Comparing the 2009 Infiniti FX35 AWD against a 2009 Lexus RX 350 AWD reveals the FX surpasses the RX in dimensions, power, standard equipment and amenities.
First, let’s ensure we compare “apples-to-apples” with an overview for both the 2009 FX35 and the RX 350.
The 2009 Infiniti FX is a premium midsize crossover available with V6 or V8 power. For 2009, the FX received a makeover, gaining freshened styling, more power and additional safety systems. The FX35 teams a 303-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The refreshed FX35 gains 28 hp over the previous model and now uses a seven-speed automatic transmission. The FX35 rides on standard 18-inch wheels and is rated for towing 3,500 pounds.
Safety features include ABS, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags and front side airbags. Incredible new technologies enhance the safety of the FX. For example, Infiniti’s optional Lane Departure Warning System sounds an alert when the vehicle crosses lane dividers. Newly available on FX are Infiniti’s Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Around View Monitoring (AVM) and Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) systems. LDP sounds a warning and activates the vehicle’s stability control system in order to bring FX back into the proper lane. AVM uses four cameras to show the driver the entire circumference of the exterior on the navigation screen. IBA uses lights and warning tones if a forward collision is imminent and automatically applies braking power.
Standard equipment on the FX35 is impressive: leather upholstery, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, keyless entry and starting and a rearview camera are standard. Available features include adaptive cruise control that operates at both around town and highway speeds, a 9.3GB hard drive to store digital media files, an advanced climate control system that filters mold and deodorizes air, a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic information, DVD entertainment and a wireless cell phone link.
For 2009, the Lexus RX 350 is essentially a carryover. This midsize crossover uses a 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. Available safety equipment includes ABS, traction control, an anti-skid system, a driver’s knee airbag, front side airbags and curtain side airbags. Options include leather upholstery, tilt and telescopic steering column, adaptive cruise control, navigation system with rearview camera, heated front seats and DVD entertainment.
Right away, significant differences put the spotlight on the 2009 Infiniti FX35. For example, compare the powertrains on these attractive crossovers, and you’ll find the FX35 has 303 hp compared to the 270-hp RX 350. What’s more, the FX35 is equipped with one of the most modern seven-speed automatic transmissions on the market. The RX 350 makes do with five speeds. In terms of gas mileage, the RX 350 seems to win on an EPA-estimate of 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. That is, until you factor in the extra 33 horses in the FX. You get that power advantage for almost no mileage penalty in the FX since the EPA says you’ll get 16 mpg city and 21 mpg on the highway in the one with the seven-speed tranny. By the way, the Infiniti’s high-tech transmission has a manual mode standard. You pay extra for it on the RX 350.
After a “walkaround” inspection of both CUVs, you’ll note the standard power tilt & slide sunroof on the FX35 that comes only as an extra cost option on the RX 350. In terms of size, the FX35 rides on a 113.5-inch wheelbase compared to a 106.9-inch wheelbase on the RX 350. Generally, the CUV with the longer wheelbase will have the smoother ride. Inside, they both have a published cabin volume of 102.5 square feet. The FX35 is a bit roomier up front, however, with 44.7 inches of legroom compared to 42.5 inches in the RX 350. As we know, it’s what’s inside that counts. For example, the FX35 comes with leather upholstery standard. It’s an extra-cost option on the RX 350, likewise for heated seats for the driver and front passenger. Those will cost you on the RX 350 as well. Seat memory? Standard on the FX35, but not available on the RX 350! You can’t get cooling for the front seats in the RX 350, but it is available on the FX35.
Cabin amenities are another important issue. If you are into music, you’ll be pleased to know the FX35 comes with a premium sound system standard. Premium audio is an extra-cost upgrade in the RX 350. The FX35 comes with satellite radio with a one-year subscription, but don’t ask for it in the RX 350. It’s not offered. Another surprise is the standard backup camera in the FX35, yet another extra-cost option on the RX 350.
We’re going to have to award this comparison to the FX35. Lexus will need to return to the drawing board (which they’re quite good at) if they hope to successfully pit the RX against the FX in 2010.
Here’s a great price-point comparison between those two models from our good friends at TrueDelta: Price Comparison:2009 Infiniti FX35 vs. 2009 Lexus RX 350
Author:Greg Childs (AZhitman) is the CEO of NICOclub