Back in 2003, the majority of new car buyers had decided they needed a vehicle with a high seating position, four-wheel drive, and as much steel around them as they could get, to make the drive down to the video store to rent a movie. (Yeah, you actually had to leave home back then to get a movie to watch.) One comedian incisively quipped; “What is it about having a kid makes people feel they need to go out and buy a two-ton, four-wheel drive urban assault vehicle—with four feet of ground clearance—just to drive the little sucker to soccer practice?”
Whatever it was, it took hold in an major way and nearly every auto company rushed to put their version of the SUV into production. While most were based them on large truck platforms, Nissan took a different approach with the Infiniti FX. The company put it on the sports car platform it had developed for the Nissan 350Z and Infiniti G35.
This platform’s front/mid-engine configuration placed the powerplant behind the centerline of the front wheels, tucked in closer to the middle of the vehicle. By concentrating the majority of the weight inside the vehicle’s wheelbase, Nissan significantly reduced the FX35’s resistance to changes of direction, enabling it to turn more readily and endowing it with outstanding handling characteristics.
Thus, the Infiniti FX35 became one of the first of a new breed of SUV, one more like a grand touring machine than a family hauler. In other words, the Infiniti FX35 fulfilled the promise of the word “sport” in the phrase “sport utility vehicle”.
There have been two generations of the FX35 produced since its 2003 introduction.