Thursday, February 2, 2012

Devon drives to Infiniti and beyond




File:Infiniti FX50 S (S51, Facelift) – Frontansicht, 28. April 2012, Düsseldorf.jpg

In your face styling, sports car handling and refinement that can go toe-to-toe with some of the prestige German rivals. The Infiniti FX is one of those 4x4s that really makes you wonder, what is it really made for? Let's find out. 

Likes: In your face styling, powerful range of engines, handles well with decent steering feedback. 

Dislikes: Ride comfort is too firm, interior is on the cramped side and the boot is small. Prices can sky rocket very quickly too. 

Performance: There's two engines offered for the FX. A 3.5-liter six-cylinder with 303hp and a 5-liter eight-cylinder with 390hp. Depending on the depths of your wallet, we'd recommend sticking with the all-wheel-drive six-cylinder engine. It's smooth, flexible and offers decent kit for the money. The eight-cylinder racks in a higher asking price that may seem a bit steep. 

Ride & Handling: The FX can't match the agility of an X5, but it corners really well. Showing good body control and quick steering. Ride comfort is on the firm side. You'll feel way to much surface at all speeds and some bumps sends jolts through out the cabin. 

Refinement: The engines are refined and smooth when traveling at city speeds, extend your foot down on the motorway and you'll be greeted with a lovely snarl from both engines. Wind noise isn't an issue, but with the massive tires you'll hear road noise. If you option for the 21 inch alloys, you'll hear suspension clatter too. 

Behind the wheel: The seats and steering wheel adjust electrically in all version, so you won't have any problem getting comfortable. The multimedia system takes a little getting used to. Visibility at both the front and rear isn't great. The slopping roofline causes blind spots for parking and pulling into merging on to motorways. 

Space & Practicality: The FX is a nicely sized 4x4, so you'd think the cabin would be nice and roomy? Think again! The FX is tight for both front and rear passengers, meaning adults won't be able to spread themselves out. The boot isn't as big as you'd expect, the rear seats fold flat to extend cargo. 

Equipment: The  FX comes well equipped for the money. Push button start, leather appointed interior, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview parking camera comes standard. Top of the range adds 21 inch alloy wheels, navigation system, heated and cooled leather seats and a quilted leather appointed steering wheel. 

Buying & Owning: Whichever FX you choose, both won't be cheap to buy. Running costs will be high thanks to low fuel economy. However, your investments will be protected thanks to strong resale value and residual value. 

Quality & reliability: Many materials feel posh and high class. Although it can't quite match the prestige of its German rivals. Many of Infiniti mechanical bits are built by Nissan. Which means the FX will be worry free in terms of build quality. 

Safety & Security: Stability control comes across the range to help keep you out of trouble. You'll have to step up to the mid-range and top of the range trim levels to get four-wheel-drive. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard as well as active head restraints. 

The FX offers great road handling and is one cracking car to drive on the motorway. It's quiet, smooth and offers decent pace no matter which engine you choose. However, the interior is cramped and the boot is small. The ride comfort is too firm and the larger alloys generates suspension clatter. If you can ignore a few of these downsides, the FX is a great alternate to the X5 and Volvo XC90.

Devon's Pick: FX37 strikes the perfect balance of performance and equipment. The all-wheel-drive helps aid in traction without sacraficing fuel economy too much. Plus its more affordable than the top of the range. 

Devon M 

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