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Refined and sporty luxury crossover SUV
Pros: Around-view monitor
Cons: Road noiseAs the institutional reviews note, this car is powerful, sleek, refined, technologically competitive, and a reasonable price within its segment. But what sold me on this car, surprisingly, was the around-view monitor. It makes parking in any direction very easy, whether pulling forward, around a tight corner, backwards, or parallel. The simulated view displays a camera angle from ABOVE your vehicle, so you can see exactly where your tires line up with the painted lines or curb, and how close your bumpers are to obstacles. Even with that clear imagine, the car warns you if it thinks you're about to hit anything while parking. As for any problems, one important note is that you need to have your dealership apply the software patch in Service Campaign Bulletin ITB10-031 (from July 9, 2010) before the glitchy nav system and tenuous iPod/iPhone integration actually works properly. Regarding performance, this car is far too noisy on the highway at 60mph+ speeds, and you really feel the larger bumps and dips in California freeways at 65mph+ (and that's with the non-Sport Package model...don't even bother with the FX50S if you want an even remotely comfortable ride while driving.) Also, adjusting side mirrors is difficult because the buttons are completely out of reach when sitting back against your seat...D'oh! But overall this vehicle has really hit the mark. Now if only the FX50 had the interior stylings of the M56...! (NOTE: exterior color Malbec Black and an automatic liftgate are available on the 2011 model, but not on the 2010 or earlier.)