As crossover vehicles go, the Infiniti FX reflects a nice balance between a sport utility vehicle’s usual high stance view for the driver and a passenger car’s low level ingress-egress. On many levels, the Infiniti FX – sold in two versions, FX45 and FX35 – hits the right chords. FX35 (defined by a standard V6 engine, 18-inch wheels and either rear wheel drive or all wheel drive vs. the FX 45’s V8 and 20-inch wheels) proved itself a grand ride and drive during a 1,200-mile trip. Hour after hour of driving, the FX35’s supportive seats, roomy interior, and precision steering validated the vehicle as a splendid offering. (The lone complaint is the vision blocking location of the roof-mounted seatbelt for the rear seat’s center passenger.)

On the new for 2005 front, the Infiniti FX showcases the first application of a lane departure warning system in the North American market. The system activates after 45 mph by recognizing lane markings. If the vehicle strays beyond the markings, an audible sounds and an icon flashes. Many drivers will like knowing when their lane keeping has fallen off. For those who prefer no warning, the push of a dash button deactivates it. (The system automatically is in the “on” mode with every vehicle start. Using the turn signal temporarily disengages the system.) FX35 is powered by a 280 horsepower V6 that mates to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Per gallon fuel estimates for all wheel drive FX35 are 16 city/22 highway. MSRP is $36,450.