By Jack R. Nerad, Executive Editorial Director, KBB.com - Updated Date: 5/24/2012
The all-new 2013 Infiniti JX35 was designed to fill a gap in the luxury market for families who need a vehicle with 7-passenger capacity, but who don’t want a minivan. While 3-row crossovers are common offerings of most non-luxury brands, they are relatively rare in the luxury segment, so Infiniti feels it has a big opportunity. The Acura MDX and Audi Q7 are the market leaders among luxury 3-row crossovers, and the new JX has competitive advantages to match up well versus either of them. On the safety and convenience fronts – both vital areas to crossover customers – the JX offers valuable innovations.You'll Like This Car If...
If you are looking for a 3-row vehicle that looks great outside and in, is filled with amenities and has an uncommon level of safety features, the Infiniti JX should be on your shopping list.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you are a fan of the conventional SUV choice, the Acura MDX and Audi Q7 are 3-row crossovers that have been in the market longer than the JX.What's New for 2013
The Infiniti JX is all-new for the 2013 model year, and a noble addition to the Infiniti stable of SUVs and crossovers that also includes the FX and QX.Driving It Driving Impressions
Nobody will buy a 3-row crossover to enjoy high-performance fun, but the 2013 Infiniti JX accelerates and handles better than it needs to. The 265-horsepower 3.5-liter dual overhead cam V6 is not the most powerful engine in the segment, but it is both smooth and capable. Rather than employing a conventional automatic transmission with seven or eight forward speeds, Infiniti engineers opted for a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a favorite in the Nissan product bin. Fuel efficiency is its best attribute. The all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of the JX35 turns in 23 mpg Highway, 18 mpg City and 20 mpg Combined Environmental Protection Agency fuel-efficiency ratings. Quiet and comfort are hallmarks of the JX’s ride, and the Around View video monitor does an excellent job of depicting where you are in relationship to other objects near the vehicle, making backing up and parking a snap.Favorite Features
One of the 2013 JX35’s most innovative features is a system called Backup Collision Intervention. The JX alerts you if something is behind you while you’re in reverse, and after the warnings, if you don’t stop the vehicle, it stops itself, averting a potentially life-threatening situation.
INTELLIGENT CRUISE CONTROL/DISTANCE CONTROL ASSIST
While some form of intelligent cruise control isn’t all that rare on today’s luxury vehicles, the Distance Control Assist function is. In the Infiniti JX, it prompts the driver to release the throttle and applies the brakes in slowing traffic even if the driver is not paying as much attention as he should be.
Designers of the 2013 Infiniti JX started with the idea that a 3-row luxury crossover should actually welcome all seven passengers. The second row offers 5.5-inches of fore and aft travel that allows you to dial up the proper mix of legroom and cargo-carrying capacity, and the fore-and-aft adjustment and innovative second-row seat design enable uncommonly easy access to the third-row. In fact, you can even enter the rear-most row with a child safety seat deployed in the second row, which is nearly impossible in other luxury 3-row SUVs. There is no skimping on luxury electronics either. The 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround sound system is accompanied by the Infiniti Connection telematics system that syncs to the driver’s schedule via Google Calendar.Exterior
The 2013 JX is so commodious, you might expect it to have a dull, utilitarian SUV shape, but that is not the case. It has distinctive, interesting exterior lines while at the same time providing a flat platform floor that enhances roominess in the second and third rows. While the new JX isn’t quite as cleanly tailored as the competitive Audi Q7, it is far more subdued than the Acura MDX.Notable Standard Equipment
As an Infiniti, even a “base” JX is extremely well-equipped. Among the key standard mechanical items is the sport-tuned continuously variable transmission with manual-shift mode and Sport mode, which mimics a step transmission, and the Infiniti Drive Mode Selector that offers standard, sport, snow and “eco” settings that alter throttle response and transmission mapping based on conditions.Notable Optional Equipment
The JX is chock-full of electronic driver aids. The Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention systems use a camera installed behind the windshield to detect lane markers in front of the vehicle. If you are in danger of an unintended lane departure, they get your attention with a visual indicator and audible buzzer. If you don’t heed the warnings the prevention system guides you back in your lane with a gentle application of the brakes on the opposite side of the drift. The JX also can be equipped with a Blind Spot Warning system, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control and Distance Control Assist. When equipped with all these systems plus Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, you might get the impression is that the 2013 Infiniti JX will essentially drive itself. Not true, but it is about as close to that as any vehicle we’ve driven.Under the Hood
For 2013, the Infiniti JX offers one powertrain: the highly-regarded 3.5-liter V6 engine with the CVT transmission. The engine is smooth and powerful enough that you always feel the JX has enough acceleration, and you can flip on the CVT’s step-gear simulation if you get bored.
2013 Infiniti JX35
265 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (front-wheel drive), 18/23 mpg (AWD)
With a base price of about $40,000 for a front-wheel-drive version, the 2013 Infiniti JX is well-positioned against competitors like the Acura MDX and Audi Q7. Since all-wheel drive is just $1,100 more, we expect many buyers will opt for it. All of the JX technological goodies do come at a price, though. Equipment Packages like the Premium (about $5,000), Technology ($3,100) and Theater ($1,700) can send the loaded MSRP well over $50,000, but even at that price the JX offers good value in the segment. We also expect that it will score high in retained value, and we predict its looks will remain fresh for years to come.