Car for the Job: 2013 Infiniti FX37

Sport Utility Vehicle -- despite all the criticism from the rest of the world is this still arguably the most important vehicle type in America.  As my tour of the West Coast was coming to an end I needed extra space to haul my suitcases for my return flight. I went down to Hertz LAX to replace the Camaro with something more appropriate for the job and to find out what the fuss was all about, and after all, I figured I might as well do it in style.

And my wish came true, for whooping $75 per day extra I was rewarded with what could possibly be the best mid size SUV on the market: 2013 Infiniti FX37.

The looks of this car are absolutely stunning. It looks very modern, sporty, and elegant.

The designers have achieved a perfect balance between straight lines and curved panels and created perfect proportions that are a pleasure to look at from every angle.


There was a lot of attention to details all around.  From the hot air vents on the side, to LED rear lights, to very sexy dual exhaust which made its way straight from the Infiniti G.

Driving the FX37 was equally pleasant. Having owned a Nissan Skyline Coupe (JDM version of the G37) in the past I instantly recognized the engine noise with pleasant exhaust note as well as incredible handling dynamics.

The FX37 comes with the same magnificent high revving 3.7 V6 as the G37, M37 and the 370z. The ratings are 326HP @7000 and 365 N·m @5200; with 90% of the torque available at 1500RPM and red line at 7500 this car is enormously fun to drive.

On freeways it is silky smooth, but incredibly stable, and when you put your foot down a very satisfying growl comes from very deep creates a sensational sense of acceleration; but when you look at the speedometer, you realize it's not just sense.  This car is indeed very very fast.

Extra bonus is that you can go very fast in exceptional comfort.  Step inside and you are comforted by sporty side bolstering leather seats and surrounded by very well designed interior components.


Steering wheel is electronically adjustable and is just the right size, wrapped in soft leather it is very peasant to touch.  Cruise control and audio buttons are very well positioned and are easily reachable by thumbs.




 
Center 8 inch touch screen high definition LCD is positioned close to instrument panel, ensuring that your eyes are not taken off the road for too long.  All controls are close by and understandable.  The only issue was that slightly more important "Map" and "Camera" buttons were mixed among other controls and were bit hard to find.  That, I think is something that anyone can easily to get used to.  As with other premium Nissan and Infiniti models central dial key is very intuitive and easy to use.

Overal the Infiniti FX is a very pleasant place to be in. Despite the fact that the interior features haven't changed much since the model release in 2008 it still feels modern and classy.


Overall the designers and engineers have created a true flagship SUV. Despite the stiff competition in this segment from virtually all major manufactures, few have succeeded in creating a machine that could stand out and make driving experience as pleasurable as the FX.

But of course it is not perfect; I personally did not fancy a very light steering and over-responsive brakes, which were implemented to make the vehicle more appealing to a larger customer base. 


Perhaps the sport package improves things slightly as it gets paddle shifters, sports suspension, and rear steering, but it's only available with the 5.0 V8 models starting at whooping $61500.

But even a bigger problem with this car is that despite the fact that the car is assembled in Japan's Tochigi plant, just North of Tokyo, it's not sold there, and I don't understand why.  The only high grade Japanese SUV on sale locally is the Lexus RX, but unlike the FX it doesn't have much to appeal to car enthusiasts.

Japanese used car web sites are flooded with imported Infiniti FX's from the US, but driving a left hand drive overpriced Nissan with no warranty and no local state of the art Nissan HDD navigation system, may be not everyone’s cup of tea. 
 
But despite questionable marketing strategies we still have a fascinating mid size SUV that impresses in terms of performance, comfort and practicality.  Please Nissan, have it on sale in Japan! I want one!


Cost of ownership:
2/5
The 3.7L V6 is far from efficient, combined with heavy body and optional all wheel drive system; this car will consume a lot of premium gas.  High pressure engine will require frequent oil changes and while stock tires are probably on the cheaper side an enthusiast will be eager to swap them for something more exciting...


Practicality:
5/5
There is a lot of room in the back and interior is very roomy, comfortable and ergonomic.  All SUV's are practical, but this one is also fun.

Appeal:
5/5
Infiniti FX is possible best looking SUV on the market.  Sporty design characteristics such as dual large diameter exhaust, hot air vents, and aggressive stance give away vehicle's exceptional performance characteristics.  It is as impressive to be just looking at the vehicle as be driving one.

Fun factor:
4/5
High revving engine  with great response and lots of torque across entire range, as well as good balance and incredible handling should keep the owners  happy, but a bit of a light steering, lack of paddle shifters and overly responsive brakes may make owners ask for more.  That said FX50 with sport package should be much more exciting.


This car should also have lots of tuning and customization potential, which I even saw at Tokyo Auto Salon.

Thank you for reading everyone, more California special is coming soon.
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