August 14, 2013

Review: Infiniti FX SUV Crossover has landed

These days the term 'crossover' is regularly used in the world of motoring by the vast majority of car and 4x4 experts; claiming that they are at forefront of technological design. Most do this by creating automotive hybrids that blur the line between two defined
vehicle categories. It's come to the point where traditional vehicle categories - SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks and even coupes have been merged to appeal to the needs of an ever changing automotive market.

This has caused some confusion among consumers and more often than not these 'crossover' vehicles don't perform as initially marketed to its target audience; unfortunately leaving a number of ineffectively designed vehicles in the aftermath of these attempts at revolutionising the  automotive industry.

It's precisely for this reason that the FX SUV is such an interesting prospect; for the very first time a vehicle has been designed that can, for the lack a better term be viewed as true 'crossover', combining the capabilities of SUV with that of a sports car. Now without a doubt, Infiniti is not the first automotive manufacturer to make these claims (as its competitors will be the first to point out), but they have taken some considerable time pondered the answer to a question that very few before them have been able to answer. Has one created a 'crossover' in the true sense of the word and not just a SUV that is designed to go fast?

I am delighted to report that the Infiniti FX SUV has come up with an answer to this ever elusive question…

How it handles
The creative minds at Infiniti have surpassed my expectations with the way in which they've designed the FX. They have created a chassis that's both low and wide, while also placing some well-sized 21-inch wheels on each side. This allows the Infiniti FX SUV to have a low centre of mass, in spite of its height, placing the driver in the middle of the vehicle. The chassis is also fairly responsive, as well as easy to use when going around corners. The SUVs large tyres give the vehicle substantial grip and the intelligent all-wheel drive system continuously adjusts the front/rear torque split. Rear active steer is an added feature in both the FX 30dS and FX50S version, giving some lively dynamics while still facilitating grip across all four wheels.

In my experience, a two-ton vehicle doesn't usually move through corners with such ease.

To get the best out of ones SUV, horsepower will definitely need to play a part; the FX30d and its 3-litre turbo diesel will definitely be able to do just that. The best part of the Infiniti FX SUV is most definitely its 175 kw engine; while it's not as powerful as the FX50's 5.0-litre V8, it's more than enough to get across any obstacle you may come across. Along with the features already mentioned, the FX delivers a sizeable 550 nm torque from 1 750 rpm, implying that it has a noticeable engine rumble, essential in today's traffic conditions.

All models in the SUV range come with seven-speed automatic gear box and puddle gear leavers to assist manual and sports mode; this enhances the up-shifts and throttle responses. The sport button located on the centre console also has the ability to stiffen the suspension settings when real performance is needed.

Another added benefit to the FX is that ithas effectively achieved to translate all the exterior benefits of the FX straight into the interior styling of the cabin. The FX evokes the feeling one has when climbing into a proper sports car.

The Infiniti FX SUV doesn't disappoint once one climbs inside, high quality leather, aluminium and wood finishes all stylishly adds to the vehicle's overall persona. Due to the vehicle's height, the FX doesn't have the interior space of a normal SUV, with that said; there is more than enough room to seat two large adults comfortably in the back plus you have about 475-litres of boot space.

The Infiniti's styling certainly doesn't hold back when one first observes it. An aggressively styled muzzle with headlights that steers intimidatingly down the road. A brawny wheel arches anda coupe-like roof contributes to the overall silhouette that gives the SUV a sports car like appeal. The FX is one masculine vehicle, through and through with prominent features like its 21-inch wheels and an air-intake.

It's a car that doesn't apologise for its appearance. It will either appeal to your sense of automobile aesthetics, or simply not at all. One thing can be stated with certainty; the Infiniti FX SUV is clearly aimed at a male driver. Given South Africans' hunger for an SUV that can perform when needed, it's more than likely that the Infiniti FX SUV is going to resonate with a large number of South African motorists.

Putting it all together
While the Infiniti FX SUV meets the requirements of both an SUV and a sports car, it's hard to deny that the vehicle doesn't bring a unique element all of its own. Making a bold statement, one definitely feelslike they're driving something unique. The vehicle is brushed with luxury and even the entry level range comes with features most competitors will only include with more expensive models.

If you've been out, looking for the ideal luxury SUV that is equipped to take on any terrain, as well as reach blistering speeds. The Infiniti's FX SUV range might just be what you've been waiting for.  

- Andre Cronje

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