- Jul 31, 2013
AOL Autos Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti JX35
The Infiniti JX35 is an all-new 7-passenger luxury crossover competing in a segment of vehicles that contains the likes of the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Lincoln MKT and Volvo XC90. The JX is the only 7-passenger crossover offering from Infiniti.
This big, cushy crossover looks to provide a safe, comfortable vehicle for the more affluent family. According to Infiniti, the JX has been produced to "excel in the areas that luxury crossover buyers desire most – interior flexibility and roominess, safety, and advanced hospitality features."
Does the JX accomplish all that it has sent out to do? And could it do so without abandoning the company's "Inspired Performance" tagline? I drove the JX around the city for a week to find out.
MSRP: $40,650 - $42,050
Invoice: $37,651 - $38,943
-3.5L V6 engine
-265 hp, 248 lb-ft of torque
-Xtronic 2-spd CVT w/OD
-18 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway
-76.5 cu. ft. max cargo capacity
What We Like
Michael: This car is priced very aggressively, with a base MSRP of $40,450. This undercuts its competitors Acura MDX ($43,030), Lincoln MKT ($45,285) and Audi Q7 ($46,800) by quite a bit. The only other 7-passenger luxury vehicle that it doesn't beat is the decade-old Volvo XC90, which comes in just below the JX at $39,500. For that price, buyers get lots of standard features like a leather interior with heated seats, a rear backup camera and tons of safety equipment.
Additional features like navigation, 13-speaker Bose sound system, Driver Assistance Package and Intelligent Cruise Control add to the sticker, but even my fully loaded JX came in at just over $51,000.
Agreeable, too, is the interior space. Headroom is great up front and the second row is spacious with more legroom then lots of people may ever need. Third row is a little more cramped, but frankly, that's par for the course when it comes to 7-passenger crossovers.
Autoblog: Second-row seating, which Infiniti says is more accommodating than a Cadillac Escalade, is comfortable for adults. The automaker has ensured that the third-row is easy to access with an innovative rail and pivot system on the right seat that moves the bottom cushion up and out of the way. It will even do so with a child seat strapped in place. There is technically more legroom back there than in the Acura MDX or Audi Q7, but nobody is going to call it roomy even with the second-row slid forward six inches.
What We Don't Like
Michael: There wasn't much about the JX that I didn't like, but I'm not sure about Nissan's decision to use the 3.5L V6 with this big, heavy vehicle. It has likely improved fuel economy, but it seems to struggle moving the JX's mass with any kind of urgency, especially when going uphill. Drivers of the JX may have some dicey experiences when merging onto the freeway using shorter on-ramps, but all in all, I can appreciate the bump in fuel economy. Although it's still not great, its combined 20 mpg is better than most big CUVs out there.
Autoblog: The non-adjustable suspension isn't engineered to be sporty and the standard all-season tires aren't designed for tenacious grip. Nevertheless, abrupt steering inputs (e.g., avoidance maneuvers) were easy to control but replete with significant understeer. We would have preferred more suspension travel in the crossover, as the JX reacted harshly to severe potholes and/or large dips in the road. At one point, the Infiniti bottomed-out its suspension when we encountered one deep dip at highway speeds.
It's certainly not a performance CUV and the engine isn't superb, but all in all, the JX35 is an enticing buy, given its aggressive starting MSRP and long list of available features. It's very roomy, comfortable, quiet and gets relatively decent – but not great – fuel economy. All in all, I think that the JX is a solid buy for the family looking to add some luxury to their lives. If you're thinking about picking one up, I'd recommend opting for the Premium Package and Driver Assistance Package to make this vehicle truly complete with some great infotainment and safety features. The MSRP isn't going to be near its low starting point, but I think you'll find it's a solid investment.
"Inspired Performance" it is not, but, overall, this is a competent, comfortable vehicle.
AOL Autos Score: