Automobile manufacturers and card-carrying members of the Nuts and Bolts Club are sticklers for accuracy. They insist on comparing cars and trucks using identical platforms, such as those with rear-wheel drive with other real-wheel-drive models of in-kind layout and dimension. Theirs is an apples-to-apples reality.
I, however, am a charter member of the Touchy-Feely League. We TFL types respect things such as component and platform differences. But we are not necessarily bound by them in our vehicle assessments, which makes Nuts and Bolts people, well, nuts.
2009 Infiniti EX35 Journey
Complaint: There's not enough difference here to make a difference, except in your pocketbook.
Ride, acceleration and handling: The performance gets a good mark in all three categories. But for the overall feel of the EX35 Journey, again, I'd rather take that good at a lower price in the Rogue.
Head-turning quotient: Imagine paying more for the EX35 Journey and then driving home to neighbors who ask: Is that the new Nissan Rogue?
Body style/layout: The EX35 Journey is a compact, luxury crossover utility wagon with a front-mounted engine, four side doors and a rear liftgate. It is available with standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. Both it and the Rogue use car-based platforms.
Engine/transmission: The EX35 Journey comes with a standard 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine that develops 297 horsepower at 6,800 revolutions per minute and 253 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm.
Capacities: The EX35 Journey seats five people, same as the Rogue. The front-drive Rogue carries more luggage with the rear seats up - 28.9 cubic feet versus 18.6 cubic feet for the EX35 Journey, whose rear-drive arrangement eats up cargo space. The EX35 Journey's 20 gallon fuel tank requires premium unleaded gasoline for best performance.
Safety: Standard equipment in the EX35 Journey includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes with antilock protection, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags.
Price: The 2009 Infiniti EX35 Journey starts at $36,000, with a dealer invoice of $33,259. The oh-so-seemingly similar Nissan Rogue starts at $21,810 with a dealer invoice of $20,334. Prices are sourced from Infiniti (Nissan's luxury division), Nissan, Edmunds.com and Cars.com, an affiliate of The Washington Post.
Purse-strings note: Critics would be right to attack this review as a technical apples-to-oranges comparison. But we're still talking about fruit - in this case, two vehicles with similar external styling, especially in the rear quarters, and identical missions - to haul people and stuff. Frankly, I think the Nissan Rogue is a much, much better deal.
- Washington Post
Consider this week's test vehicle, the 2009 Infiniti EX35 Journey crossover utility wagon. It is a rear-wheel-drive machine with a wheelbase, or the center-line distance between the front and rear wheels, measuring 110.2 inches. Optional all-wheel drive is available.
The EX35 Journey has a fancy interior and a pretty powerful engine, a 3.5-liter, 297-horsepower V-6. The Nuts and Bolts crowd loves it.
But I can't muster affection for the thing. I tried. I really, truly, really tried on several long drives in the mid-Atlantic region. But in the end, I couldn't shake the feeling that the EX35 Journey is little more than a Nissan Rogue wearing a well-crafted tuxedo.
I know. The two vehicles are mechanically, technically different. The Rogue is front-wheel-drive, with an all-wheel-drive system sold optionally. It has a shorter wheelbase, 105.9 inches.
The Rogue's engine is the stuff of motoring economy - a 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower, inline four-cylinder model. It doesn't offer much excitement. But it delivers what is arguably decent mileage for a hauler of people and their stuff - 22 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
The EX35 Journey is little more than a Nissan Rogue wearing a well-crafted tuxedo. Washington Post
With its more powerful 3.5-liter V-6, you'd think that the EX35 Journey would offer more driving fun. But it doesn't. It feels just as pedestrian as the Rogue on the highway. You feel like you're in a family transport in the Rogue. You feel no different in the EX35 Journey. Except, you get lower mileage in the EX35 Journey - 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
If I'm going to get lower mileage, I want more of a thrill behind the wheel. If I'm spending more money to be in what is supposedly a luxury vehicle, I want to feel luxurious. Otherwise, why spend the extra money?
The EX35 Journey, like the Nissan Rogue, like the Toyota Venza and so many other crossover utility models, tries too hard to be too much to too many different people.
In the end, they're all the same - vehicles that should have been marketed as station wagons, because that's pretty much what they are.
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