Small crossover walks the line between sedan and SUV.
What’s New: With 2008 marking its debut year, the Infiniti EX35 is as new as new gets. It arrives in Base and Journey trims priced from about $36,000, can be had in front- or all-wheel-drive guise with a 297-horsepower V-6 engine, and boasts technology such as a lane departure warning system, a new Around View Monitor, real-time traffic information, and much more.
What We Think: On paper, the EX35 makes sense as a smaller yet equally powerful stablemate to the FX35. It offers an attractive design, class-leading technology, and high-quality materials, but that’s offset by performance and handling that left us wanting.
Infiniti EX35 – 2008 Review: We’ve all heard the story about a famous blonde and three ursine creatures. The young woman, who we’ll call Goldilocks, came upon a house owned by the Three Bears, found nobody home and invited herself in. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but she knew what she liked. Take for instance the Bears’ breakfast. Of three bowls of porridge, she only found one bowl that was neither too hot nor too cold. That vessel of cereal, she decreed, was just right. Then Goldilocks checked out the Bears’ furnishings. She had the same dilemma with the rocking chairs and the beds. She wasn’t sure which she would like until she tried them all.
2008 Infiniti EX35 front side">
Car buyers often face the same dilemma: They’re not sure what they want until they test-drive a few vehicles to see which one is “just right.” A buyer might want something with some utility, but doesn’t want to own one of the midsize or larger SUVs or crossovers. Something that drives and rides like a sporty sedan might be nice, but kind of boring to look at. The market is pretty segmented as it is, with the crossover label being applied to more new vehicles. Sizing of these car-based SUVs runs from large seven passenger models down to vehicles that strongly resemble what used to be called a station wagon. Even within the crossover category, buyers have a lot to consider before finding “just right.”
Infiniti is keen to have its new smaller crossover, the EX35, slot into that “just right” category in buyers’ minds. The idea is a vehicle with enough utility that’s not too big. While that’s pretty much the definition of a small crossover, Infiniti wants to be more right than its competition. So the EX35 is a little smaller than a BMW X3 and a little bigger than a 3 Series or G sedan. For those buyers who want utility mixed with sedan comfort and sporty performance, Infiniti’s EX35 could be just the right fit. It’s quick, nimble, attractive and offers luxury mixed with modern technology.
The EX35 shares important underpinnings with several Infiniti and Nissan vehicles, including the FX35, M sedan, G sedan and coupe, and the 350Z. All those models share the same well-regarded rear-drive chassis. The 3.5 liter V-6 engine is also used in G35, FX and Z. It’s a proven package, and Infiniti makes good use of it in the EX.
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The Basics: Model Mix
The 2008 Infiniti EX35 comes in Base and Journey models, either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. All models are powered by a 3.5 liter V-6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. A Base EX35 includes stability and traction control, 17-inch alloy wheels, driver’s side puddle lamps, power folding mirrors, auto on-off headlights, seven-inch vehicle information display, trip computer and automatic climate control. The Journey model adds a power folding rear seat and a power tilt-slide sunroof. It also adds the ability to buy the option packages, and Infiniti offers three major groups.
First up is the Premium Package, which includes an upgraded audio system, iPod integration, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and outside mirrors, Bluetooth, memory system for driver’s seat, heated steering wheel and side mirrors and eight-way passenger seat. The Navigation Package adds touch-screen, hard-drive based map system, compact flash slot, rearview monitor, 9.3 gigabyte music box hard drive for MP3 storage and voice recognition for climate, audio and navigation control. Infiniti offers a Technology Package for the EX that features the Around View Monitor system, Lane Departure Prevention and warning systems and Intelligent Cruise Control. There are also a couple of smaller packages: the Luxe Elite, which adds upgraded leather accents, driver’s seat-mounted coat hanger, 18-inch wheels and tires, bi-Xenon auto-leveling front headlights and adaptive front lighting system; there’s a Luxe Style package, which is the same as the elite, minus the upgraded leather and coat hanger; a wood trim package adds maple to the center console and doors; and aluminum roof rails.
Buyers interested in the ’08 Infiniti EX35 are looking at $36,265 for the Base and $37,665 for the Journey. Prices include an $815 destination charge. Options pricing is as follows: Premium Package ($2,150); maple wood trim ($450); Luxe Style Package ($1,250); Luxe Elite Package ($1,650); Navigation Package ($2,150); Technology Package ($1,950); and roof rails ($200).