The 2010 Infiniti EX35 luxury SUV is kind of an odd duck among its peers. Although it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck it doesn’t really believe it’s a duck. This baby Infiniti SUV (the larger Infiniti variant is the FX) looks and drives like a European luxury hatchback, albeit one that is just a few inches higher off of the ground.
Motivation for the Infiniti EX35 comes from the old 3.5 liter 297 horsepower/253 lb. feet of torque V6 that was recently replaced in many Infiniti models (and the Nissan Z) by a more powerful 3.7 liter variant. But while the new 3.7 liter V6 feels a bit faster, the engine has started to sound coarse as it approaches the redline. The EX35’s engine sounds terrific and offers up more power than any SUV driver could realistically need.
All 2010 Infiniti EX35s come equipped with a five-speed automatic that operates smoothly and is very good at picking the right gear for you. Honestly, do you really need a luxury SUV with 8 gears like so many BMW, Audi and Lexus vehicles? Even with the “ancient” five-speed automatic, the EX still returns an impressive 17 city/24 highway.
Plush leather and liberal use of soft touch plastic means that the EX has one of the most deliciously tactile interiors in the compact luxury SUV market. Infiniti offers a number of leather, wood and metal trim options for the EX35 including “Chestnut” leather which is a deep shade of plum.
Although the EX35 is also available with gray (too drab), black (makes the cabin feel claustrophobic) and light beige (gets dirty way too easily) leather, I would recommend the “Chestnut” if only because no one else offers anything like it. BMW’s idea of reddish leather doesn’t give off the “old English drawing room” feel of the Chestnut but rather it makes you think of a shade of lipstick a hooker would wear.
Speaking of the interior, the 2010 Infiniti EX35 is let down by one fact and one fact alone. It really lags behind competitors when it comes to cargo space. It barely betters the cargo capacity of the G37 sedan with 18.6 cubic feet available behind the rear seats and 47.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. So while the EX35 might be an awesome road trip car, you probably can’t bring 4 friends with you if they have any luggage.
The 2010 Infiniti EX35 starts at $33,800 and comes with rear wheel drive as standard. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option and beyond that most buyers will want to add the “Journey Package.” A 2010 EX35 Journey model with all-wheel drive maxes out at $37,400 and adds features like heated seats, a moonroof, maple wood interior accents, dual zone climate control and Bluetooth.
Of course that is before you did into the options packages that bring features like navigation, 11-speaker Bose audio, XM, an in-dash 9.0 gigabyte hard drive for song storage, fancy 18-inch rims or Homelink. Don’t $18,000 economy cars have Homelink nowadays? That just reeks of price gouging.
A sensibly loaded EX35 will cost you a bit over $40,000 and that is a lot of money for an SUV with such limited utility. Yes, it is a sport utility vehicle with not very much utility. But what the 2010 Infiniti EX35 does offer you is a much more stylish and fun to drive alternative to most SUVs. Just don’t buy one if you plan on having a big family.