The Infiniti EX35 is a crossover SUV, smaller than the Infiniti FX. It strikes a balance between sportiness and luxury. It feels more carlike than other crossovers and SUVs, but it isn't as driver-oriented as BMW's X3 and other crossovers.
Inside there is room for five, but it's much more comfortable with four. The cabin boasts rich, soft-touch materials and a stylish design. All of the controls are within easy reach.
The EX35 is brimming with technology. For example, the Around View Monitor shows obstacles 360 degrees around the vehicle, there's a hard drive available with 9.3 gigabytes of storage space for music files. The Lane Departure Prevention system lightly applies the brakes on one side to steer the vehicle back into its lane should it start crossing lane lines.
Room up front is good, but taller drivers will want more head room, especially if they opt for the up-level Journey model with its standard sunroof. The back seat offers decent room, but things get a bit tight with the front seats all the way back. Both rows are easy to enter and exit, thanks to the EX35's ride height, which is higher than a sedan, but not as high as most SUVs.
Cargo room is plentiful thanks to the hatchback design, though many SUVs offer more space. An power-folding second row eases the process of loading items in the back, and they can be brought back up from the driver's seat, handy when pulling up to the curb to pick up passengers.
Under the hood is Nissan's superb 3.5-liter V6. It makes 297 horsepower and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that has a manual shiftgate but no paddle shifters. We were pleased by the EX35's ready power. It accelerates from a standstill quickly and offers strong passing response at highway speeds. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 16/23 mpg city/highway.
We found the EX35 drives like a sports sedan with a slightly elevated ride height. The EX35 comes with a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The AWD is meant for on-road use and is very beneficial in foul weather. We found the handling responsive, and the brakes and steering feel natural and inspire confidence. The EX35 rides more smoothly the larger FX, and it isn't as firm as the BMW X3. Even with the available 18-inch wheels, the EX35 smoothes out the bumps without jolting passengers.
With its carlike handling, powerful engine, and useful cargo room, the Infiniti EX35 is a fine alternative to larger, more cumbersome SUVs. The smooth ride and rich, classy interior add to the appeal. If you want a sporty, comfortable vehicle that drives like a car but has the cargo room of a wagon or SUV, make sure to put the EX35 on your shopping list.
The Infiniti EX35 was launched as an all-new vehicle for 2008. For 2010, the headlights have been subtly reshaped and there have been changes to features and option packaging.