It is Michigan, it is March, and an all-wheel-drive Infiniti FX45 has landed for a year at 120 East Liberty. If there is a time to herald the general concept of the sport-utility vehicle, it's during a raging blizzard. Out of the way! Snowplow coming through! Or so we thought. Unfortunately, the twenty-inch tires that add so much to the radical look of Infiniti's sportiest sport-ute, the FX45, also make it ill prepared for serious winter duty. The very first logbook entry for the FX45, which arrived on our slippery doorstep smack-dab in the middle of the worst weather of 2003, was recorded by our design director, Darin Johnson, caught unprepared in northern Michigan, thinking he'd been smart to use the family ski weekend to break in the FX45: "Tires are awful! Do they make snow tires this big?"
Yes, they do, and eventually we got them. But this was the winter of 2003's last frigid gasp, and Johnson managed to slide home safely and directly into a lovely Michigan spring.
Which was just in time for the crappy, winter-ravaged roads to rear up. Count your blessings if you live in a state with roads that don't heave and buckle with the wild temperature swings of Midwest winters and summers. Driving on the rubble of Interstate 94 through downtown Detroit in the FX45 was like being in a popcorn popper-no surprise when you consider its monster rubber (those giant tires again!), the hunkered-down body, and the general dynamics of a suspension tuned for high-speed thrills.... Read full article