2013 Infiniti JX35: Commuter Car?
April 24, 2013
I had to go to the Bay Area and was handed the keys to one of my favorite cars: the 2013 Infiniti JX35. I felt a bit wasteful driving alone in the big luxury SUV, but I enjoyed using the advanced technology systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.
On the way north I took the scenic Highway 101 up through Santa Barbara. But on the way back I had to leave San Francisco during rush hour and took the Bay Bridge to Interstate 5. I found myself in traffic that was going from about 5 mph to 65 mph and back again. Here's what I learned about the adaptive cruise control.
It's hard to trust.
Yes, it will brake as aggressively as needed to keep from hitting the car in front. And it will take your speed all the way down to zero. But it's so hard to turn such a vital function as braking over to an unseen radar system. In truth, it probably does a better job than most humans. For one thing, it's never distracted. But this human couldn't keep his foot off the brake.
Here's another typical scenario that I wanted to test. The radar keeps the JX at an established distance from the car in front. This distance is somewhat adjustable but even on the closest setting there is space between the Infiniti and the car in front. California drivers don't like spaces. When a car pulls into this space the Infiniti doesn't overreact, it just cuts power until the space is reestablished.
The lane departure warning system is nice but, in truth, you begin not to notice the beeps that alert you to going out of the lane. Partly, this is because the striping is so narrow the beeps are going off all the time.
I liked these systems so much that if I were a commuter, driving in stop-and-go traffic every day, I would buy a car with these features. Over time I think it would cut driver fatigue and might help reduce rear-end collisions.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 18,785 miles