- New 325 hp 3.7 L V6 engine makes for even snappier acceleration
- Handling is almost sports car quick
- Loads of available technology
- Unique exterior style still turns heads
- Good value compared to the competition
- Limited interior room, especially for a mid-size crossover
- 7-speed automatic transmission could be more responsive, needs paddle shifters
- At 19 mpg combined, she’s a bit thirsty at the pump
When the Infiniti FX was introduced in 2003, the luxury performance SUV was a novel, if somewhat strange idea. Although practically every brand now has some version of a sporty crossover, the Infiniti FX continues to offer unique styling and competitive performance.
Infiniti gave the FX an exterior makeover in 2012, including a revised front fascia that gives the FX a decidedly more aggressive appearance. For 2013, the powertrain gets a mild upgrade, in the form of a larger base V6 engine. The new 3.7-liter V6 makes 325 hp, 22 more than the previous 3.5-liter V6. Acceleration is brisk, especially when you get into the upper reaches of the rpm range, and the exhaust emits a nice snarl during those final few thousand revs. For folks looking for even more power, the FX50 and its 392 hp V8 is also still available.
Bolted to the engine is a 7-speed automatic transmission, which does a decent job of keeping the engine happy. Although shifting is smooth, it could be a bit more responsive, especially given how much the engine likes to rev. There is a manual mode so that you can control the shifting yourself, but the absence of paddle shifters makes this more of chore than a pleasure.
Luckily the FX37 allows you to carry quite a bit of speed through the turns. The suspension stays remarkably flat and the optional 20-inch wheels and tires fitted to our test car provided plenty of stick. The whole process feels a bit disconcerting, though, as the FX sits fairly high off the ground. It definitely takes some courage to push the car anywhere close to the limits.
The FX37 continues the Infiniti tradition of providing a well-designed interior and all of the latest technology. The Around View® Monitor makes for very easy parking, as it literally gives you a bird’s eye view of the car. A new enhancement for 2013 is Moving Object Detection (MOD) to the Around View Monitor system (standard on FX50, optional on FX37). When starting off or backing up, it detects moving objects crossing within the front or rear views by using a sophisticated image processing technology. It’s like having someone stand outside your car and warning you of cross-traffic from pedestrians or passing cars in the parking lot.
Equally useful is the Adaptive Front lighting System, which swivels the headlights as you round a corner at night, and the Adaptive Cruise Control is also a must have feature for anyone with a long commute.
Although interior room is on the small size, given the overall size of the car, the FX37 proved more practical than its sleek shape suggests. With the rear seats folded down, you can even throw a bicycle in the back, although you might have to remove a wheel or two. Still, anyone looking for real cargo capacity would be better off with a more traditional SUV or wagon.
Unfortunately, one habit the FX37 shares with most larger SUVs is frequent visits to the gas station. After several hundred miles of mixed driving, our recorded fuel economy matched the EPA rating of our RWD test car with a 19 mpg combined rating, and we had to fill the tank with premium unleaded.
The 2013 FX37 starts at $44,850 for the RWD model, with AWD costing $46,300. An exclusive Limited Edition, with unique wheels and paint, runs $53,300, and the FX50 starts at $61,400. Although this probably sounds a bit steep, it actually undercuts the competition by a substantial amount. A similarly equipped BMW X6 will cost you close to $15,000 more.
A high performance SUV like the FX37 might sound like an oxymoron to some, but to others the FX37 will be the perfect do-everything vehicle. Commute to work in the morning, haul groceries in the afternoon, and go canyon carving on the weekend. And you’ll be riding in style and comfort the whole time.
What others are saying about the FX37
Editors from The Truth About Cars have mixed feelings about the FX’s exterior styling. Michael Karesh is less than smitten by the FX’s bulging proportions and large grille. Alex Dykes has shifted his opinion and feels that the signature gaping –maw grille and fender bulges present a unique style in a crowded segment filled with repetitiveness.
Larry Nutson, from The Auto Channel, really loved the Around View Monitor and its new MOD feature. “To have a full view of what is around the FX37 really helps to provide a high level of confidence when maneuvering and helps prevent minor fender benders or close-calls with a nearby pedestrian.”
We don’t agree with Autobytel’s opinion that the FX has good functionality based upon the SUV’s cargo space and rear seat legroom. The rear cargo area barely fits a pair of golf bags and rear seat legroom is good only for small kids and Japanese auto executives. Watch Autobytel’s video review of the FX50 and you can see at 1:40 the host, who is 6’ 1”, has to squeeze into the back seat and looks uncomfortable.
The Fast Lane Car, Nathan Adler found three unexpected surprises in his review of the FX37. Tires and wheels are not really performance oriented, and they are really expensive. Cupholders are poorly designed and not wide enough to hold a bottle. Lastly, he was impressed with Infiniti’s Around View Monitor with its 360 degree bird’s eye view from the external cameras.