When Infiniti launched the FX SUV back in 2003, they were trying to compete with newly launched Porsche Cayenne and Volvo’s XC90. The FX’s initial design was themed around a concept Infiniti termed “cool fusion,” which sought to incorporate the lower half of an SUV with the upper half of a sports car. They also wanted the sports car performance with the durability and functionality of an SUV. The 2012 model checks all those boxes. And a few more.
On the performance front, the FX delivers. We tested the 330 HP 3.7L V6 version around New York City and the engine had enough power to do exactly what we wanted it to. Need pass a car on the West Side Highway before the next light? No problem. Put the FX in manual mode, drop a gear with the paddle shifters and the torque and take off is nearly instantaneous (there was a slight lag in the transmission, but nothing overly noticeable). Notice a pothole too late? Swerving at higher speeds is handled smoothly, without so much as a peep from the 20’ tires. It handles commendably well in an array of settings.
With regards to its design, the FX is a rather appealing car, thanks to Japanese styling with swooping and bending lines. While some prior reviews have described its shape as a “bionic cheetah” or a “giant scarab,” neither of those is really applicable. It’s more like a projectile; it looks as though it was just shot from a cannon – even while standing still. The pinched backside helps heighten this effect and it’s clear that the FX has down-the-road styling, with shark-like headlights, a large bonnet and menacing grill. See one at a glance and it’s instantly recognizable.
Lastly, there’s the interior. Infiniti’s heritage lies in the marriage of performance to luxury and the FX’s cabin typifies the luxury portion of that sentiment. The interior is inviting and modern, draped in leather and stained maple wood and piano black finishes. There was plenty of headroom, legroom and space. The only part that’s lacking is the trunk area, which is diminished due to the compressed tail end. This isn’t the most practical of choices for a family of four and a pile of luggage. But the boot is big enough to accommodate daily SUV-cargo toting needs.
The proprietary systems are both intuitive and helpful. A prime example is Infiniti’s All-Around View Monitor, which displays a virtual bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and surrounding, meant to aide in parking. However, it came in particularly handy when trying to squeeze past a double-parked truck on a narrow side street. The interface which controls all the electronics was simple to use and the touch screen made data entry into the GPS a breeze.
Combine it all together and the term “cool fusion” starts to make more and more sense. The FX is made for the driver who had to turn in the two door coupe when the family came, but didn’t want to also turn in the fun.
SPECS & DIMENSIONS
Body Type: 5-door SUV
Engine: Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 3.7 L V6 330 hp (246 kW)
Transmission: 7-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 113.6 in (2,885 mm)
Length: 191.3 in (4,859 mm)
Width: 75.9 in (1,928 mm)
Height: 66.1 in (1,679 mm)