2011 Infiniti EX35 Review

EX35

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Trims

Base
Avg. Price: $26,620
Base AWD
Avg. Price: $27,302
Journey
Avg. Price: $26,089
Journey AWD
Avg. Price: $27,015

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2011 Infiniti EX35 Overview

2011 Infiniti EX35

Though a tad on the small side, the 2011 Infiniti EX35 compact luxury crossover wagon packs a potent driving wallop. Able to seat five passengers in two rows, this compact crossover is touted as a family wagon in some circles, while other circles regard its cramped second row and limited cargo area (47.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded) as a bit size-challenged for the average family. Nevertheless, this mini-ute is a well-wrought machine with plenty of styling, features, performance, and especially handling. Indeed, many reviews compare the EX35’s rear-wheel-drive (RWD) handling characteristics to those of a sports car rather than a CUV. With a new seven-speed auto-manual transmission and 18-inch wheels replacing the five-speed transmission and 17-inch wheels of yore, driving excitement is amped up even more, according to virtually all reviews. Trims, meantime, remain the Base and top-shelf Journey, both of which are delivered in either the standard RWD configuration or with available all-wheel drive (AWD). The major competition for Infiniti’s luxuriously appointed mini crossover continues to be the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK350, and Volvo XC60. Each of the latter are somewhat more family oriented, but none offers the downright exhilarating driving kick of the EX35.

Though the standard 297-hp, 3.5-liter V6 soldiers on in the 2011 EX35, a new seven-speed auto-manual transmission helps provide 253 lb-ft of torque and gives drivers a few more gears to play with on the commute to work or the trip to the mall. Fuel efficiency, remains pegged at an estimated 17/24 mpg for both RWD and AWD trims, but this mini-crossover simply isn’t designed to haul any sort of trailer, so towing figures are unavailable. The available AWD system, however, remains unique in that it features a “snow mode” in which power is automatically transferred from 100% RWD in optimum conditions to 50/50 front-drive/rear-drive (50%-FWD and 50%-RWD) when roads become slick.

Not only is it a lean, mean driving machine, but luxury, goodies, and gizmos also abound in the 2011 EX35. The Base, for instance, sports standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, and integrated rear spoiler on the outside, with leather upholstery, front power-adjustable bucket seats, and leather and simulated alloy cabin trim accents inside. Comfort and convenience goodies, meanwhile, include a folding front passenger seatback, push-button ignition, remote power door locks, dual-zone climate control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, cruise control, rearview camera, power-operated one-touch windows, and heated outside mirrors. Entertainment is handled by a standard single-CD player with six speakers, XM satellite radio, and a USB connection for added music storage and selection. The higher-end Journey trim level adds standard multi-level heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, a power glass sunroof, and upgraded cabin trim accents.

Options are limited for the EX35 Base, consisting of several cargo and storage upgrades and a vehicle alarm impact sensor. The Journey, however, is another story options-wise. This top-shelf trim offers available DVD navigation, 19-inch alloy wheels, universal remote garage door opener, reverse-tilting outside mirrors, and upgraded, 11-speaker Bose audio components, as well as power-folding second-row seats and driver memory features for the driver’s seat and exterior mirrors. All the above are available only in various packages, with aluminum roof rails offered as the sole standalone option.

As is traditional, safety is paramount in the EX35. Four-wheel ABS, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and active front headrests are all standard for both trims, as are front fog/driving lights and a remote anti-theft alarm. The Journey additionally offers available xenon HID headlights, a blind-zone alert system, adaptive cruise control, intelligent braking, and the unique Around View Monitoring system that provides a bird’s-eye perspective of the area around the vehicle via an integrated console monitor.

A somewhat tight fit for adults in the rear seats combined with a distinctly un-crossover-like dearth of cargo space seem to be the most disappointing aspects of the EX35 as far as owners of 2010 trims are concerned. As well, owners are disappointed at the skyrocketing price of this cute ute with just about any options package added, while issues with rearward visibility and some uneasiness with fuel economy also concern more than a few. On the positive side, however, few owners want to give up the ride, handling, and V6 performance this sporty crossover offers. Finally, good looks, both inside and out, plus Infiniti reliability and an abundance of standard creature comforts keeps owners more than merely satisfied with their choice of the EX35.

Updated

Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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EX35
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