2003 Infiniti FX35

Eddie Alterman
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For all our preaching about the greatness of Infiniti's G35 sedan and coupe, the sleeper hit of 2003 might in fact be the brand's FX utility vehicle. If an SUV's popularity exists in direct proportion to the force of its visual impact, then the FX is this year's Hummer H2. As Mel Brooks famously said of Red Delicious apples, the FX is "fraught with shoulders." It has a menacing grille and a body that is hulking and leonine. Plus, the FX45 has those monstrous twenty-inch wheels that give it the air of a vehicle that rolled off its Tokyo Motor Show stand and onto the road. Those wheels are a huge part of its visual efficacy, but they are also to blame for the FX45's punishing ride, which is why we favor the smaller-wheeled FX35. Working with meager eighteen-inchers, the FX35 sets the stiff-legged FX45 right again, allowing you to enjoy its sharp steering response and magnificent brakes while still retaining your lunch. In many ways, the FX is a more successful luxury unit than Infiniti's Q45, and the smaller-engined FX35 may be Infiniti's ultimate upscale offering. True, you give up the FX45's V-8-with its 315-horsepower well of smooth, unyielding power-but the 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 on which Nissan and Infiniti have built their comeback is no slouch. You also give up a few style points, but we men will choose comfort over vanity every time. Think about it: Why else would we wear Dockers?

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