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SUV Showdown: Infiniti FX50 Vs Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, Part 3

It’s time to move on from ridiculous hoonage back to the real world (for now). After the canyons and the empty streets of California City came miles of long, straight highway.

Tim: Were I asked to drive cross-country in the FX, I’d do it in a heartbeat. The seats are heated and cooled, the nav/audio is top-notch and the 7-speed auto gives a nice, tall overdrive that’ll cruise at 90 and still deliver high-teens MPG. Not bad. A minor complaint: even with shocks out of “Sport” mode, the ride has an unnecessary sharpness, alerting you to every tiny imperfection in the pavement.

Rob: While its incredible power-on-demand makes the Jeep the preferred highway fighter in my book, I actually prefer the FX for distance driving when taking comfort into consideration. The Infiniti’s seats not only offer more padding than the Jeep, but Infiniti has put that padding in the right places. And befitting its significantly higher price the Japanese contender has more adjustments including rheostat-controlled seat heaters and coolers where as the Jeep is only able to keep your buns warm.

Other features play in the Jeep’s favor, including one of the best audio/nav systems in the business, and the trippiest trip computer performance monitor around. The FX marvels with cameras on each side, providing a top-down view while parked that is wicked cool.

Tim: The top-down camera view is a cool gimmick, but it was never detailed enough for me. Anything closer than about 10 inches, or with a partial shadow on it was impossible to gauge. I’ll use my eyes and the mirrors, thanks.

I was kind “meh” on the Jeep’s AV gettup, but I think that had more to do with my refusal to RTFM and my limited time with it. Unfortunately, I have a very real complaint: the display disappears in direct sunlight, particularly if you’ve got polarized shades on. The FX’s screen is recessed in the dash, so it’s less of an issue.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Seats

Again, total agreement on the seats. I was shocked and dismayed at the lack of bolstering, support or adjustability on the Jeep’s chairs. If you’re gonna make special seats for the special go-fast version, the least you could do is match the feature set from my dad’s ’88 Mustang GT. Most luxury interior features fail to impress me, but the cooled seats in the FX, well, I’d gladly pay extra for those.

And this is where the price difference between them really starts to show. The Jeep runs about $49k and the Infiniti stickers for about $63k. It seems $15 grand gets you a vehicle where someone thought the whole thing through, while the Jeep feels a bit more like a check list. Big engine? Check. Big stereo? Check. Custom seats with that suede stuff you kids think is cool? Check.

But to be clear, it’s not like the Jeep is really deficient as a vehicle, it’s just that the Infiniti is better. I guess the next question is whether it’s $15k better.

Jeff chimes in: It is $15,000 better from a real world standpoint. The seats are more comfortable, the audio system is better, it gets better fuel mileage, it carves canyons like a (big ass) knife, and it has more than ample power.

The Infiniti FX50s is a daily-driving luxury rocket. The Jeep is a muscle car that shops at the Big N’ Tall store. It is a blast to drive, even more fun than the Infiniti in short bursts. However the Infiniti is a complete package, whereas the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is almost all engine. I am not saying that’s a bad thing – in fact it’s great to see a car company build a vehicle like that, I just believe I could be happier for a longer period of time with the Infiniti.

Tim: Fine, I’m not going to argue that you’re getting $15k worth of difference between the Jeep and the Infiniti. But I’m not sure you could get me to pay the difference. The Jeep’s got more room, more utility and it’s faster 90% of the time. For 15 large, you could get a spare car to run the canyons better than either of these. Besides, the Jeep’s plebeian origins are a plus for me, as I know I’ll be able to fix and maintain it for years to come. Not the case with a luxury marque like Infiniti.

I can see the FX making sense in a more formal environment, one where the Jeep is simply too boorish. After all, we can’t wear muscle tees everywhere. That said, the non-German brand and outré styling on the Infiniti might not fly with the typical country club set. Then again, the X6 and CLS are big sellers, so the styling can’t be that big a stumbling block.

Jeff: You’ve just hit the nail on the head…the Infiniti is the car you marry, but the Jeep is your mistress.

Tim: Funny you put it that way, because to me the Jeep’s more the keeper. The Jeep’s not the most graceful or fashionable, but the FX is the classy ladder-climber who’ll leave you broke in the end. The Jeep’s a bit low-brow, but as long as we live in a world with stop lights and on ramps, she’ll never stop being fun.

Press play for our final walk-through and a declaration of the clear winner here.

Yup, so that’s it. In all seriousness, when it’s time to draw a clear winner from the pair, it can’t be done. The Jeep’s cheaper and faster in a straight line, but the Infiniti’s the more refined all-around-er. Both offer fun by the ton, just in slightly different flavors. There are certainly no losers here.

Before we go, we must give a shout out to super #1 Best Friends of Hooniverse Will Novy and Luis Leaño. They tagged along though some ridiculous canyon driving and braved 40+ mph sandblasting winds to get us the footage you see today. They had a great eye for great shots to get, and then edited it all down to something that’s actually worth watching. Just as important, they’re easy to work with. Second thanks goes to Mark Novy, who took many of the pictures you see here.

