For the last 10 years, Infiniti has had a strong presence in the luxury SUV/crossover business with its FX, EX and QX models.? The five-passenger FX is midsize, sporty, stylish and unlike any other crossover on the road.? The EX takes the same tact as the FX but with a smaller ?personal? size.? The luxurious QX is the largest of the Infiniti wagons, with a full-size seven-passenger capacity that qualifies it as the industry?s King of the Hill.? It is loaded with elegant appointments, is massive in size, overflowing with technology and offers an impressive level of performance.
The 2013 Infiniti JX35 enters its market segment much like previous Infiniti models with unique styling, innovative technology and an elegant flare.? While other Infiniti products have had more performance persona, the JX leans more toward function and economy.
The 2013 Infiniti JX35 is comparable in size and price to other crossovers like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, but through the magic of design it has nearly the same interior space as the huge QX56.
When time permits, and a new test vehicle compels, we like to plan a road trip.? The stars lined up when the new JX35 arrived, so we were off to Oregon?s Crater Lake to try the newest Infiniti.
From first glance, we have to give the JX gets high marks for styling, and our view was reinforced by the number heads we saw turning as we passed on the highways and in parking lots.? The JX may not be as unique in shape as the FX and QX models, but the long sleek look is distinctive with large smooth wheel flares and strong character lines.? The modified Infiniti family grille that visually attaches to the ?A? pillars with strong creases in the hood and the notched ?D? pillar gives it a distinctive look.
Inside the massive space is attractive, well executed and functional, plus it can actually hold seven people. ?Standard equipment includes posh leather seating and a full range of power equipment including the rear liftgate.? The second and third row seating folds flat to accommodate up to 76.5 cubic feet of cargo ? that?s a lot of recreational equipment or shopping treasures.? In addition, the second row seats have 5.5-inches of travel, so you can adjust for passengers or cargo as needed.? The JX also has multiple storage spaces including a large space under the rear cargo floor.
Infiniti?s award winning 3.5-liter V-6 engine powers the JX with 265 horsepower along with a sport tuned CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) that we think is the best in the business.? ?The JX is standard front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive as a $1,400 option.
We didn?t even realize we were driving a CVT until about halfway through our drive to Crater Lake.? When the transmission ?Sport? mode is selected, on the knob just to the rear of the console-mounted shifter, the transmission simulates shift points like a conventional automatic transmission.? When it?s in the ECO? or the standard mode it acts like a traditional CVT with no visible shifts. ??Combined, the efficient engine and the CVT put the EPA fuel economy numbers at 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.? We actually averaged 22.3 mpg on our trip to Crater Lake, and that included hills and the passing of slow-moving vehicles. ?The XJ takes 7.8 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph acceleration run, according to one of the buff magazines.
Styling, comfort and performance alone, would make the JX35 a standout, but what really sets it apart is the high level of available technology. ?For example, the Infiniti Connect telematics system provides easy-to-use navigation, but it also synchronizes automatically with your Google Calendar and then can even automatically generate directions to appointments listed on the calendar.
The Infiniti Connections and Connection Plus contain a grouping of telematics services and Personal Assistant that provide 24-hour access to a team of live professional assistance.? They provide Automatic Crash Notification, Emergency Call, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, stolen vehicle reporting, remote door lock and unlock, Alarm notification, Maintenance Alert, Schedule Maintenance Notification and the Google My Schedule collaboration.? It?s like having a spouse constantly reminding you of those things.
Safety and driver assist features include Around View? Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD); Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP); Blind Spot Intervention? (BSI) system; Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range); Distance Control Assist (DCA); Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Active Trace Control.? We love, love, love all these important features, and they would certainly sway our purchase decision.? These systems might sound a lot like science fiction, but we were amazed with how much easier they made driving, especially in traffic.
Another neat feature for parents with teen drivers is Drive Zone/Speed Alert, which can be used to establish boundaries to monitor where and what the young drivers are doing.? It can even play snitch by sending a text, e-mail or make a phone call to the parent when the teen driver has broken the rules.? It sounds devious, but it could save the life of someone you love.
One other important piece of available technology that comes with the Technology Package is the Backup Collision Intervention system that detects vehicles approaching from either side when you back up.? If the system sees a vehicle is moving into your path it flashes a light, makes a sound and presses back on the accelerator.? If that doesn?t work, it ultimately can apply the brakes.
The Infiniti JX35 FWD has a base price of $41,600, or $43,000 for the all-wheel drive.? Those prices include a great feature selection including leather seating, push-button ignition, three rows of seating, Bluetooth?, power moonroof, RearView monitor and all the power and convenience features we expect in a luxury vehicle. ?There are also four major package options: Technology, Theater, Deluxe Touring and Premium, which combined add an unbelievable level of ?wow? and ?ahh? features and $12,300 to the price.