A revised name and powertrain is the big news for Infiniti’s EX entry-level crossover, which now plays catch up by adapting to the 3.7-liter V-6 which is now used across the board. The only exception to that rule is the new JX35 Crossover, which is the only Infiniti model that uses the 3.5-liter because of its Nissan-sourced CVT. All other Infiniti models use a 7-speed automatic. The JX35 is also the only Infiniti model built in America, alongside its platform-mate, the all-new redesigned Nissan Pathfinder.
Previously known as the EX35, this hard to categorize luxury crossover now adopts the EX37 nomenclature for the obvious. Four versions continue to be offered: base EX37 and EX37 Journey, both available with rear- or all-wheel drive. Otherwise the attempt at a mid-cycle refresh is pretty much accomplished.
Introduced for the 2008 model year the Infiniti EX is based on the same FM platform as the Infiniti G, M, and FX models. On the surface the EX37 portrays a mild manner crossover ready to take on domestic duties like going to the market or taking Fifi to the groomer. But it’s under the skin where the EX changes its persona, desiring to be more like the FX in raw spirit. And that all makes complete sense given that both share similar platforms and mechanics; yet with a slight weight advantage and slimmer proportions, the EX actually has the advantage of being the truer sports oriented machine.
In fact in its home market the Infiniti EX is also known as the Nissan Skyline 370GT crossover, residing in the same family union as the ‘Godzilla’ Nissan Skyline GT-R. In that same Skyline linage rests the Nissan 370GT sedan and coupe which North Americans know best as the Infiniti G37 sedan and coupe. So in essence the EX is a spinoff of the G family although it’s not known here as such. That may help explain why the EX is overlooked as a serious contender for buyers wanting spirited G37 like characteristics with added versatility.
In Australia, a country where an ingrain passion for speed and performance comes second nature, the Nissan Skyline 370GT crossover is coveted more for its ‘Mad Max’ road warrior agility than for its ability to navigate rocks and ruts in the rugged Outback. In fact, in the Land Down Under, the 370GT crossover is actually referred to as a true sports car with a wagon back.
However, because of its more performance oriented characteristics the EX37 lacks the ruggedness and practicality usually associated with a crossover utility vehicle, hence it’s considered more of a luxury sports hatchback than fodder for the likes of the Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX. Whatever it is, I found the EX37 to be one of the more gratifying vehicles I’ve experienced in quite some time.
A large part of that starts with Infiniti’s silky smooth VQ37VHR 3.7-liter V6 engine which is rated at 325-horsepower – 3 and 5 less than the G37 sedan and coupe respectively. That’s also 28 more horsepower than the previous 3.5-liter V6. In everyday driving the differences between the two displacements are negligible.
All this is mated to a 7-speed automatic, which is a significant improvement over the previous 5-speed unit which was dropped after the 2010 model year. Although the EX37 offers a gated box with a manual mode feature, this is one crossover that screams out for paddle shifters.
In driving characteristics what’s most noticeable is the EX37’s blend of responsive handling and agility thanks to its firm independent double wishbone suspension in the front and an independent multi-link in the rear. But if a cushy cloudlike ride is what is preferred then a Lexus or Cadillac may be more to your liking – after all this is still more sports than utility.
Though our vehicle was the RWD version, the EX37 can be ordered with intelligent all-wheel drive, which can divert up to 50 per cent of the power to the front wheels as needed. When the system is not splitting power, all of it goes to the rear wheels.
Starting with appearance the word ‘sleeper’ first comes to mind. I believe we all can agree that the FX crossover looks the part for the role is intended to play. The EX37 comes over way more mild manner, but when you take into consideration it basically has the same mechanics in a little weight, the results are obvious.
Unlike the other sport-utes (FX, JX and QX) in the family, the EX’s front fascia is far less intrusive thanks to a resemblance to the Infiniti G37 family. And while it’s styling may be more subdued, the EX37’s profile stands out because of its sculptured silhouette. The elongated hood line gives the EX37 an elegant appeal despite being a smallish vehicle. The rear features twin chrome tailpipes in addition to a spoiler that sits atop the tailgate capping a shapely rear end that includes wraparound tail lights. However points have to be taken off for the omission of a remote liftgate.