Lastly, be sure to check out the flickr set of all the shots from the trip, here.

[Click through to Part 1 and Part 2 of our SUV Showdown]

  • Excellent write-up. Incredible video.

    It appears in conclusion that both are Sport Vehicles offering more utility than a sport sedan. Built for haulin gear and haulin ass!

  • Many 'grats and salutations for an enjoyable and informative review series! I can't wait for the next one. How 'bout you schedule a press car/event in KY so I can lend the Moron's Perspective?

    Your conclusions were interesting… the tone of the first two had me expecting the FX to earn a decisively crushing victory. Hooray for objectivity (and $15K) evening things out – a refreshing change from most reviews.

    I'd probably take the Jeep, myself. The FX may be capable but for that kind of coin on a country-club thrasher, you'd be afraid to eff it dirty. The Jeep practically demands it.

  • When I first saw this comparison on Wednesday, I thought, "Seriously, an Infinity FX? WTF?"

    Now, I am actually sold on the idea. Insofar as sold mean I will now look twice when I see one in traffic or parking lot.

    • I was in the same boat, but I was driving it.

      The first few combinations of lots of wheel and lots of pedal left me going "…whaaaa? how?".

  • Great work lads!

    Which would I pick? Probably a clean, low mileage Trailblazer SS (or better yet, a mechanically-identical 9-7x Aero) and use the dough leftover on upgrades (exhaust, wheels & tires, brakes, supercharger, etc.).

    What?

  • I was telling Jeff the exact same thing.

  • I was not sure what to expect at all, but this is definitely a good direction for Hooniverse Reviews/Comparos.

    This series made me smile, and left me much more informed.

  • This is the perfect article for a day when Brent Crude just broke $84 a barrel. That means these cars will be worth LeMons money in no time.

  • Nice job all of you!

    The whole time you were complaining about how deficient the SRT8 interior is to the FX's I was thinking, "Yeah, but the FX is a fair bit more expensive." Way to save yourself, there! I had that complaint when mags ripped on the G8 GXP for using cheaper materials compared to the M5.

    For the price, you'd have a hard time doing better than the SRT8 unless your commute includes a rally stage. However, that begs a different question…the one that Mad_Science pointed out yesterday. Would you choose an SRT8 over a Magnum SRT8, or any other souped up wagon? In fact, would you take the FX50s over a CTS-V wagon? As far as the second question goes, I'd probably choose the Caddy. As far as the first question, I might stick with the Jeep.

    • One enormous reason I would choose the Caddy: availability of a manual transmission. Since the sedan has it, I would assume the wagon has it, and that's a big deal in my book on a performance car.

    • I have a hard time seriously considering shopping for a vehicle in the $60-70 grand segment.

      That said, were I shopping for ass-and-people haulers in that range, I'd go 535xi wagon (which you can theoretically get with a stick) or CTS-V wagon (also available w/6MT). Audi's not currently offering S-wagons.

      So, while greatly enjoy the FX50s, I'd have a hard time buying one, given the alternatives. But…I certainly wouldn't fault anyone for having one.

      …although, color-wise, I strongly recommend going for brown ("mocha") or black over WTF Orange.

      • I forgot to tell you… saw a black 535 wagon the other day with black wheels… it looked scrumtrulesent

      • I'd have to have a hell of a lot more money than I do now before I could even consider a $60k car. Hell, It's a bit of stretch to consider a $30k car for me at this point.

        Of course, my next car will be used, under $20k, but will probably have started life with a sticker at least double that.

  • Wow, you guys almost have me talked into wanting an FX.

  • Really great write-up guys…! I looked forward to each day's installment. The subject vehicles were similar enough to justify a comparo, yet different enough to make the outcome of the side-by-side interesting to read. And that summary video was super-polished and very watchable. Definitely holding your own with the pro sites…!

  • This format is great guys! Keep up the good work!
    I love the back and forth discussion of each vehicles merits. Also, love the fact that you guys went out of your way to make a great unique review.

    My only suggestion is that next time when posting the final part to the series you post links at the end to the earlier parts. 😉

    Also invite me next time! I'm not afraid to get dirty! 😀

  • Drew

    You can always add power to the FX, but adding comfort and reliability to the Jeep?

  • Evan

    When I purchased my 2012 FX50S I was deciding between these 2. The FX ended up with a lower drive out than the Jeeps selling price. The Jeep dealer was selling the Jeep for 5K OVER sticker. If you look at the sticker prices, yes the Jeep is less expensive. However when you go to buy one the Jeep becomes pricier due to "market adjusted value"…. Just saying the Jeep isn't actually cheaper. Plus the sticker on them is never 49K. It starts out at over 60K with the destination fee.

    I bought the FX and am taking it to get worked on with the money I ended up saving between it and the Jeep.