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  • 2013 Infiniti FX37

    Posted on November 5th, 2012 ninarussin

    Five-passenger crossover gets power enhancement

    By Nina Russin

    2013 Infiniti FX

    Infiniti’s rear-wheel drive crossover has gained some extra muscle, thanks to a new 3.7-liter engine which replaces the former 3.6-liter block. The 327-horsepower engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with sport mode. Fuel economy averages 19 miles-per-gallon: about three miles-per-gallon more than the V-8 all-wheel drive model.

    The 2013 FX also gains moving object detection as part of the around-view monitoring system. The around-view system uses four wide-angle cameras mounted on the front, rear and sides of the vehicle to project a bird’s-eye view when the driver shifts into reverse. An audible chime makes it easier for the driver to notice cross traffic passing in back of the vehicle, or a child below the driver’s sight-line.

    Base price is $44,300, excluding the $950 delivery charge.

    The test car comes with three option packages: technology, which adds intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning and adaptive front lighting ($2950); touring, including 20-inch rims, quilted leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, maple interior trim and aluminum pedals ($3300); and a premium package which adds hard drive navigation with real-time weather and traffic updates, an eight-inch touchscreen, the around-view monitor, streaming Bluetooth audio, tilt-and-telescoping steering column and aluminum roof rails ($4300). Final MSRP is $55,800.

    Making practical fun

    2013 Infiniti FX

    The idea behind the FX series is to give drivers who would prefer owning a two-seat sports car to a crossover a little bit of that driving experience. Although the FX isn’t as much fun to toss around in the corners as a GX coupe, it comes a lot closer than most of its competitors. The new engine provides ample horsepower and torque for anyone who doesn’t need the bigger engine for towing.

    Engineers used aluminum when possible in the chassis to contain curb weight. The V-6 model has a distinct weight advantage over the all-wheel drive V-8: the difference is close to 350 pounds. In addition to saving gasoline, the weight reduction brings performance from the V-6 engine closer to that of the larger block. Front-to-rear weight balance is also slightly better.

    I spent the past week behind the wheel of the rear-wheel drive FX37 in Phoenix, driving it around the east valley as well as a stretch of two-lane rural road outside of town. The FX proved a very easy and pleasurable car to live with. It’s lively without being a gas guzzler, spacious, versatile and safe.

    The sport mode quickens throttle response for more aggressive performance. Even in standard drive mode, the FX has plenty of low-end power for accelerating off the line, and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging off entrance ramps.

    2013 Infiniti FX

    The variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering system provides more assist at low speeds while maintaining a heavier feel on the highway. On center response was a little soft, but I felt completely comfortable doing a quick lane change in order to pass a slower vehicle. The car’s 36.7-foot turning circle makes it possible to perform U-turns on wider suburban roads.

    Large side mirrors do a good job of compensating for blind spots created by the car’s large rear pillars. The optional around-view monitor is something I would highly recommend for those considering the car. It makes the FX as easy to park as a much smaller passenger car, and the moving obstacle detection is a valuable safety feature.

    Optional adaptive headlamps swivel the headlamps according to steering inputs. I have noticed that the system does a much better job than conventional headlamps of lighting the corners of intersections where pedestrians might be waiting to cross.

    The suspension consists of a double wishbone setup in front and multi-links in the back with stabilizer bars on both axles. The suspension in combination with the larger wheels keeps the chassis pancake flat in the corners. Under normal driving conditions, it would be very difficult to break the back end loose.

    Lane departure warning emits an audible chime when the driver veers outside of the lane lines without signaling. It’s a good idea, but can be very annoying when exiting on a ramp on which the lines don’t follow a logical trajectory. I also got tired of listening to the chime every time I moved to the far right to smooth out the turn on a late-apex cloverleaf ramp.

    Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes stop the FX in a firm, linear fashion.

    Upscale interior

    2013 Infiniti FX Interior

    Standard keyless entry and start enables the driver to enter, exit and relock the car using a button on the door handle. Push-button start fires the ignition. Not only does this save the driver the inconvenience of fumbling for his keys; it adds a measure of safety for those returning to their vehicles at night in urban areas.

    Inside, the FX carries up to five passengers in style. I found the driver’s seat comfortable, with ample lower lumbar support on my two-hour test drive. It got cool enough in the morning to test out the heated seats. In addition to warming up passengers, they’re great therapy for sore lower backs.

    Infiniti does an excellent job of putting comfort and convenience controls at the driver’s fingertips by using rotary controls on the steering wheel. I found the climate and audio functions easy to reach and intuitive to operate. The touchscreen for the navigation, rearview camera and information is deeply recessed so that it doesn’t fade out in bright sunlight. Graphics on the navigation screen are bright and easy to follow.

    Dual-zone climate controls keep front seat passengers comfortable in temperature extremes. The standard sunroof brightened up the interior of the test car, which came with black upholstery.

    With the rear seats in place, the FX has plenty of room for groceries, golf bags, luggage and some small camping equipment. A power liftgate makes it easier to load up the back with large cargo.

    Folding the second-row seats flat makes the FX bicycle friendly. Roof rails hold up to 100 pounds, so they can easily accommodate a bicycle rack up top.

    Standard safety

    The Infiniti FX comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction and vehicle dynamic control, and tire pressure monitoring. Infiniti’s four-year/60,000 mile factory warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance and complimentary loaner cars during service.

    The 2013 Infiniti FX 37 is rolling into dealerships nationwide.

    Like: A five-passenger crossover which incorporates Infiniti’s sports cars performance, with a more powerful V-6 engine, seven-speed automatic transmission with rev matching, sport-tuned suspension and powerful brakes.

    Dislike: On-center response from the variable-assist rack-and-pinion system is somewhat soft.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Infiniti
    Model: FX37
    Year: 2013
    Base price: $44,300
    As tested: $55,800
    Horsepower: 325 Hp @ 7000 rpm
    Torque: 267 lbs.-ft. @ 5200 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No*
    Fuel economy: 17/24 mpg city/highway**
    Comments: *The FX50 with the V-8 engine meets our ALV minimum towing standard. ** The manufacturer requires the use of premium unleaded gasoline.

     

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