2006 Infiniti FX35
Trim Level: Premium
EPA Vehicle Class: Specialty-Purpose Vehicle / SUV-4WD
Engine: DOHC 3.5L, V-6 rated at 280 Horsepower / 270 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic with Auto-Stick and Variable RWD/AWD/4WD-
Mode and Torque Converter
EPA Mileage Estimates (City/Highway/Combined Cycle): 20/25/22
Test Loop: 75% City, 25% Highway
Max Cruise Speed = 60 mph
Weather Conditions over 3-days: Heavy Rain/Sleet, rain, and cold. Temp range: 28-40F
Driving Style: Average
Location Test: Urban Indianapolis
Vehicle Calculated Average MPG = 19.9 (Pre-ScanGuage)
Conclusion: Fairly close to EPA estimates, but should be higher
Editor's Notes: Finding one of these on Rental Row for no up-charge is rare, so I had to bite. Being the "Ivy League" brother to the Nissan Murano, the FX is designed to appeal to Luxo-Crossover segment. When released, Nissan called it the "Pouncing Tiger" design. The looks are certainly up to the viewer, but I've always joked that looked like a big shoe. The 18-inch wheels made the vehicle look even more aggressive, handle well, but sacrificed economy. Any ill-feelings about the vehicle melted away once you took your place behind the wheel. Opening the driver's door moved the seat back and the entire steering wheel and instrument cluster upward for ease of entry. Close the door, and you're back to your pre-set location. Heated seats, HID headlamps, leather, and the "100-way" adjustable driver's seat made for a comfy space. That was until you started moving.
Soon you realized that the center stack was cut-and-pasted from the Maxima, with small, hard to manage buttons. A trip computer and all kinds of features were buried in the big orange screen. Luckily, calculated MPG was available with one button push. The ride was pretty harsh for a luxury vehicle, and handling didn't seem to improve for the sacrifice -- although skidpad-type cornering yielded some decent grip -- once you started on uneven surfaces or off-camber road angles, the top-heaviness and mass pushed the vehicle into "loss of grip" and the Stability Control took over.
The engine is the renowned VQ DOHC 3.5L V-6 that powers much of the Nissan lineup (350Z, Maxima, Murano/FX, G35). The FX has a tuned dual exhaust that sounded great in parking garages, but you know you're sucking down the gas at this expense.
Some blind spots were noted in maneuvering around. Furthermore, usable space was sacrificed by squeezing the passenger compartment into this "shoe" with little space between the roof and floor. As standard on many SUV-like vehicles these days, stability-control was standard (but could be switched-off for some limited-traction fun, especially with this kind of torque). But in the wet or mushy stuff, the stability control took over and prevented the pretend emminent disaster.
Well, the black-tie affair was over, and it was time to pay the piper. FE was 19.9 - disappointing, really. For a vehicle designed on car's frame, the mileage was just not there. But as a luxury car, there's nary a quibble from this buying audience (nor for the required Premium fuel).
It's too bad that the Nissan variant doesn't offer a 4-cylinder in their Murano like Toyota's Highlander (which also has a Hybrid available). The bottom line is that this vehicle is reserved for the luxury segment who doesn't really care about mileage. The same goes for its cousins with the same engine -- they're just too thirsty.
There's a whole backlog of good and crappy cars to report!