SUV Review: This
vehicle is a mystery. Infiniti's new mini SUV, the EX35, is one of the
best performing SUVs on the road. Its handling is so precise, its
performance on the limit so well balanced, that you'd swear you were
driving a great sports sedan and not a whale-butt SUV. On the other
hand, this is hardly an SUV at all.
The EX35 looks like one
of those vehicles you buy when you just can't drive a minivan, but it's
actually based on the awesome G37 sports coupe. That means it has
absolutely stunning performance, enough that I'd rather drive this thing
than BMW's oft-praised baby ute, the X3.
At the same time, that
sports-coupe performance has the unfortunate side effect of sports-coupe
impracticality in some ways.
The EX35's back seat,
for example, is designed for leprechauns, and its cargo area isn't much
better. You'd think such a small vehicle would get great gas mileage
too, but no. It makes Exxon executives grin with 24 mpg on the highway
and 17 mpg in town. It's also pricey for its small size, starting at
$31,300 and easily reaching past $40,000 as you add on the goodies.
And that's where the
mystery begins. Most people who are looking at small SUVs would buy them
for several reasons, so let's just run down the list.
Is the EX35 cheap? No.
Does it get great gas
Is it as practical as a
real SUV? No.
Does it have more room
than a mid-size car? No.
That leaves a fairly
small customer base that can appreciate the EX35 for what really sets it
apart from the crowd: technology and performance.
This vehicle is a
showplace for the latest in automotive gadgetry, and what a show it is.
There's an available hard drive for storing all your music, a
CompactFlash card reader for playing your MP3s, four video cameras that
give you a "top down" view of the car when parking, a Bluetooth
connection for your cell phone, and even a navigation system that sees
traffic jams in real time and automatically re-routes you to avoid them.
And, as I mentioned
before, there's the performance.
Aside from its angelic
suspension, a 297-horsepower V6 engine always keeps things interesting.
Yes, it gets unimpressive gas mileage for such a small SUV, but it
produces extremely impressive acceleration. SUVs simply aren't supposed
to go this fast.
Styling is also a plus
on this car. It looks seductive and slinky, with a sexy nose and sloping
coupe-like rear. It looks like a normal SUV in pictures, but in person,
thanks to its small size, it's much more intoxicating. It's almost
I think the EX35 is the
latest and greatest in mini SUVs, if only for a year or two, but is that
enough for people to flock to it? Probably not if they think like my
dad, who said "power windows are just another thing to go wrong." He'd
probably have a fit over hard drives, navigation screens and four video
cameras in a dadgum car.
But when you combine
everything together, the latest tech, the trendiest style, the best
performance, into one compact package, how can anyone ignore it?
Based on the
awe-inspiring G37 sports coupe platform, the EX35 offers similar driving
dynamics in an SUV-like package. This small car looks deceptively big in
Premium materials and
the newest gadgets help the small EX35 justify its price. This mini SUV
starts around $31,000 but can easily climb over $40,000 as you add
What was tested?
The 2008 Infiniti EX35 RWD Journey with a base price of $34,850. Options
include: Premium package $2,150, luxe style package $1,250, navigation
package $2,150. Total MSRP Price as tested including the $815 delivery
Why avoid it?
It's small, expensive and doesn't get good gas mileage.
Why buy it? It
has amazing performance for an SUV and offers the latest in technology.
It's pure techie meth.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: SUV Review
provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Infiniti Home Page
Column Name: Good
things in a small package
Topic: The 2008
Word Count: 724
Photo Caption: The 2008
Photo Credits: Infiniti
EX35 Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 48
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2008 Infiniti EX35
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2008 Infiniti EX35