Premium midsize SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,700 – $26,200*


2003 Infiniti FX


2004 Infiniti FX


2005 Infiniti FX


Infiniti FX interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Handling/roadholding
Cons:
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Ride (w/20-inch wheels)
  • Visibility (rear)

Each FX emphasizes sport over utility–probably too much so for some buyers. Nevertheless, refinement, virtual otherworldly style, features, and sporty road manners–worthy of an import sport sedan–qualify it as a Recommended. In short, the FX stands out among premium midsize crossover SUVs. Infiniti’s strong warranty and kid-gloves customer care are bonuses, but strong resale value translates to used-vehicle prices that lean toward the hefty side.

Overview

Introduced in midseason of 2004, the FX was a particularly stylish premium midsize crossover sport-utility vehicle. Drived from Infiniti’s G35 sedan, the FX seated five, with a rear liftgate and an overall height between that of a car and an SUV.

Two models were offered. The FX35 had a 280-horsepower V6 engine, and came with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The FX45 held a 315-horsepower V8 and came only with AWD. A five-speed automatic with manual shift gate was the sole transmission. The FX’s all-wheel-drive system lacked low-range gearing and was not intended for offroading.

Antilock braking, antiskid/traction control, front torso side airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, and xenon headlamps were standard on all models. The FX35 rode on 18-inch wheels. A sport suspension with 20-inch wheels was standard for the FX45, and optional on the FX35. The same was true of leather upholstery, heated front seats, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, and a driver-seat memory.

A sunroof and roof rails were optional. So was a Technology Package with a navigation system, adaptive cruise control designed to maintain a set following distance, rear DVD entertainment, rearview video camera, and tire-pressure monitor. The package also included an “intelligent key” system with a small transmitter that allowed the driver to unlock the vehicle by pressing buttons on the doors and start it without inserting the key into the ignition. Rivals included the Acura MDX, Cadillac SRX, and Lexus RX 300/330, but a FX had a visual personality all its own.

Yearly Updates

2004 FX
Suspension revisions designed to provide a softer ride were among the few 2004 changes to Infiniti’s crossover SUV. For 2004, the all-wheel-drive system added a driver-controlled snow mode designed to adjust low-speed throttle input to maximize traction.
2005 FX
Additional safety equipment marked the 2005 models. Curtain side airbags were now designed to deploy if the system detected an impending rollover. A newly optional Lane Departure Warning System could alert the driver to unintended movement away from a designated traffic lane. The system came in a package with backseat DVD entertainment.
2006 FX
Infiniti’s car-type SUV moved some options to standard status for 2006. For ’06, FXs got minor styling revisions and a rearview camera; among many features now standard instead of optional. Also, FX35 joined FX45 with standard leather upholstery, heated front seats, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, and driver-seat memory.
2007 FX
FX carried over unchanged.
2008 FX
The 2008 Infiniti FX carried over with no major changes.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

A 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V6 engine in the FX35 produces 280 horsepower. In the FX45, a 4.5-liter V8 makes 315 horsepower. All FX models contain a five-speed automatic transmission, with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 280
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 270
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

16/21

15.6

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.5/274
Engine HP 315
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 329
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

15/19

16.0

EPA rating for FX35 with 2WD is 17/23 mpg.

Road Test

In either form, the FX ranks among the swiftest SUVs. A test V6 AWD FX35 accelerated to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, while a V8 managed that feat in 6.7 seconds. The automatic transmission is smooth, but can delay downshifts, making manual-shift mode attractive for quick passing maneuvers. Trailering capacity is 3500 pounds.

Turning to gas mileage, a test V6 with AWD averaged 15.6 to 16 mpg. Test V8s have averaged 14.6 to 16 mpg. Measurements have included gas-eating performance tests. All FXs require premium-grade fuel.

Ride comfort depends on the suspension. A 2003 model with sport suspension and 20-inch wheels produced a firm ride even on apparently smooth roads, which turned jarring over sharp bumps and ridges. On the plus side, the sport chassis exhibits fine high-speed stability. FX35s with 18-inch tires cushion impacts far better.

An FX is poised and agile on twisty roads, with great road grip and well-checked body lean. Excellent crosswind stability is another bonus. Quick, firm steering provides ample feedback, adding to the carlike driving feel. Unfortunately, 20-inch tires tend to follow road grooves, compromising steering control. This can even jar the vehicle off-course in bumpy turns. Brakes erase speed rapidly.

Each FX is mechanically refined and relaxed, if not luxury-car hushed. Engine noise intrudes somewhat at full throttle, as does coarse-pavement thrum with 20-inch tires, but neither occurrence annoys much. Wind rush is modest.

Clear gauges sit in a pod that tilts along with the steering wheel. Switchgear abounds, but needs larger labeling. A navigation system adds extra controls that clutter the instrument panel further, though the system itself is fairly easy to use. Appealing aluminum trim is matched by good-quality leather or cloth upholstery. Low-budget plastic pieces detract, however.

Supportive front seats are shaped to keep occupants from sliding around, but don’t provide exceptional leg space even when set fully aft.

The good driving stance has enough wheel/seat adjustments to suit most drivers. Roof styling hampers vision directly aft and over-the-shoulder, but not severely. Step-in falls between sedan and SUV heights, and is fairly easy, though the low roofline demands some ducking.

In the rear, the cabin is too narrow for three adults, but two six-footers have decent head clearance even beneath the sunroof, plus better-than-average knee space and good under-seat foot room. Leg and back support are not the best, though seatbacks can be reclined. Entry/exit demands fancy footwork and body twists, due to narrow door bottoms.

Cargo space falls short. Swoopy styling limits height and total volume behind the rear seat, so, forget tall or bulky luggage. The load floor is rather high, but the split rear seat folds easily for extra space. Cabin storage for small items is good, but not top-notch.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2004 FX35 AWD w/Sport Pkg.)

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 59

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.2 189.1 75.8 65.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
64.5 23.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.8 39.5 43.9 35.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2004 FX35 AWD w/Sport Pkg.) 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Rear brakes noisy, particularly when cold and under light application are repaired by installing brake pads with revised friction material. (2003-04)
Cold-starting problems
Description: In very cold conditions, the starter may not run and may require replacement of the Intelligent Power Distribution Module. (2004)
Engine noise
Description: Clicking noise from engine compartment likely due to problem with fuel damping hose requiring improved component. (2002-06)
Fuel gauge
Description: The fuel gauge may not read full after a fill-up unless the sub-fuel-sending-unit was replaced. (2003)
Fuel gauge
Description: Fuel may spit back during refueling due to problem with the fuel level sensor O-ring. (2003-05)
Mirrors
Description: The outside mirror(s) may not work due to a failed actuator. (2003-08)
Radiator
Description: The radiator cap gasket may swell over time and when it does, will not allow the cap to vent properly resulting in overheating and lost coolant. (2003-04)
Seat
Description: The driver’s seat may rock back-and-forth or make snapping noises due to problems with lift motor or links. (2003-05)
Steering problems
Description: Tilt steering wheel may have vertical play due to a faulty bracket. (2003-05)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The sunroof may leak due to a deformed seal. (2005-08)
Suspension noise
Description: Noises from the rear (popping, creaking) sound like a suspension problem but is caused by loose floor-to-frame bolts that must be replaced. (2003)
Gauges
Description: The low tire pressure warning light may illuminate and the tire may be low due to a defective sensor seal. (2004-08)

Recall History

2003 FX35 and FX45
Description: Passenger-side frontal airbag inflator may rupture upon deployment and spray metal fragments at the passenger.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.