2013 Infiniti JX35: I Like this Car
June 29, 2012
Ford Flex notwithstanding, three-row crossovers aren't exactly my bag. Don't need 'em, don't want 'em, can't foresee the day when I'd have more than one kid plus a Mastiff to lug about.
Having said that, I like the JX35. Yes it's front-drive-based and has a CVT when other Infinitis do not. Who cares? It's a proven powertrain we've enjoyed in Nissan's Altima, Maxima, Quest and Murano. No, it doesn't handle as well as other Infinitis or its main competitor, the Acura MDX. Who cares? It's not a lumbering pig either, and its steering is responsive enough to make you feel connected to the road. I don't feel tiny in the JX as I do in the Explorer, nor does this Infiniti seven-seater feel 8,000 pounds like an Audi Q7.
What I do care about is the legitimate amount of space in all three rows. If you're going to have a giant crossover with three rows and seven seats, they damn well better be useful. Too many large luxury SUVs are all size and weight, with less practical benefit than you'd expect. What I do care about is the Infiniti infotainment interface, which has to be the easiest to use on the planet. Physical buttons, a multi-purpose knob and a touchscreen create useful redundancy that gives the driver a choice of how he wants to accomplish any given task, while at the same time not being overwhelming.
I've yet to take the JX35 on a road trip, so I'm eager to experience its ride and the long-term comfort of its seats. Also, how will that slower-than-average engine handle the hills and grades that pepper California? I'll have to wait and see, but for now, I like this car.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor