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Infiniti puts its fluid, curvy design on a new seven-passenger SUV loaded with sophisticated tech comforts. Just don't expect the new JX to perform like others in the brand.
Easy access to roomy third row; plenty of high-tech safety and creature comforts; plush ride quality.
Continuously variable transmission slows acceleration and performance; restrictive options packages.
Available JX SUV Models
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The 2013 Infiniti JX is an all-new model.
First we wondered why Infiniti needed another three-row SUV in its lineup. It seemed like one behemoth tugboat hauler -- the V8-powered QX model -- was enough. But the 2013 Infiniti JX is a new endeavor altogether. Simply, Infiniti grew tired of watching competitors like Acura, Buick and Lexus siphon off customers looking for a family-friendly luxury crossover.
Stretched longer and wider over the Nissan Murano platform underneath, the Infiniti JX hits all the sweet spots for active parenting. It seats seven and features second-row seats that tilt and slide nearly 6 inches forward and back, offering plenty of legroom and making third-row access a breeze. Combined passenger and cabin space is generous, and the interior features top-grade materials. The JX also features Infiniti's latest safety advances, including systems that help you avoid blind-spot collisions or incidents while backing up.
In its quest for respectable fuel economy, however, Infiniti has hampered the JX with a V6/transmission combination that offers adequate power at best. Performance is sleepy and uninspired from the driver seat. The new safety technologies, while impressive, are pricey and bundled into complicated option packages. Buyers simply seeking a roomy luxury crossover will find the 2013 Infiniti JX a pleasing choice, but we'd also recommend checking out the sportier Acura MDX, the more affordable Buick Enclave or the recently improved Lincoln MKT.
The 2013 Infiniti JX is a seven-passenger SUV offered in one well-appointed style, the JX35. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, foglights, LED taillights, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, a power liftgate and keyless entry/ignition. Standard interior features include leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, a six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a central display screen, a rearview camera and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and iPod/USB interface.
Options for the JX35 include a Premium package, which features driver seat memory and power lumbar, a 360-degree parking camera system, front and rear parking sensors, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, a hard-drive navigation system with real-time traffic and weather, a larger touchscreen display, voice-activated controls, Bluetooth streaming audio and the Infiniti Connection telematics service.
The Theater package adds a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, while the Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, forward and rear collision warning, intelligent brake assist, blind spot warning, a heated steering wheel and remote start. Both packages require the Premium package.
The Deluxe Touring package requires the Theater package (but can't be had with the Driver Assistance package) and adds 20-inch wheels, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, an advanced climate control system with air filtration, and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
Finally, the Technology package (requires Deluxe Touring package) adds lane departure warning and prevention as well as blind spot intervention (applies braking if the JX approaches another vehicle detected in the blind spot) to the Driver Assistance package features.
The 2013 Infiniti JX35 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the only available transmission, and features a Sport mode that can mimic a stepped transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional.
In Edmunds testing, a JX35 equipped with all-wheel drive dashed from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds -- not a terrible result for a three-row SUV, but still a full second slower than rivals like the Acura MDX and all-wheel-drive Lexus RX 350.
The front-wheel-drive JX returns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined, while all-wheel-drive models are rated at 18/23/20 mpg.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Infiniti JX35 include antilock disc brakes, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and traction control and stability control. The Infiniti Connection telematics service includes automatic collision notification, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle location and speed and geo-fencing notifications. A lane-departure warning and prevention system is optional, as are blind-spot warning, a 360-degree camera view and intelligent brake assist.
The latter uses the laser range finder from the adaptive cruise control to analyze closing speeds to an obstacle ahead. If a forward collision is imminent, the system sounds a warning to prompt driver action and can automatically apply the brakes at up to 0.5g, which is equivalent to just short of a panic stop. The system can also prompt the driver to act and apply braking if necessary if vehicles enter the JX's path while in reverse.
In Edmunds brake testing, the JX35 stopped from 60 mph in a respectable 117 feet.
Flexible seating is one of the JX's hallmark features. The second row tilts and slides 5.5 inches fore and aft, allowing passengers to reach and exit the third row with ease, even with a child seat installed in the second row. The third row offers enough headroom for 6-foot passengers, but clearance gets a little tight beyond that. Both second- and third-row seatbacks also recline.
Cabin room is generous, and there's 76.5 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded. That interior volume is wrapped in a rich combination of leather, wood and metal accents. This is a classy Infiniti interior in every way, including a center stack and console that appear taken from the M sedan -- a worthy donor. Infiniti's electronics interface is one of the best available, as its combination of physical buttons, a touchscreen and a rotary knob make it easy to accomplish tasks. We also like the optional 360-degree camera system, as its top-down view of the vehicle in relation to its surroundings is useful when it comes time to park.
The 2013 Infiniti JX is a slight departure for the brand, an SUV made to cushion, not perform. This becomes clear the first time you push the JX into a corner with any spirit. The front end doesn't accept such commands kindly, responding with mushy steering while leaning and swaying its way through the turn. The JX is clearly not cut from the same handling cloth as the FX crossovers or G sedans.
And that's OK. The JX serves a different master: one who values a plush ride, a wide safety net and moving families with style and ease. Our only major gripe is with the CVT. Although it helps the JX achieve good fuel economy, it hinders acceleration and feels slightly unrefined for this class.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.
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