Full 2013 Infiniti JX Review
What's New for 2013
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.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
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, a forward collision warning system with automatic brake assist, a rear cross-traffic warning and back-up collision intervention system (automatically applies braking if the driver doesn't take action), a blind spot warning system, 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 a lane departure warning and prevention system, as well as blind spot intervention (applies braking if the JX approaches another vehicle detected in its blind spot) to the Driver Assistance package features.
Powertrains and Performance
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 traditional transmission with fixed ratios. 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 8.2 seconds -- not a terrible result for a three-row SUV, but still more than 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 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/24 mpg highway), while all-wheel-drive models are rated slightly lower at 20 mpg combined.
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. In Edmunds brake testing, the JX35 stopped from 60 mph in 117 feet, a shorter than average distance for this type of vehicle.
The Infiniti Connection telematics service includes automatic collision notification, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle location and speed and geo-fencing notifications. Also optional are front and rear parking sensors, a lane-departure warning and prevention system, blind-spot warning (with an automatic intervention feature when the Technology package is equipped), a 360-degree-view parking camera system and automatic frontal and back-up collision mitigation systems.
To help avoid frontal collisions, the forward collision mitigation system 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. The back-up collision intervention system uses radar and the JX's parking sensors to detect approaching vehicles (as well as objects behind your vehicle) when you have the transmission in Reverse. Potential collision situations trigger audible warnings followed by automatic brake application.
In government crash tests, the 2013 JX earned an overall four out of five stars. In frontal crash tests, the driver position scored five stars and the front passenger just three. In side-crash tests, the JX earned five stars for both the front and rear passenger. The 2013 Infiniti JX earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest "Good" rating for both side-impact and moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
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 pamper, not perform. This becomes clear the first time you drive the JX through a turn with any spirit, as the tires offer only modest grip and the body leans noticeably. The JX is clearly not cut from the same handling cloth as the FX crossovers or Q sedans.
But in reality, that's just fine. 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 doesn't have the quick-shifting, precision feel that we expect for transmissions normally used in this class.