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SHORT STINT--2009 c FX50S

Rafay Ansar

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As-tested price: $65,015
Drivetrain: 5.0-liter V8; AWD, seven-speed automatic
Output: 390 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 369 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Curb weight: 4,575 lb
Fuel economy (EPA/AW): 16/17.3 mpg
Options: Sport package including continuous damping control with auto and sport mode, rear active steer, adaptive front lighting system, auto-leveling headlights, sport-style front seats, driver's seat with power bolster adjustment, thigh support for driver and front passenger, dark-tinted headlights, side air vents and lower side trim ($3,000); technology package including intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, lane-departure warning and prevention, precrash seatbelts, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, rain-sensing front windshield wipers ($2,900); Infiniti mobile entertainment system, DVD player in front-center console, wireless headphones, nine-inch, flip-down headliner-mounted display ($1,600)

OUR TAKE: "Performance" SUVs usually are easy targets to bag on. But for those who like the idea of a relatively fun-to-drive vehicle in a more utilitarian package than that offered by a two-seat sports car, this FX is a legitimate option.

The aggressive exterior styling is jolting, perhaps even polarizing, but we like it. Inside, the interior is very nice, with quality stitching and controls. Switch the suspension to Sport, and it is amusing to toss the FX around, especially with a solid engine putting out plenty of power and torque for this kind of vehicle. We always like the option to use the paddle shifters to cycle through the gearbox, but we can't figure out why so many manufacturers insist on mounting the paddles to the steering column. It only serves to make it difficult to reach them when you have steering lock wound on.

Short of offerings from AMG, BMW and Porsche, there aren't many high-riding sport-utes that are as fun to drive as this one. It's worth a look if you want some driving fun in this type of package.
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