2009 Infiniti EX35 RWD Journey

Wow, this is a huge shock; I think if it weren’t for the damn laser setting off my Valentine One continually, I’d actually consider buying an EX. That makes this the first SUV I’d ever consider buying. (And, of course, I could just buy an EX without the laser-cruise-control and that would solve the laser detector problem).

The VQ under the hood actually sounds great in the car in this application (rear-wheel drive, automatic), though it doesn’t seem to do the trademark Infiniti exhaust note outside, disappointingly. I love that it revs to 7800 rpm, but the 5-speed automatic could use an extra gear or two. I guess that’ll happen next year, as the FX just got a 7-speed this year. The handling is superb for an SUV (even though I prefer to call this a tall wagon – and the EPA agrees). The steering is really good, only minor kickbacks in the bumps, and the brakes are great.

The Interior screams $70,000 vehicle, not this car’s actual $40k price tag. I love the embroidered Infiniti logos in the seatbacks, and I like the LCD touch-screen interface. I beat the poor EX mercilessly (and climbed Mt. Tam at full-bore) so gas mileage over the last 185 miles has been an atrocious 13 mpg. No limited slip, so sideways stuff isn’t going to happen; the EX just spins the inside wheel. Probably better that way.

Lane Departure Prevention is really cool – gently shoves the EX back into its lane; feels like a crosswind. Your passengers would never even know if it weren’t for Lane Departure Warning’s beeps, which are really annoying. I normally hate this kind of stuff, but this is actually a cool system. Thankfully, you can turn it off.

It’s strange that the EX35 comes with all this cool technology (the lane-change stuff, laser this-and-that, and the Around-View Monitor) but not with the “normal” high-tech stuff you expect from an expensive compact vehicle like auto wipers and three-blink turn signals. And why no bi-xenon high-beams? The halogen highs kind of suck.

No matter, I love the EX. It’s stunning to look at and really fun to drive. Who knew I’d like an SUV?