Miles to date: 23,630 miles
Months in fleet: Nine
Most crossovers exist for the primary purpose of hauling around families and their gear in complete comfort. Not our EX35. Throughout its time in our fleet, it has proved popular among singles and couples, but disappointing to those with more people to cart around. This trend was made clear once again this month as the EX went on two road trips and left two rather different impressions on its drivers.
First up was a senior Web editor Phil Floraday, who went with his sister on a meandering three-and-a-half day drive to Maine. Initially one of the EX's biggest detractors (back in January he likened it to Chevy Chase's Wagon Queen Family Truckster), he returned from his adventure an unabashed enthusiast.
"About 1200 miles into the trip, I still wasn't tired of driving. The seats are incredibly comfortable, the stereo is surprisingly good, and it drives like a regular sedan. We actually ditched the interstate and stuck with two-lane roads for an entire day through Vermont, New Hampshire, and up the lovely Route 1 in Maine. I found the EX to be as "tossable" as anything else built on Nissan's FM platform. The automatic transmission is calibrated well and I enjoyed the manual shift feature for controlling speed on some of the major downhill sections of highway in Maryland and West Virginia on the way home. I can't believe it, but the EX is far more comfortable for long days in the saddle than our BMW 750Li."
"It makes no difference how Infiniti markets the EX35," Floraday concluded. "It's comfortable, stylish, and surprisingly fun to drive."
Of course, Floraday was traveling with only one person and had packed light. Technical editor Don Sherman wasn't so fortunate. Though he was traveling only to South Haven, Michigan (about two and a half hours from Ann Arbor), he was carrying two passengers, a cooler, and loads of luggage in support of his son's high school cross-country training camp.
"The EX has less space than our much smaller Volkswagen Jetta TDI, which also made the trip," Sherman complained.
Sherman was the first among us to drive an EX in 2007, and at the time thought it might succeed in "walking the perilous line between sport and utility." Two years later, he finds his patience with the formula wearing thin.
"The EX attempts to straddle the sport sedan/crossover boundary, and it's just not viable. It's not convincing as an alternative to a G37 and it's too small to satisfy crossover fans with dog hauling as their reason for purchase."
2009 Infiniti EX35
Base price (with dest.): $37,117
Price as tested: $45,665
Body Style: 4-door SUV
Construction: Steel unibody
Engine: DOHC 24-valve V-6
Displacement: 3.5 liters
Power: 297 hp @ 6800 rpm
Torque: 253 lb-ft
Steering: power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.85
Turning Circle: 36 ft
Suspension, Front: Double-wishbone
Suspension, Rear: Multilink
Brakes F/R: Vented disc, ABS
Tires: Bridgestone Blizzak (summer tires!)
Tire Size: P225/55VR-18
Headroom F/R: 38.1 / 37.7 in
Legroom F/R: 44.3 / 38.6 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 58.3 / 57.9 in
Wheelbase: 110.2 in
Track F/R: 62.7 / 64.6 in
L x W x H: 182.3 x 71.0 x 62.6 in
Cargo Capacity: 18.6 cu ft
Weight: 3975 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 54.3 / 45.7 %
Fuel Capacity: 20 gal
Est. Range: 400 miles
Fuel Grade: 93 octane
Electronic stability control, traction control
-Technology Package (around view camera, lane departure prevention and warning, radar cruise control), $1950
-Premium Package (Bose audio; iPod interface; dual zone automatic climate control; heated front seats and mirrors; rear air conditioning vent; Bluetooth; memory seats, steering wheel, and outside mirrors; 8-way power driver's seat, 2-way power driver's lumbar, power steering column), $2150
-Luxe Style Package (18-inch wheels and all-season tires, Adaptive Xenon headlights), $1250
-Navigation Package (Navigation, voice interface, XM traffic, 9.3 GB music hard drive with compact flash slot, single in-dash CD, rearview camera), $2150
-Wood trim (maple wood trim on console/doors), $450