The Infiniti EX35 is the most attractive vehicle in its class, but that's partly because it's difficult to determine how to classify the stylish hatchback.
The EPA calls it a small station wagon, and we wouldn't disagree, though most will compare it with compact luxury SUVs like the Acura RDX, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. You really must appreciate the EX35's design to consider buying it. Otherwise, this car...station wagon...err, crossover makes little sense from a practical standpoint.
Then again, for not much more than a base G37 sedan, Infiniti will sell you a rear-wheel drive EX35 with a 297-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Steering is quick and a bit light, yet the suspension tuning helps make the EX35 fun on winding roads. Seats are decent, and, Infiniti says, inspired by the fit of a finely tailored kimono, but could be more supportive with thicker side bolsters. There's minimal body roll when you throw the Infiniti into a curve, but take it on the highway and you might find yourself wondering where the "luxury" in this "luxury crossover" went.
Noise levels at higher speeds are noticeable, and we hope the new seven-speed automatic transmission coming for the 2011 model year corrects this. Since the EX35's debut in the 2008 model year, the sole engine option has been paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Seventeen-inch wheels are standard on 2010 models but, like our tester, all 2011 EX35's will have 18-inch wheels. On smooth roads, the crossover was plenty comfortable, but drive over rough roads or highway expansion joints and this might be the only instance in which an EX35 driver wishes he choose a Lexus RX 350.