2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD Review - Video

The world’s best minivan alternative

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2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD Review - Video
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The JX35 is the first three-row mid-sized crossover by Infiniti, and while an original in that sense it certainly carries on many of the brand’s best known traits: from style, to technology, to a practical price point.

FAST FACTS

1. Competing against the Acura MDX and BMW X5, the JX35 starts at $40,650 for FWD or $42,050 for AWD.

2. The JX35 has class-leading passenger and rear cargo volume, with a 2nd row passenger side seat that provides access to the 3rd row, even with a baby seat installed.

3. The new crossover SUV is equipped with extensive safety and security features, including industry firsts such as Backup Collision Intervention and Around View Monitor systems.

CONVENIENT PERFORMANCE

Available with two drivetrains, the FWD at $40,650 and the AWD at $42,050, fuel economy is rated at 18/24-mpg and 18/23-mpg respectively.

Under the hood, the JX35 houses a 3.5L V6 engine with CVT transmission making 265-hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Hitting the throttle on our tester, the results were less-than-impressive. Infiniti, after all, has a reputation for driving performance in the luxury set that’s just shy of BMW. Then again, perhaps our expectations were too high for a 4,200 lb family car.

With no major performance frills power is, however, adequate. And with the twist of the Drive Mode Selector, with options like Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow, the JX can accommodate most any driving style and road condition. The system simply adjusts throttle response and “shifting” on the CVT transmission to maximize the vehicles performance. It’s hard to recommend anything but the Sport mode, even for daily driving.

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BOLD, BEAUTIFUL AND BIG

There is no denying that the JX35 has road presence, from the stylized chrome grille to the crescent shaped rear pillars. Infiniti has always done an amazing job with body design and looking good is easily one of the JX’s strongest points.

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Functionality also comes in to play, with the front-facing camera uniquely hidden within the Infiniti emblem.

Drive lighting is literally amplified with standard HIDs, bi-functional xenon headlights with manual levelizers with Smart Beam technology and LED taillights. And let’s not forget the standard 21-inch wheels.

Looking sharp and new is not a problem for the JX35, while at the same time the style is just subtle enough that it will age gracefully.

SHUTTLING IN FIRST CLASS

Though Infiniti's new entry into the market looks like an SUV, the truthful feeling is that of a souped-up mini-van. Adding to the luxuries of standard keyless entry and a push button start, the interior is laid-out to accommodate seven passengers in luxurious leather with easy access to the third row thanks to a 2nd row passenger seat that can slide and tilt forward, even with a child seat attached.

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Combining upscale cabin comfort with updated touchscreen technology, the JX35 is a product that spares no cost at affording best in class features for its buyers. Whether it's the end of the day at the beach or gearing-up for a few runs down the mountain, for an additional $350 a Remote Engine Start System can accommodate interior warming and cooling, allowing JX owners to make their ride just the way they like it.

The brand has also added other ambitious items like a standard power rear-liftgate as well as second and third-row moonroofs. However, for passengers in the 3rd row, there might be a real a sense of claustrophobic discomfort because of the cagey space. Better than many rivals, if there’s any one reason not to call the JX a minivan, it’s this.

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SAFETY FEATURES

Packed with safety aids, a feature on our tester that might be some salvation for frequent "road-texters" is the Distance Control Assist (DCA), which uses a combination of laser sensors as well as the throttle and brake actuators, alerting the driver to ease off the throttle while applying braking in slowing traffic. While the JX won’t do all the driving for you (as tempting as that might be), these aids do come in handy in the most unexpected driving scenarios.

Backing out of the driveway just got safer too, with the help of Infiniti’s Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) system, which detects crossing vehicles and objects behind the SUV. And if necessary, the BCI will apply the brakes to avoid a collision. The downfall of this system, however, is that it’s more intended as an alert, prompting you to apply the brakes yourself, because if you don’t, after a second the car will begin to naturally roll backwards again.

Perhaps most handy for day-to-day chores is the Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection. When the JX35 is getting ready to roll or back up into a spot, the system shows a full 360-degree view around the car and can even detect moving objects crossing the front or rear of the vehicle, delivering visual and audible warnings to the driver.

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THE VERDICT

In many ways a minivan on the inside, in this case that’s a big compliment, with plenty of space and utility wrapped inside an incredibly attractive package. And with such an attractive price, in the luxury SUV and crossover segment, there are few reasons, if any, to look elsewhere.

LOVE IT
  • Innovative safety technology
  • Attention-grabbing exterior
  • Family functionality
LEAVE IT
  • Third-row still tight
  • Underwhelming engine
  • Minivan feel

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