Does style trump utility in the new crossover SUVs?

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 15, 2011

The traditional SUVs tended to be boxy, providing plenty of legroom but not as many features, and definitely not the responsiveness of a hatchback. While manufacturers kept piling on the creature comforts, it could be argued that some of them replaced the “sport” in SUV with “superfluity”.

An exception could be the Nissan Infiniti crossover SUVs, which are carefully weighted to keep the braking and steering as light as their coupe counterparts. Despite their recent second-generation facelifts, Nissan seems to have kept the duality between sport and utility intact.

For example, the Infiniti FX has a lower centre of gravity, and distinctive air vents that feed additional air to the intake box, boosting performance. Dubbed the “Bionic cheetah” for its sleek exterior (longer hood, stretched wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs), the FX is one crossover SUV that seems to have maintained its authority on the road and achieved it with style as well.

It’s available in a 3.5-litre V6 or 5.0-litre V8 engine that deliver between 303 and 390 horsepower at 6500 and 6800 rpm each. There’s modern technology in every inch of the FX, from the Around View Monitor, which displays views surrounding the vehicle, to cruise control, rear-seat entertainment systems and a centre console-mounted DVD player.

Another SUV that easily earns the “luxury” tag is the Infiniti QX, a vehicle on a seriously powerful platform, great for bigger families looking to transport up to eight passengers comfortably. When entering its third generation in 2010, the QX underwent a total redesign, with a new frame structure for a smoother, quieter ride.

The QX is available in a 5.6-liter V8 engine with direct fuel injection that delivers 400-horsepower at 5800 rpm. It has electric seven-speed automatic transmission that can sense a driver’s style and adjust shifting accordingly as well as all-wheel drive with full-size aluminium alloy wheels with all-season tyres. It’s also powerful enough to tow a boat or a jet ski down to the beach for a weekend away with the family.

Topics: crossover, suv

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