Carlike Driving

Carlike Driving  - 2010 Infiniti EX35 Review - Reviews - Infiniti EX

Standard in every EX is a 297-horsepower version of Infiniti's 3.5-liter V-6. It's a powerful engine with ample low-end power around town and exhilarating highway passing power, and the gas mileage it returns Ч 19 mpg in combined city/highway driving Ч is competitive. The five-speed automatic transmission remains a generation behind the seven-speed autos in Infiniti's latest models, but it's responsive enough, upshifting smoothly and kicking down with little delay when needed. Sport mode holds lower gears longer for swifter response, but there was little need for it, especially considering the gas mileage penalties usually associated with such modes.

The three-spoke steering wheel turns with a light touch at low speeds. It's one of the EX's few driving characteristics that are palpably SUV-like Ч and appropriately so, as competitors like the X3 require far too much steering effort for simple tasks, like parallel parking. The EX's steering wheel firms up at higher speeds, delivering the secure, well-directed feel you'd expect in a sport sedan. Take an off-ramp aggressively, and the EX digs in and stays on course, with minimal body roll and good grip overall. The brakes Ч antilock discs with strong, linear response Ч inspire similar confidence.

Another carlike attribute is the EX's narrow turning circle. At 34.8 feet with rear-wheel drive and 36.0 feet with all-wheel drive, it cleanly beats the competition Ч in some cases by as much as 3 - 4 feet. Very nice.

There isn't much road or wind noise, but some drivers may decide the EX rides too firmly. The suspension doesn't respond loudly over bumps like the X3's does, but Infiniti otherwise follows BMW's recipe: You feel anything significant Ч quite sharply, in some cases. The Volvo XC60 has a more forgiving ride, but its suspension is nearly as loud as the X3's. The Land Rover LR2 and most versions of the Audi Q5 ride smoother overall, and the Lexus RX is better still.

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