2008 Infiniti EX35 AWD Journey - Four Seasons Fleet Update - May 2009

Miles to date: 16,588 MilesMonths in Fleet: Five

Our Infiniti is now in the custody of our New York contributors, senior editor Joe Lorio and bureau chief Jamie Kitman. It didn't get there by itself though, as your humble writer schlepped it all the way out there, stopping in Massachusetts for a college graduation. As is so often the case, the long drive brought the car's strengths and weaknesses into focus.

The EX's Achilles heel showed itself the moment I loaded in my suitcase, and saw half the usable storage area disappear. Many editors have complained that the sloping roof and meager rear compartment offer little of the utility promised by the hatchback profile. My traveling companion and I managed to fill most of the rear hold with two suitcases and a cooler. Clearly, this is not a crossover meant for taking the kids to Disney World.

Not that the EX is a bad companion on a long drive. In twelve hours of highway cruising, the cabin proved comfortable and luxurious. Infiniti's user interface and iPod integration remain among of the best in the business, though the competition, particularly BMW's iDrive, has gained considerable ground. The radar cruise control, another common source of complaints going back to the days of our departed Four-Season G37 coupe, performed flawlessly on this trip, likely because there was no snow or rain to confuse it. And, of course, it's fun-to-drive. I say "of course," because Nissan/Infiniti has yet to produce anything on its "front-midship" platform with less-than-impressive driving dynamics. This became even clearer as I met with family in Western Massachusetts and followed them back toward Boston via winding surface streets. The EX, loaded at that point with people and cargo, traversed the densely wooded, kinking route with the nonchalance befitting a tall-ish G35 sedan.

The EX seems most at home though, when the streets become cluttered with stoplights, cars, and pedestrians. Through Boston and then the New York suburbs, the EX proved that its deceptively small dimensions can come in handy. It also helps to have a suite of back-up cameras worthy of the starship Enterprise.

We'll see next month if those attributes are enough to please Kitman and Lorio.

2009 Infiniti EX35

Base price (with dest. ): $37,117Price as tested: $45,665

Overview

Body Style: 4-door SUVAccommodation: 5-passengerConstruction: Steel unibody

Powertrain

Engine: DOHC 24-valve V-6Displacement: 3.5 litersPower: 297 hp @ 6800 rpmTorque: 253 lb-ft Steering: power-assisted rack-and-pinionTurns lock-to-lock: 2.85Turning Circle: 36 ftSuspension, Front: Double-wishboneSuspension, Rear: MultilinkBrakes F/R: Vented disc, ABSWheels: 18-inTires: Bridgestone Blizzak (summer tires!) Tire Size: P225/55VR-18

Measurements

Headroom F/R: 38.1 / 37.7 inLegroom F/R: 44.3 / 38.6 inShoulder Room F/R: 58.3 / 57.9 inWheelbase: 110.2 inTrack F/R: 62.7 / 64.6 inL x W x H: 182.3 x 71.0 x 62.6 inCargo Capacity: 18.6 cu ftWeight: 3975 lbWeight Dist. F/R: 54.3 / 45.7 %Fuel Capacity: 20 galEst. Range: 400 milesFuel Grade: 93 octane

Standard Equipment

ABSElectronic stability control, traction controlBluetoothMP3 inputLeather!

Options

-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

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