2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD SUV (3.5L V6 AWD CVT Automatic)
Driven On 3/20/2012
The JX35 is a new direction for Infiniti. Forget fluid handling and pin-you-into-your-seat acceleration. The JX is about hauling seven people around in utmost comfort and quiet. Along with plenty of handy tech features and a well-engineered cabin.
PerformanceInfiniti is usually synonymous with performance, but the JX is more focused on people-hauling in comfort and quiet. In other words, don't expect FX-level acceleration and handling.
The V6 engine is smooth and reasonably quiet, especially at highway speeds. But there's never an abundance of power, and the rubber-bandy CVT masks this fine engine.
Linear brake feel around town, never abrupt response. It was a bit spongy-feeling during panic stops at the test track, but distances were shorter than average for the class.
The steering is syrupy and artificial in the way it builds effort off center. Plus there's too much power assist, giving very little sense of grip from front tires.
Lots and lots of body roll, as this suspension is soft and sloppy. As such, JX understeers even around slow turns. Not exactly a "sport" utility vehicle.
Even though we'd prefer a traditional automatic transmission over the CVT, the JX is a very easy-to-drive crossover. Aided by linear throttle and brakes, and light steering.
When properly equipped, the JX35 can tow up to 3,500 lb., same as the Lexus RX 350. The Acura MDX, on the other hand, can tow up to 5,000 lb.
Yes, you can get the JX35 with all-wheel drive. But that doesn't make it off-road-worthy.
ComfortIf you're looking for a quiet and comfortable people-mover, you may have just found your ride. The JX is exceptionally quiet and the ride is comfy. About our only complaint is that the seats could use softer foam.
Front seats are firm, but still comfortable. Second row also isn't super-plush, offers stadium seating. Third row has good head- and foot room but knees are up into your chest.
The smooth, even ride soaks up most bumps well. But there's a tautness to the ride that was unexpected, especially with the way the JX rolls through corners.
Minimal wind noise despite all the glass area. There's hardly any road noise whatsoever (very quiet tires). The CVT makes the engine operate at higher rpm than preferred.
InteriorIf you're familiar with the Infiniti M sedan, you'll be instantly comfortable with the JX. This is a luxurious, thoughtfully designed interior. Especially the easy access to the third row.
Most will love the JX's commmanding view of the road. The climate control system isn't perfectly intuitive. The audio system is easy to use and has a classy presentation.
Driver seat is perfect height for sliding in. Easy to hit head entering 2nd row. Meanwhile, the JX has one of the most accessible 3rd rows due to unique sliding/tilting 2nd row.
Plenty of headroom up front, very good elbow and shoulder room. Nice wide center armrest. Second-row seat slides back 5.5 inches. Even the third-row seat reclines. Thoughtful.
The JX has four pillars per side and lots of headrests trying to block the driver's view, plus a high beltline. The optional Around View Monitor definitely helps with parking.
Door pockets and front bin are very small. Very large center armrest bin and deep glovebox. 14 cupholders! Small cargo room behind 3rd row but huge max cargo.
ValueThe JX offers decent value at its base price, but once you start loading it up with options the flame flickers. Especially since you have to order everything in high-priced all-inclusive packages, since you can't get them individually.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Other than the hard plastic dash, the JX is full of fine leather and wood. The usual Infiniti quality is here in abundance. Above-average workmanship at average pricing.
Pretty much all the good active safety features come at a price--and a stiff one, at that. Our test vehicle had $12,300 in options.
The JX35 AWD starts at $42,650. Add in all of our test car's options, and suddenly it's a $55,000-plus machine. Still, it's in line with competitors.
The EPA rates the front-drive JX35 at 18 city/24 highway/21 mpg combined. The JX35 AWD at 18 city/23 highway/20 mpg combined. We averaged 17.8 mpg.
The JX comes with a 4-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, along with drivetrain coverage for 6 years/70,000 miles.
Roadside assistance for 4 years/60,000 miles, which is just slightly better mileagewise than the rival Acura MDX. Neither vehicle offers free maintenance.
Fun To DriveHonestly, the JX isn't fun to drive in the least. The only way this Infiniti SUV could be perceived as fun is because you can carry so many kids with ease and in total comfort.
It's not a "driving experience" in the usual Infiniti way. But it's postive in terms of a smooth-riding, comfortable and utterly quiet driving experience.
Again, not much of a personality going on here. It gets the job done of hauling people around, but it just does the job, without any flair whatsoever.
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