Saturday, December 29, 2012

2005 Infiniti G35x

So after being bored to death with the good old Honda Fit, I decided to get a faster car with AWD since winter was approaching again. I hunted around for quite a while but eventually landed on the Infiniti G series as a viable replacement. Most reviews were positive minus the fuel mileage so I decided to take the plunge.

After hunting around for close to two months, I found a CL posting of a guy selling a 2005 with only 32k on the odo. I guess he worked from home so that's why the miles were so low. I test drove it, carfaxed it, and everything seemed to check out fine so yay, I got myself a new to me car. And as an added bonus in Nevada you don't pay any sales tax on a private party sale.

So I've been driving the car around for 5 months now so I think that's enough time to get my bearings around  all the details of this automobile.

The car is a 6 cylinder 3.5L 280HP monster. It's the most powerful car I've ever owned and yeah it doesn't disappoint in the performance department. Power is balanced throughout the whole spectrum so when you're at 0, 25, 45, or freeway speeds, light application of the accelerator will cause the car to become a rocket.

The handling and suspension is sick. No body roll at all. I can do whatever I want in this car and it feels very controllable and stable. It does seem a bit heavy though, both when accelerating and when cruising but the engine can handle it with no added effort.

The ergos in this car suck, straight up. There are so many small things that are so annoying that I can't believe they passed QA testing during development.

The door controls for the power windows and door locks are blocked by this huge-ass bar. I totally have to twist my wrist in an odd angle to reach the controls. How this wasn't flagged is really beyond me.

The e-brake is a foot one like they usually have in trucks. WTF.

The HVAC control buttons are the exact same shape and they don't have any tactile differentiations. You can't feel your way through the buttons at all which means that you have to take your eyes off the road to make any changes to the climate control.

The snow mode button is totally hidden by your right knee. I so didn't even know it existed until I accidentally dropped something and went to go pick it up.

The heated seat buttons have 3 settings for off, low, and high but the light is the exact same if it's on low or high. No bueno. They should've had 2 LEDs or make the 1 LED dimmer or brighter depending on the setting.
The steering wheel controls are way too square and too far away from the edge of the wheel. You have to have some monster fingers to be able to drive normally while working the controls for the audio and cruise control.
I think a lot of these ergo problems were addressed in the next generation of the G series...too bad I couldn't readily afford one. But not all was negative. They did have one feature that was pretty neat. It's a pass-through hole built into the center console armrest for a phone charger to snake out.

Gas Mileage
As expected the gas mileage on the G35x is horrid. I consider myself a fairly light-footed driver and I still get 20 mixed and 24 highway. Premium gas too so yeah it's a night and day difference between the Fit and this car...oh well I try not to think about it.

My insurance went up only $1. Goes to show the difference between a 2005 Lux Sports Sedan and a 2009 Econobox Wagon.

The quality parts of this car reside in the leather seats, suspension, and chassis. All interior plastics are pretty much Toyota/Nissan/Honda-standard. I think most people get this car for the performance and less on the Lux. Note in the pic how the cheap plastic does not clean all too well.

Sport Shifting
Yeah this feature is worthless. If you try to shift like an economical driver, there is a very long delay and then the tranny shifts. I think it's only meant for racing and avoiding the redline. One additional odd thing is that the sport shift mode is usually activated by moving the stick to the left on most other cars, but on this one you activate it by moving the stick to the right. Weird.

Heated Seats
The heated seats aren't that good in this car. The low setting BARELY works, like we're talking 1 degree if that. The high setting is OK but heated seats in a Mini Cooper or a Saab are so much more impressive.

Power Seats
The power seats have a horribly dumb UI. There is a cancel or auto setting and it supposedly has the ability to memorize settings for 1 or 2. I won't go into too many details but it doesn't remember any settings worth a damn. I think I know why but if I'm correct it means that the design of the power seat's memory is not on the same wavelength as my brain and it just pisses me off to think about it.

One extra thing of note is that the driver's seat makes a very odd grinding noise when it moves. I read on a few forums that a part is broken and needs to be replaced. I'll be $85 in the hole after I buy that part...

Windshield Wipers
The wiper fluid design on this car is actually pretty nifty. It's built into the wiper itself and will spray directly onto the windshield from 2cm out, instead of from spigots like on the hood of a normal car. Don't know if it works any better but it's a nifty change.

I think automatic climate control in all cars is stupid. In this car if you turn it on, in any weather, it will auto-turn on the AC. I'm sure there is a reason for this but I think it's just plain dumb. I enjoy having full control over fan speed, temperature, AC, etc...this car only allows you to manually change fan speeds and go through a bunch of pushing to toggle through modes. It's annoying and inefficient. If it had an API I would reprogram the whole damn thing.

Low and behold the CD/MP3 player doesn't shuffle music, just like on the Saab. Nuff said. Bose sound system is pretty good but yeah if they make it so difficult to get music through the speakers then what's the point? Luckily I don't drive very far to get to work anymore so yeah it doesn't bother me as much, but it's still lame.

Push-Button Entry
One of the main reasons why I wanted this car and others like it was the Intelligent Key feature of being able to just walk up to the car and get in without having to get the FOB out. In this car I still have to push a small button on the door handle, but yeah the tech does seriously work. I would love it if I could just pull the door handle, but this was the 1st gen of this technology. I had also wanted the car to auto-lock if I walked away from it, but to no avail. I still have to press the button on the door handle to lock up the car after getting out. One day they'll improve upon this I'm sure.

Twisty Start
So first gen auto-start was this twisty-start knob instead of a push button start. Good thing is that I don't have to get out a key but yeah a push button would've been better.

So yeah overall the car has been a nice change from the Fit. When I first got it, I performed all of the fluid changes myself to make sure all was kosher. I learned a bunch about this car, so that was educational. I just hope that nothing major breaks because I have a feeling that it'll be quite pricey to fix. The main downer is the gas mileage but yeah all the Infinitis are like that except for one new M-series hybrid that they produced, but damn is that car expensive. Now that I have a sedan, I'm noticing how convenient a wagon/hatch was even though I didn't always utilize it. For example if I were to buy new tires I think there would be a problem fitting all 4 in the trunk and back seat without scuffing up the leather. Either way we'll see how many years I'll stick with this config, but currently it's handling things nicely.