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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Infiniti FX45 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Infiniti FX45 Overview

Uncommonly Good

The SUV presents a bit of a dilemma for designers. Its two-box configurations (engine and passenger compartment) and generally upright posture somewhat limit the stylists ability to play with the exterior sheetmetal. Too often, SUVs are only distinguishable from one another by looking at their front and rear ends. But there is one SUV on the road that stands alone, completely unique in both its styling and its road-hugging ability: the Infiniti FX45.

The standard drive layout on the FX45 runs power to the rear wheels, but you can opt for a permanently-engaged all-wheel-drive system that splits the engine's torque output between the front and rear wheels as needed. This system works without you even knowing by sensing wheel slip and redirecting power from the rear wheels to the front. There is even a lock-out switch that allows you to "lock" the torque split into a permanent 50/50 configuration; this is most useful when moving slowly through deep snow or in situations that require maximum traction.

The FX45 shares its basic platform with one of Infiniti's most aggressive performance sedans, the G35. This platform creates a nearly perfect front-to-rear weight ratio that allows the fully-independent suspension to work its magic. Take a turn in the FX45 and you'll feel the kind of road-hugging grip you'd normally associate with a small sports car. There is no towering lean, no feel of inevitable capsizing, just a real connection between the road, the vehicle and the driver. In the FX45, that connection is cemented by an enormous set of 20-inch wheels and tires; while their grip is not in question, you may find that the firm ride these round rubber giants inflict is somewhat unsettling. If you find the FX45's ride too harsh for your taste, you can ask your dealer to replace the wheels with a smaller 18-inch set from the FX35 which will greatly improve the ride without diminishing the FX45's good looks or strong handling.

Once under way, you'll find that the FX45's steering is tight and linear, responding instantly to the driver's input while the sophisticated suspension keeps the FX45 level in all but the most extreme cornering maneuvers. We can tell you that the steering wheel can feel a bit heavy due to the large tires, and that tight turning circles are not what the FX45 does best; again, blame those big tires. And though its no Rubicon rider, the FX45 does have sufficient ground clearance to allow it easy passage in deep snow and mud.

One area you won't find any complaints with is in the FX45 engine compartment. Power is more than generous thanks to a magnificently smooth 4.5-liter V8 engine. With over 300 horsepower, this engine provides such lightening-quick acceleration, you'll think you need Velcro on your hands to keep hold of the wheel. You'll discover that the FX45's excellent automatic transmission is right in step with the performance aspirations of the vehicle, never leaving you with the feeling its lagging in transmission limbo trying to figure out what gear to choose.

A look inside the FX45 reveals that Infiniti did not have to make trade offs in the development of its new crossover SUV. The interior is beautifully designed, with large comfortable seating and a wide center console covered in faux-brushed silver trim. For 2004, Infiniti has added an 8-way power passenger seat as standard equipment.

The FX45s dash is elegant and clean in its design and houses an optional navigation screen and Bose audio system; the electrically-adjustable tilt and telescopic steering wheel also house controls for the audio and cruise control. Interior colors range from the always-tasteful black to a lovely two-tone saddle and espresso combination. Options are as numerous—as are the standard features—and include a DVD-based entertainment system, rear-view monitor camera and intelligent cruise control. The system keeps a constant distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. As for sounds, theres an 11-speaker Bose CD system with a portable subwoofer that rests inside the rim of the spare tire.

You'll find comfort for both front and rear seat passengers to be exceptionally good. Cargo volume is only average for this class unless you fold down the rear seats—a feat made simple by the convenient release handles placed at the rear of the vehicle—in which case you end up with a pretty roomy carrying case. Safety is at the forefront of the FX45's more pertinent attributes with standard front-side impact airbags and a front and rear head side airbag curtain.

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