The stubby coupe-like EX from Infiniti seems to be more polarizing than I thought. It’s bigger brother, the FX, has been dragging its bubble butt around town for years now, and the shape is definitely love it or hate it. But I thought the cleaner, more concise styling of the EX would make it more palatable for folks. Is it just the styling that sets hearts on fire or draws the ire on onlookers? Or is there more to it?
Well, first of all, it might be the price. The EX is no cheap date.
2013 Infiniti EX 37
Base price: $39,900
Options: $3,900 Journey package, $4,150 Premium package, $2,500 Technology Package, $2,950 Navigation package,
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $55,495
Under the Hood
At the heart of this crossover beats a new 3.7-litre V6. It churns out 325 horsepower at 7000 RPM and a decent 267 lb.ft of torque at 5200 RPM. It pushes that power through a 7-speed automatic transmission and out to all four corners through a rear-biased all-wheel drive system.
Fuel economy isn’t exactly the 4023 pound EX’s forte, but it did just fine. It’s rated at 12.1 L/100 km (19 mpg) in the city and 8.1 L/100 km (29 mpg) on the highway, neither of which are terrible. During my week with it, I averaged 13.8 L/100 km (17 mpg) doing my normal commuting and occasional freeway jaunts. I did push this vehicle harder than most, so the mileage was acceptable in my opinion. The tank holds 76 litres and I hate to break this to you – it guzzles premium gas.
When it comes to the exterior, I’m firmly ensconced in the love-the-styling camp. The sculpted lines are pulled taut over the EX’s tidy proportions, without some of the flab that you’ll find on the FX. I think it looks sporty and classic with its long hood and short overhangs.
The cabin is set toward the rear and the back glass is steeply raked for a very unique look.
Infiniti’s expressive, swept-back HID headlights and nicely integrated chrome foglights flank the standard grille. Nice LED tail lights and a couple of fat oval exhaust tips finish off the rear end.
I really liked the 10-spoke 19″ rims factory Enkei rims wearing fat 245/45-sized boots.
Once you get inside the EX, you’ll find a load of beautiful soft-touch plastics – they look good and they feel good. The interior has an air of luxury. Even the maple wood accents look good. It doesn’t hurt that they’re real.
Though it’s a snug cabin, the headroom is good and nothing feels claustrophobic. I found the power-adjustable, heated leather seats to be very comfortable and they actually offered a good amount of bolstering too. There are two memory settings for driver’s side seat.
The power-adjustable steering wheel has a strange shape to it but is comfortable to hold and sports buttons for media, phone, handsfree and cruise control. The gauges are well done with very high contrast lighting, making them easy to read. They’re separated by a terrible-looking driver information screen with ugly, crunchy text and graphics. It’s a shame Infiniti didn’t upgrade it to the one out of the JX 35. The screen lets you see the outside temp, instant and average fuel economy, average speed, elapsed time, fuel range and vehicle settings.
In the center of the dash sits a sharp 7″ screen, controlled by touch and with hard buttons and a rotary dial. It’s a bit of a clunky interface until you get used to it. The screen handles the media system, phone functions and the navigation. The 11-speaker Bose system plays AM, FM, satellite radio, CD, USB and Bluetooth streaming sources and sounds very good. The navigation system looks great, especially the fly-over view.
Below that is Infiniti’s signature analog clock, some more buttons related the media system and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The center console holds a really nice-looking and feeling gear selector, a pair of very tight cup holders (where two Starbucks take-out cups don’t fit next to each other) and an armrest.
The EX 37 has keyless entry and a push-button starter. Overhead is a small power tilt/slide sunroof and buttons for the universal garage door opener.
This car fairly bristles with driver assistance technology: around-view monitor (which stitches 4 camera pictures together for a top-down view) with audible front and rear parking sensors, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, distance control assist, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control and a blind spot warning system. Phew!
In the back are three seats, three headrests and three seatbelts. I found leg room to be limited (I’m 5’10”) but surprisingly headroom is as good as (or even better than) the front. The seats themselves are quite firm but comfortable. The two outboard seats are fine – the middle seat is only good for kids, and would be brutal for an adult. In addition, it straddles a large drive shaft tunnel on the floor, which leaves nowhere to put your feet.
Otherwise, it’s pretty spartan back there. A couple of adjustable air vents at the back of the console, two seatback map pockets and a middle seatback that folds down to become an armrest with two cupholders. No plugs, nothing else.
