As if Infiniti wasn’t already known for making some of the most sports-car-like crossover SUVs on the road, one of their newest creations, the 2008 EX35, teeters precariously on the fine line between crossover and traditional sport wagon.
From almost every exterior angle, the Infiniti EX35 actually looks more like a would-be G35 station wagon than a scaled down Infiniti FX (the largest crossover vehicle in the Infiniti lineup). Everything from its swept front fascia to its front-mid-ship profile suggests sport sedan performance potential. With a height of only 62.6 inches (with roof rails), the EX is actually shorter than a similarly equipped Subaru Outback (63.2 inches tall with roof rails), a vehicle most would consider to be a very capable station wagon. To further prove the point that the new EX was designed more for a tarmac track than a rut-filled trail, Infiniti engineers allowed the All-Wheel-Drive EX35s to have a lower ground clearance than the Rear-Wheel-Drive versions. At just 5.7 inches off the ground, an AWD EX35 is the lowest riding vehicle in its class. While wet-weather city driving will surely benefit from AWD combined with a lower center of gravity, there is not much of a case to be made in the EX35s claim to be a crossover SUV.
On the other hand, consumers’ definitions of “utility” differ greatly in different parts of the country. The EX may not be able to tackle rough terrain like a monster truck or haul large amounts of cargo like a Chevy Suburban, but it has other useful tricks up its sleeve and certainly satisfies the “sport” criteria better than most crossovers on the road.
One trick that will surely be useful to big-city business men/women is the EX35s class-exclusive built-in coat hanger. Extending from the back of the driver seat’s head rest, this full size leather wrapped hanger will negate the need to have spare hangers smacking against the rear side windows while they hang in wait from the ceiling hooks. It will also prevent sport coats from becoming blind spots hanging from traditionally mounted hangers. In a vehicle that encourages high speed maneuvering, the ability to relocate your wardrobe to a less obtrusive place is quite useful.
Another “utility” the EX pioneers is an Around View Monitor. Utilizing small front, side, and rear mounted cameras, AVM projects an all-around view of potential hazards on every side of the EX35, thus minimizing blind spots while parking.
Adding to Infiniti’s Lane Departure Warning system, the EX35 is the first to employ Lane Departure Prevention. While LDW does its job of warning a driver of unintended lane departures, LDP goes a significant step further by actually redirecting the EX back into its intended lane with precise modulation of the Vehicle Dynamic Control’s brake actuator. By applying subtle amounts of brake pressure at each individual wheel, LDP can successfully prevent the EX35 from drifting into oncoming traffic should the driver be momentarily distracted from the road.
Finally, Scratch Shield provides a little extra peace of mind when you have little choice but to cram your EX into the smallest, yet only available parking spot in your local supermarket’s parking lot. The “self-healing” clear coat paint found on all EX35s is designed to uphold its glossy sheen over long periods of time. The paint can actually repair fine scratches such as those caused by clothing zippers and clasps. The process is accomplished through the use of a special highly elastic resin that, depending on the depth of the scratch as well as surrounding temperatures, can “heal” within days after the scratch was inflicted.
As a traditional crossover SUV, the 2008 EX35 may cause hesitance in some consumers due to its limited off-road capability and cargo capacity. However, those in search of a vehicle that possesses some very useful bits of technology and drives like a five-door sports car, look no further.
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