over cargo capacity, trail-blazing and a soft ride. Utilizing the same architecture beneath the Infiniti G37 sport sedan, the FX offers a level of carlike performance rivaled by few crossovers or SUVs.
With a lively, responsive chassis and a choice of either a powerful V6 or world-class V8 under the hood, the FX always feels ready to tackle a twisting road. Its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system enhances on-road and all-weather capability, but is not intended for true off-road use. A rear-wheel-drive FX is available only with the V6.
Impressive premium standard features and high-quality materials distinguish the Infiniti FX as a true luxury crossover. Occupants enjoy a plush and modern cabin endowed with all of the high-tech and luxury trappings expected of vehicles in this price range. Notable options include a clever top-view camera, adaptive cruise control, intelligent brake assist and a lane-departure warning and prevention system.
Unfortunately, the Infiniti FX has some drawbacks that its high-tech wizardry can't solve. Luggage space is noticeably smaller than that of its competitors, as is rear-seat space; larger passengers will feel a bit cramped. The FX's impressive handling also comes at the expense of ride comfort. Especially with the optional larger wheels, some may find the taut suspension a bit too harsh for their tastes. An optional two-mode adaptive suspension adequately addresses this FX characteristic.
If utility is a priority, the 2012 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 probably aren't your best choices. Though they're not as sporty, the Acura MDX, Lexus RX 350 and Lincoln MKX provide more passenger and cargo space. The BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne represent the FX's closest performance rivals, but they're more expensive. All things considered, the Infiniti FX lineup deserves a close look if you want a lot of sport from your luxury crossover.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Infiniti FX sport-luxury crossover SUV is offered in three trim levels: FX35, FX Limited Edition and FX50. The V6-powered FX35 can be had with either rear- or all-wheel drive, while the V8-powered FX50 is only offered with AWD.
Standard features for the FX35 include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, a sunroof, power-folding heated outside mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, full power accessories, eight-way power front seats, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls. Also standard are dual-zone automatic climate control, a back-up camera, Bluetooth for phone and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, an iPod/USB connection, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.
Options for the FX35 include a Premium package, which features aluminum roof rails, driver seat memory, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a 360-degree parking-camera system, front and rear parking sensors, a hard-drive navigation system with real-time traffic and weather, a Zagat restaurant guide, a larger touchscreen display, voice-activated controls, expanded digital music storage and Bluetooth streaming audio. The Deluxe Touring package (which requires the Premium package) adds 20-inch wheels, quilted leather seating, ventilated front seats, maple wood trim and a cargo cover.
Based on the all-wheel-drive FX35, the 2012 FX35 Limited Edition is differentiated by exclusive paint, 21-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights and some of the features from the Premium package, including driver seat memory, the navigation system and the parking camera system. Additional option packages aren't available for the Limited Edition.
The FX50 generally includes all of the above plus a more advanced climate control system with air filtration, quilted leather seating and ventilated front seats.
The Technology package (which requires the Deluxe Touring package for the FX35) adds automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlamps, forward collision warning, intelligent brake assist and a lane-departure warning and prevention system. A twin-screen rear-seat entertainment system is a stand-alone option for all FX models.
A Sport package is available for the FX50 only, and adds dark-tinted exterior trim, active rear steering, adaptive two-mode suspension dampers, solid magnesium paddle shifters and sport front seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Infiniti FX35 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 303 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The FX50 is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 390 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only transmission available. Rear-wheel drive is standard for the FX35; an all-wheel-drive system with a rear bias to preserve the vehicle's sporty handling capabilities is optional. The FX50 is only offered with AWD.
Acceleration is quick for either model. In Edmunds testing, the FX sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds for the FX35 and 5.5 seconds for the FX50. The EPA estimates fuel consumption for the AWD FX35 at 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined, while rear-drive models are rated at 16/23/19 mpg. The FX50 is estimated at 14/20/16 mpg.
Standard safety features for the 2012 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 include antilock disc brakes, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, traction control and stability control. A lane-departure warning and prevention system is optional, as are adaptive cruise control and intelligent brake assist. The latter uses the laser range finder from the adaptive cruise control to analyze closing speeds to an obstacle ahead. If a forward collision is imminent, the system sounds a warning to prompt driver action and can automatically apply the brakes up to 0.5g.
In crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Infiniti FX models its highest score of "Good" for frontal-offset impact protection. Edmunds brake testing yielded very favorable results for the FX50 -- stopping from 60 mph required only 117 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2012 Infiniti FX features an interior that is as luxurious as you'll find in this category. Supple leathers, rich wood trim and soft-touch materials grace nearly every surface of the cabin. The audio and navigation systems may be a little tricky to use at first, but once acclimated, operation is simple and intuitive. The optional 360-degree camera is particularly helpful when maneuvering in tight spaces, as it provides a top-down view of the vehicle in relation to its surroundings. All models receive revised gauge lighting for 2012.
The front seats are quite comfortable and are aided by ample head- and legroom. The rear seats, on the other hand, may be cramped for larger folk compared to other luxury SUVs. Luggage space behind the rear seats is about average, measuring 25 cubic feet. Folding the seats flat increases total cargo volume to 62 cubes, still well short of what most competitors offer.
In terms of handling and ride quality, both the 2012 Infiniti FX35 and FX50 deliver similar experiences. On twisting mountain roads, the FX displays impressive road-holding prowess and confidence, aided by strong, consistent brakes and a tight and direct steering feel. The trade-off, however, is a stiffer ride on the highway. Opting for the larger wheel sizes only compounds matters, increasing road noise and impact harshness.
The V6-powered FX35 delivers a smooth stream of power while the seven-speed automatic transmission executes shifts quickly and smoothly. Manually shifting provides slick, matched-rev downshifts. Most drivers will find that this engine provides more than enough power. For those who need more, the FX50 obliges with a flood of torque that launches this big SUV toward the horizon with ease. In most situations, the V8 is pleasantly refined, but closer to the redline it provides an additional surge of exhilarating power.