Sitting in the cockpit of the EX37 is a lot like being inside the G37 sedan, offering a similar dose of sumptuous leather appointments with superb fit and finish and wood accents. The instrumentation is pleasingly understated and easy to decipher. The center stack is the main command center, topped off by a 7-inch VGA touch screen display. The signature analog clock (now an industry standard originally established by Infiniti) completes the deal.
Our featured EX37 Journey came with a base price of $38,650. Included is a glass sunroof, a dual-occupant memory system for driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors, linked to individual Intelligent Keys. Also exclusive is a power up-folding 2nd-row seating as well as an advanced Climate Control System with auto-recirculation, Plasmacluster air purifier and Grape Polyphenol Filter.
The EX37 Journey also comes standard with an 11-speaker Bose Premium Audio system in lieu of the base model’s 6-speaker unit. Also exclusive to the Journey is the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with touch-screen display, Lane Guidance and 3-D building graphics, Infiniti Voice Recognition for audio, navigation and vehicle information systems, NavTraffic with detailed traffic information provided by SiriusXM, NavWeather with current weather updates and 3-day forecasts provided by SiriusXM.
The option list was limited to three grouped packages, The Technology Package ($2,750) adds blind spot detection and Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range), a more advanced cruise control system. The Deluxe Touring Package ($2,400) includes 19-inch 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with 245/45R19 V-rated all-season tires, 8-way power passenger front seat, 2-way driver seat with lumber support. The Premium Package ($3,050) includes Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation, 7-inch VGA touch screen display, Around View Monitor (AVM) with front and rear sonar system. All that brought the window sticker to a reasonable $47,300, which also included a $950 designation charge.
The EX35 was the first production vehicle to offer AVM, which utilizes small front, side and rear-mounted cameras, giving the driver literally a ‘top-down’ Google Earth view of the vehicle while the backup camera is activated, to give an added sense of security.
Also available exclusively on the Journey is an industry-first is the Distance Control Assist (DCA), which intuitively helps the driver release the throttle and apply the brakes as needed in slowing traffic. Another feature, the Forward Collision Warning, uses the Intelligent Cruise system’s laser range finder to alert the driver of a potential collision, and if the driver does not respond, Brake Assist automatically engages the brakes to help reduce collision speed and impact.
Standard on every new model sold is a 4 year unlimited access to the Infiniti Personal Assistant. The system works through the owner’s mobile phone regardless of whether they’re in the car. This unique service provides owners 24-hour access to an entire team of professional live personal assistants, all at the push of a button. Callers receive assistance with the answer to any question or have tasks performed on their behalf. After the four year term, if the owner would like to renew the benefits, it will cost $199, which is the same rate that current Infiniti owners can pay to opt in to the new program. Additionally, four-year companion accounts are available, which will work from a second phone number. Companion accounts cost $199 at the time of purchase.
Infiniti states that it’s the first luxury-automobile brand to offer such a service nationally in the United States. General Motors offers OnStar with some of the same features, and Hyundai’s new Blue Link package is similar but doesn’t offer quite as much information.
It’s a shame that the EX has failed to capture the hearts of enthusiasts in this market as it has overseas. It’s a given that a brand new EX is on its way within a couple of years, or worse yet, this model may be discontinued altogether. It’s doubtful that as good as the new 3.7-liter V6 is that it will have any positive impact on increased sales. I’m just a lone journalist preaching to the congregation, not the choir, when I say this is definitely one that requires a closer look.
2013 Infiniti EX37 Crossover
On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $38,650
Price as Tested: $47,300 (includes $950 Designation Charge)
3.7-liter V-6 325-bhp @ 7000 rpm, Torque (lb-ft): 257 @ 5200 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed auto w/OD
WHEELS AND TIRES: 19-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels
on Bridgestone P245/45R19 All Seasons
FUEL ECONOMY: 17/25/20 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
FUEL CAPACITY: 20.0-gallon
CURB WEIGHT: 3790 lb
CO2 CARBON: NA lb/mile
Passenger Volume: 91.7 cubic feet
Legroom (front/rear): 44.3/28.5 in
Headroom (front/rear): 38.7/37.7 in
Cargo (rear seats up/down): 18.6/NA cu ft
Built in: Tochigi, Japan