A crossover vehicle, as one automaker so aptly explains it, is the “rolling embodiment of compromise,” since buyers generally sacrifice style and performance in the name of do-it-all practicality. One possible exception to this rule is the 2013 Infiniti FX, which continues the brand’s tradition of above-average performance blended with a unique take on both style and luxury.
That’s not to say that there’s no compromise inherent with buying an Infiniti FX, since the trade-off for its coupe-like styling and entertaining driving dynamic is modest cargo space and sub-optimal rear seat room. Those coming from a Nissan 370Z will find it far easier to justify than those stepping up from, say, a Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
The FX’s shape can be polarizing, too, but we give Infiniti (and parent Nissan) credit for going its own direction here. We like the muscular front fenders and the plunging roofline (which explains the lack of rear-seat headroom and compromised cargo space), though some of the exterior styling flourishes (lighting, for example) seem a bit over-done to us. Inside, we’re also fond of the Infiniti’s contemporary spin on luxury, which (thankfully) omits acres of garish chrome and excessive wood trim.
Under-hood, buyers get a choice of a V-6 or V-8 engines, and the growth of the V-6 from 3.5 liters (in last year’s FX) to 3.7 liters (in the current FX) is the only big news for 2013. Opt for this engine and you’ll get an output of 328 horsepower, which is good enough to get the luxury crossover from 0-60 mph in under 6.5 seconds, courtesy of a seven-speed automatic gearbox. Rear-drive is standard, while a performance-oriented all-wheel drive system is an available option on V-6 models (but comes standard on the V-8). Fuel economy isn’t the FX’s forte, with the rear-drive V-6 returning 20 mpg combined (25 highway, 17 city) and the all-wheel drive V-6 delivering 18 mpg combined (22 highway, 16 city).
If you’re more concerned with power than fuel economy, opting for the 5.0-liter V-8 will get you 390 horsepower, delivered through the same seven-speed gearbox as used on V-6 model, but sent only to all four wheels. Acceleration is impressive, with the run from 0-60 taking just 5.5 seconds, but the obvious trade-off is decreased fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2013 Infiniti FX50 at just 16 mpg combined (20 mpg highway, 14 mpg city).
Regardless of your engine choice, the FX’s handling prowess will likely surprise you. It may serve up crossover amenities, but it drives suspiciously like a sport sedan, and we’re particularly fond of the FX’s steering feel. Its ride can feel too firm to those accustomed to plusher transportation, but that’s the price to pay for improved handling.
Like an airliner, the Infiniti FX reserves its first class section for those up front. Few will complain about front-seat head and leg room, which is more than sufficient, but the same can’t be said for the rear seat. Thanks to the FX’s lines, form wins out over function, which means that rear-seat head room isn’t on par with others in the class. The same is true about the FX’s cargo-hauling capacity, which is impacted by the sloping roof and the high cargo floor.
While the standard equipment list is lengthy for both the FX37 and FX50, so is the list of optional accessories. Navigation is standard on FX50 models, but part of the Premium Package on FX 37 models. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, but 20-inch rims are included with the Deluxe Touring Package, which also requires the purchase of the Premium Package. If you want the ultimate in safety, you’ll need to step up to the Technology Package, which includes things like adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning system.
For a complete review of the 2013 Infiniti FX, see our comprehensive evaluation on The Car Connection