2012 Infiniti FX35 Limited road test: Bold, brawny, powerful and fun to drive

2012 Infiniti FX35

2012 Infiniti FX35 Limited

Nip here, tuck there, add a bevy of new features and what have you got? Yes, it’s the refreshed 2012 Infiniti FX35, a luxury crossover that tilts the usual emphasis of a sport-utility vehicle from utility to sport.

Now in its ninth year, the Infiniti FX35 stakes its claim to market share on a bold and forceful design, the choice of a strong V-6 or V-8 engine, and road-holding prowess that flattens the curves more emphatically than most crossovers.

To inject some new life into the second generation of what the company calls its aggressive crossover, Infiniti has revised the grille and front fascia, upgraded instrument lighting and added standard heated front seats to all models.

In addition, it has added a Limited Edition, which, among other things, features giant 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dark tinted headlights with adaptive lighting and auto leveling, aluminum roof rails, aluminum pedals, upgraded navigation system and a unique system of cameras which gives the driver a 360-degree view of what is happening outside the vehicle.

2012 FX35 instrument panel

2012 FX35 instrument panel

More than a car but definitely not a truck, the 2012 Infiniti FX35 came across to me as a station wagon on steroids.

It has room for only five, two in front and three in the second row. However, the middle-seat occupant in the second row won’t be happy on more than a short sojourn unless it happens to be a small child.

The cargo compartment, accessed through the rear hatch, is rated at 24.8 cubic feet with the second-row seatback in place and 62 cubic feet with the 60/40 rear seatback folded forward.

Ground clearance is a middling 7.36 inches and towing capacity is a meager 2,000 pounds.

There is certainly nothing class leading in those crossover statistics, but then again the Infiniti FX35 obviously considers itself pretty much in a class by itself.

Yes, it has more than adequate accommodations for a typical family of four. And, with a choice of two-wheel or all-wheel drive, it can get most people anywhere they want to go.

But that is not what the 2012 Infiniti FX35 is all about.

It’s also about in-your-face styling, exhilarating power and a drivability that will leave many traditional sport-utility vehicles in the weeds (figuratively).

2012 FX35 rear seat

2012 FX35 rear seat

The Infiniti FX35 I sampled was an all-wheel-drive Limited Edition model powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 303 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.

Combined with a smooth shifting seven-speed automatic shifter, the engine can vault the 4,284-pound FX35 from a stop to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. But, despite the many gears in its new transmission, it won’t race past many gas stations.