Our three kids were snug but comfortable in the back, and there are two sets of LATCH anchors for their seats. They’re accessible through slots in the seats instead of between the upper and lower seat cushions, which is much more convenient and easier to use.
The door bins are decent but the glove compartment is smallish. You’ll find a pop-out bin that will hold your smart phone at the bottom of the center stack and there’s a 12V plug next to it. The space under the armrest lid is carpeted and houses the USB and 12V plugs.
The trunk isn’t big for a crossover at 527 litres and the angle of the rear window cuts into the space and restricts the transportation of bulkier items. A neat trick is the power-folding rear seats – they fold up and down in a 60/40 split with the push of a button, and do it very quickly. Unfortunately, Infiniti does not say how much cargo space you’re left with when the seats are folded down. The trunk can be covered with a retractable, removable tonneau cover.
The EX 37 is a powerful car. The engine and transmission work in concert to provide a quick launch off the line, and it almost feels jerky at times. After that, forward progress is smooth. Apparently 0-100 km/h happens in under 6 seconds, but it doesn’t feel that fast because everything happens in such a smooth, linear fashion. There’s really no drama whatsoever. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of power if you need it.
The transmission is very slick, shifting imperceptibly most of the time. Sadly, it hunts for higher gears immediately, and often took a second or two to shift down to the correct gear when I stepped on it to get a move on or pass someone. Also, even though it can be put into sport mode, it may be the least aggressive sport mode I’ve ever driven. Frankly, the effect was often not noticeable. And yes, it can also be shifted manually and the shifts are acceptably quick.
This car’s strong suit is its handling. I couldn’t help but be impressed every single time I took a corner. Whether it was being pushed hard or being driven in a relaxed manner, the EX is simply unflappable on the road. There’s a bit of body lean, but it’s minimal and the grip is just tremendous for a vehicle like this. I’d go so far as to say it handles like a decent sports car. Take a corner hard, and it just moves in the right direction. Once you push its limits, the car goes into understeer and starts plowing mildly, which is just fine for a crossover – even with its rear-biased all-wheel drive, it never wanted to kick out the back end.
The compromise is the ride. While I wouldn’t say it got uncomfortable, it was significantly sportier and more firm than I ever expected, and I never quite got used to it. I felt that it leans a bit too much toward sport for such a plush automobile, and most buyers in this category would prefer slightly more comfort over the incredible handling chops this car offers. The firm ride got irritating over some surfaces and was just too jiggly oftentimes.
Infiniti did a bang-up job with the electronic steering too. The weighting is excellent – I loved that I had to work at it a bit, especially as the speed picked up. Braking is also exemplary – powerful, easy to control and fade-free in hard driving.
Visibility is very good except out of the back, where the view is small and further hampered by the rear headrests. Shoulder checking isn’t fantastic either, but the blind spot monitoring helps.
There is a snow driving mode, which I didn’t get to test out.
I was irked by the lack of a power lift gate. First of all, at this price, that should be a given, considering the utility a crossover advertises. Secondly, I’d personally take a power lift gate over the power-folding rear seats any day. They’re handy, yes, but not nearly as handy and useful as being able to pop the trunk as you’re walking up to it, or pushing a button inside to let someone put something into the trunk.
A really cool detail was the coat hanger built into the driver’s headrest. You pop it up, and it provides a perfect spot to hang your coat while you’re driving. Avoids wrinkles, and is just smart. The kind of gadget I love!
The EX 37 is certainly a great car in many respects. It offers plenty of luxury, plenty of performance and plenty of cachet. But the utility is limited. Rear seat room and cargo space are both on the small side, and comfort on the road falters occasionally, thanks to the firmly sprung sports-car handling side of its character.
I give the Infinity EX 37 a 7 out of 10.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was pretty high. She enjoyed driving it and loved the styling inside and out. She didn’t like how it was pretty “jerky” (that was her word) off the line, and had a tough time with the ride on occasion.
I think the EX 37 is a bit of a lifestyle choice. It doesn’t make sense to me, because if I’m buying a cross over, I want utility first, performance and style second. It appears that styling and performance take first and second place here, and utility takes a distant third. But hey, if you don’t have to other people (three kids in my case) and all their stuff around on a daily basis, and you want the ability to go lace into some curves with abandon, this might just be the car for you. You can have a lot of fun with it, and you’ll look good doing so. And if you can do without some of the goodies, you’ll be able to get one at a much more agreeable price too.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Infiniti Canada
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