The 2010 Infiniti EX35 is a stylish crossover that highlights all the best attributes of the Japanese luxury brand.
One of the reasons crossovers became popular is because they handle well; better than the traditional SUVs that spawned their creation.
But among the good-handling crossovers, the EX might be the best. With that characteristic, it is easy to see a connection between this vehicle and the other fun-to-drive cars in the Infiniti lineup.
Infiniti says the EX's front mid-ship platform balances its weight, resulting in responsive steering and the ability to handle curves sharply.
The EX drives nimbly, thanks in part to the 3.5L V-6 engine, which is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission. The impressive 297 horsepower and 253 pounds-feet of torque provide plenty of thrills, but there is some high-level thinking that this vehicle does too. It can adjust to your unique driving method and make the modifications to achieve the highest level of performance.
Also, you can put the transmission in manual mode if you wish.
The EX offers fuel economy that's adequate: 17 mpg city, 24 highway, according to EPA. In combined driving, I got about 22 mpg.
The EX is available in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, but with the latter, under normal conditions all of the vehicle's power is sent to the rear wheels. The power is only distributed to all wheels when needed.
But this isn't just some performance machine that has ordinary looks. Infiniti is a luxury brand, and the EX represents that nicely on the interior.
The fit and finish are wonderful, and the quality and appearance of the materials and the design of the lines are terrific -- highly refined, but not at all pretentious.
The driver surely will appreciate that all the controls are within easy reach and are easily identifiable, even though there are a lot of buttons and knobs.
The layout of the instrument panel is intuitive. Plus the seating, windows and steering position have memory, allowing you to get all your settings just like you like them, then capture them so that, if you're like Goldilocks and you want everything just right, you'll have it.
The back seat is a bit cramped, especially when it comes to headroom, thanks to the sloping roofline design. If you haul passengers frequently, and especially if they are adults, this might not be the ideal vehicle for you.
One really cool option offered by Infiniti on the EX is the around view monitor system, which is standard if you get navigation. There are four cameras -- up front, on each side and in the rear -- that allow you to see a top view of the vehicle when you are backing into or inching forward in a parking space. So you can not only see forward and behind, but also how close things are to you on the sides.
Plus, you'll hear beeps whenever you get too close to something in front or in the rear.
Think of it as a very enhanced version of the backup camera that has become common on many vehicles today.
The navigation system is linked to XM satellite radio's traffic service, which shows you where the congestion is on the roads and other hazards to avoid.
There is also an iPod jack, Bluetooth capability and pushbutton keyless ignition.
If you opt for the technology package, you'll additionally get lane departure warning, which uses sensors to give you a beep to tell you that you are veering over your line.
That system worked a little too well for me, being activated with even the slightest line encroachment, so I just pushed the button to turn it off.
But if you're driving while sleepy, which of course isn't such a good idea, it's a nice feature because it will assist your alertness.
The tech package also includes distance control assist, intelligent cruise control and intelligent brake assist, all designed to prevent crashes by notifying the driver if he or she is getting too close to something, and in some cases it will activate the brakes.
The EX starts at a little more than $34,000 and ranges to a little more than $40,000 when nicely equipped.