The 2012 Infiniti EX35 AWD Journey’s character reminds me more of a particular sports car; certainly not a 3,980-pound SUV. A roaring VQ-series engine channels 297-HP to the ground, exiting through massive 19-inch wheels on low-profile rubber.
The steering has genuine feel; the real kind, not the over-boosted, synthetic sensation that plagues modern racks. The suspension is all mechanical, and utilizes light-weight aluminum for responsiveness.
This compact SUV is pure G35 sedan on steroids, which is no accident, considering it is the platform on which many of the EX35’s underpinnings are based.
The EX35’s traditional hydraulic-assist steering rack possesses a quick 16.8:1 ratio, with 2.85 turns from lock-to-lock. Curb-to-curb turning diameter is a scant 36 feet, especially given my tester’s aforementioned 19-inch wheels.
The EX’s positive dynamic traits match perfectly to the standard VQ35HR engine. The tried-and-true six-cylinder mill features Teflon-coated pistons, which pay off in a trademark Nissan silky-smoothness.
Power from the VQ comes in high, with a 10.6:1 compression ratio and 7,600-RPM redline. The engine’s playful, high-revving character does affect fuel economy, however, with my EX35 returning a 17.8 MPG average over 500 miles of mixed driving.
Along with a responsive drivetrain, the EX35 possesses a bevy of modern technology. My well-equipped Journey AWD model came equipped with Infiniti’s excellent Around View Monitor (AVM) camera system, which incorporates four exterior cameras to give the driver a virtual 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings.
Also notable on the tech front, the EX came with Infiniti’s Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS). Besides its high-tech interface, the ACCS uses plasma and grapes to filter the air. This proved beneficial for reducing allergens, as well as bolstering bragging rights. My car uses fruit and plasma to filter the air; what’s your HVAC packing these days?
Primary competition for the 2012 Infiniti EX35 includes the redesigned Acura RDX, re-skinned Audi Q5, all-new BMW X1, and updated Lexus RX350. If you see a pattern here that does not favor the Infiniti, you’re spot-on. The car has not been redesigned since its birth for the 2008 model year.
Outdated design aside, real-world utility is the EX35’s Achilles’ heel. Maximum interior cargo volume in a comparably-equipped Acura RDX, for example, is 60.6 cubic feet, whereas the EX35 offers a diminutive 47.4 cubic feet.
Also worth noting, as-tested, our EX35 commanded a far more significant $45,750, compared to the loaded RDX’s $40,315.
For 2013, Infiniti has said that it will make evolutionary changes to the EX model line, headlined by the addition of the brand’s VQ37VHR 3.7-L V6, which sees use in the current G37 coupe and sedan.
With a greater infusion of power and other mild revisions on the way, we can only hope that next year’s EX35 will pose a much more well-rounded threat to the competition.
On the TFLCar.com recommendation scale of:
-Rent it, or
I give the 2012 Infiniti EX35 a LEASE IT!
Given the fact that dealerships will be antsy to clear their lots of remaining 2012 models, the current EX should prove a desirable lease. Plus, if your family lives in a prestigious urban area with tight parking, the EX is worth a look.
Daniel Buxbaum has had a life-long passion for all things automotive. Dan’s passion for automotive journalism recently secured him a position as customer service director and contributing writer for Parts & People, a multi-region automotive trade publication. Dan also writes for Examiner.com, maintains his own blog (straightlineconcepts.wordpress.com), and is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP).