Infiniti has pulled the wraps off of its new EX crossover, which slots below the current FX in both size and price. Well, actually the wraps haven't really ever been on the EX since it was shown almost undisguised in concept form at the 2007 New York auto show.
The EX will (at least initially) come only with a 3.5 liter VQ V6, also found in the G35, and output will be "at least" 290 horsepower (a variant of this engine makes 306 horsepower in the G35 sedan).
From looking at photos of the EX, it appears to be in both concept and execution to be almost a wagon version of the G35 sedan. The front end strikes a very similar "face," the wheels look similar, and the interior seems to have many of the same themes. It probably drives similarly to the G35 sedan, though it's likely a little heavier and not as low to the ground. My only big complaint about the styling is that the wavy character line at the top of the doors is reminiscent of a current Hyundai Elantra. I'm sure that the EX's designers don't want to hear that.
Though Infiniti's press release pretends to have trouble acknowledging competition for the EX, it does list the BMW X3 3.0si and Audi A4 3.2FSI quattro avant. I'd also add the Acura RDX, as well as small crossovers coming from Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac in the next few years.
What most impresses me about the EX in a crowded field of near-luxury crossovers are some of the unique technologies that are making their way into this vehicle right at its US launch, sometime at the end of 2007. These include paint with a "Scratch Shield" that "fixes itself" from small scratches such as fingernail scratches beneath door handles over the course of a few hours or days for the first three years of the car's life. Another feature is called the Around View Monitor (AVM) system, which uses four small cameras to give the driver a "top down" view of the vehicle when parking. Other luxury/convenience touches that are standard or optional include all wheel drive (standard), a leather-wrapped instrument panel (standard), a power folding second row (optional), lane departure prevention system which actually prevents the EX from drifting out of its lane rather than just beeping (optional).
Infiniti has realized that if it's going to be a player in the near-luxury small crossover segment, it needs to come to the game with the latest gadgets and luxury features that the competition is offering, and raise the stakes with new touches such as self-repairing paint and a more practical and simple parking assist system than Lexus offers in its flagship LS 460.
The press release does not mention pricing, but I'd anticipate mid-$30,000s to low $40,000s, based on the pricing of the G35x sedan.