THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey compact luxury SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: Sharing its powertrain with the G35 sedan, this all-new rear-wheel-drive vehicle from Infiniti offers a carlike ride with SUV practicality. Based on a steel unibody structure, the EX35 is available in four trims and comes with numerous optional tech goodies. However, the ride is solid and surefooted on uneven surfaces or under inclement weather conditions.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter V-6 engine pumps 297 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 253 pounds-feet of torque at 4800 rpm. Coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode, the EX35 is equipped with an independent front double wishbone and a rear multilink suspension with stabilizer bars. A speed-sensitive power steering system offers good feedback to the driver. Braking is handled by 12.6-inch vented front and 12.1-inch rear discs, more than plenty for the nearly 3,800-pound vehicle. The EX35 has a curb-to-curb turning circle of 36 feet, quite creditable for a SUV of its size. Also worth pointing out are 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, which are sized just right.
LOOK & FEEL: The muscular front sports a double-arch chrome grille surrounded by L-shaped traditional Infiniti-style headlights and integrated fog lamps. Chrome is markedly visible on side-window moldings, door handles and dual exhaust tips. The cabin is packed with luxury amenities such as black lacquer trim on the center console, aluminum accents on the shifter knob and door panels, eight-way power driver's and four-way power passenger's seats and a 60/40 power-folding second-row seat. The centered Infiniti signature analog clock, as usual, looks grandiose. The white-on-violet illuminated gauges are crystal clear, whether you are driving in the dark or in daylight.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, Vehicle Dynamic Control with traction control, Electronic Brake Distribution with Brake Assist, front seat active-head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and front and rear crumple zones are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $34,850, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. If you fancy the latest innovations, go for the $1,950 Technology Package. It will get you an around-view monitor, lane departure prevention and warning systems and intelligent cruise control, which keeps a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 225/60R17 all season; wheelbase, 110.2 inches; length, 182.3 inches; weight, 3,790 pounds; fuel capacity, 20 gallons; highway, 24 mpg; city, 17 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Infiniti made the right decision to launch the all-new EX35, which fills the gap remarkably well between the G35 sedan and the FX35 SUV. The EX35 has immense power at its command, backed by an exceptional rear-wheel-drive system. Also worth loving are the luxury and tech goodies, backed by plentiful safety features. It's a win-win situation for Nissan's luxury brand.