Photos courtesy of Infiniti, Lexus and Kia media relations.
It’s hard to believe that more than ten years have passed since the introduction of the Prius–a car which either revolutionized the vehicular landscape for the better or, alternatively, represented the beginning of the end for automotive enthusiasm, depending on who you ask. Over the past decade, hybrids have made their way into just about every segment, and while production hybrid sports cars aren’t quite here yet, several manufacturers have tested the waters of marketing hybrid vehicles to the enthusiast crowd. Honda did it first with the Accord Hybrid back in 2005, if you’ll recall, and the result wasn’t pretty. While very few critics disliked it, it was outwardly identical to regular Accord, and boasted a heavier, more complicated, more expensive powertrain that returned only marginally better gas mileage than the V6 on which it was based. Oh, and the engine interacted with the stereo. That was kind of a big deal back then, though if you lurk on any BMW-friendly message boards, you know it’s still kind of a big deal now.
Consumer Reports released their 2012 Top Picks and automotive Report Card today. The highlights? Toyota took home five of the ten Top Picks, Subaru scored all As, Mazda is the comeback kid and Ford stumbled over their own new tech. Snippets of the press releases are available after the break. For the full releases, check the PR Newswire ticker on the right side of the page, or go here: https://speedsportlife.com/prn-feed/.
Stock photos courtesy of Nissan/Infiniti USA Media.
“Do you know how fast you’re going?” Her voice is coming from just about everywhere in the cabin. Or maybe just everywhere in my head.
“Uhh… yeah,” I respond, glancing around instinctively for police cars. We’re on I-95, just south of Richmond. The speed limit is 60. We’re besting that, but plenty short of VA’s reckless driving threshold.
“You’re flying,” she says again. Her lack of amusement comes through clearly on the Infiniti’s bluetooth connection. It’s at this point that I realize my phone is buried somewhere in the trunk. There doesn’t seem to be a range issue.
“OK?” I reply, not really knowing what to say. I just want to get back home. I’ve been up since around 5:00 a.m. and spent every minute of it either behind the wheel of one of our two press cars, or outside, in the twenty-something degree weather, chasing cones. It’s almost 6:00. I’m spent. January auto-crosses: the start of the season before the season.
“Just wanted to let you know.” The call ends as the Lancer behind me fades further back into traffic. Apparently, her enthusiasm for eating up the ~180 miles between us and bed doesn’t match mine. I back it off about five miles per hour and set the cruise again. Hey, at least I’m in the luxury car.
Back in January, I was presented with an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up. Through a connection on The Car Lounge, I was put in touch with a woman selling a perfect Miata parts car in Dayton, Ohio. Ever since I picked up my 1.6, I’ve wanted to start overhauling the 212-thousand-mile-old drivetrain and suspension. This ’94 was a perfect match. A deal was struck.
At the time, we had Honda’s Accord Crosstour for evaluation. It seemed like a no-brainer. What could possibly be a better chase car than a brand new crossover? As we got closer to go-time however, some logistical issues intervened on the seller’s end, and the whole trip was put off for a week. The result? Well, obviously, the Crosstour ended up somewhat out of its element, and the trip was rescheduled smack-dab in the middle of our evaluation period for the FX35.
So in typical Speed:Sport:Life fashion, we ended up with Honda’s family hauler doing double-duty as a cone chaser, and Infiniti’s sport sedan on stilts being loaded up for a ~1000-mile road trip. Why not, indeed?
The 2009 Infiniti FX50 is a crossover SUV that thinks (and acts) like a sports car.
Close your eyes and stick out your hand. I am going to put a set of keys in your palm and give you some quick stats about which car they belong to. A seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and downshift rev matching. This is linked to a 5.0L DOHC V8 engine pushing out 390 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque to an Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Dual stainless steel exhaust pipes bellow out a raucous symphony and large brakes to bring the large wheels and tires to a stop. What kind of car is this? Trick question, it’s not a car; it is the 2009 Infiniti FX50 – a luxury crossover SUV.