Infiniti FX50 Review

390 horsepower, 7-speed transmission, 21-inch wheels...0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat. What kind of SUV is this?

Infiniti calls the new FX50 a "luxury SUV with the heart of a sports car", which is probably as good a description as any. The luxury assertion can't be argued with: Quilted leather-appointed seats, hand-stained maple wood trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, XM NavTraffic, Around View Monitor, Voice Recognition, Advanced Climate Control, climate controlled front seats, moonroof, 8-way power front seats, an 11-speaker Bose audio system with two subwoofers, an interface for iPod, XM Satellite Radio, and a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive to store your traveling music. Oh, yeah...and a CD player, too. All standard.

In fact, in what might be a first for me in more than a decade of testing cars, the only option on the window sticker was for a functional safety package (Intelligent Brake Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention System, Intelligent Cruise Control and rain sensing wipers) that added $2900 to the $56,700 base price.

As for the heart of a sports car part, well, there is that incredible power and neck-snapping acceleration. I wasn't inclined to push the handling, since my tester had suffered a tire failure the day before it was delievered to me and I was driving it with a full-size but still limited use (the big yellow sticker said to keep it under 50 and not go too far) spare tire.

If you've got to have the top of the line, the FX50 is a great piece. But if practicality matters, take a look at Infiniti's FX35...same vehicle, less engine, lower price, better gas mileage. I'll be posting about that one soon.