Since its inception, Infiniti has been ruthlessly chasing and relentlessly copying the success and strategy of the German carmakers. BMW and Mercedes offer a rear-drive sedan. So does Infiniti. BMW offers a performance SUV; so does Infiniti. Mercedes offers a seven-seat, supersize SUV; so does Infiniti.
The 2013 Infiniti JX, however, is different. None of the Germans -- not BMW, not Audi, not Mercedes -- offer a front-wheel-drive, seven-seat luxury crossover. Instead, this is the territory of the Buick Enclave, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia and Mazda CX-9. Nice cars all, but not luxury vehicles. What's a well-to-do parent of three to do?
What We Got
Traditionally with a car like this, we start by making a disclaimer that goes something like, "We live in Southern California where there's no weather; we would have bought the front-wheel-drive version to save cash, weight and fuel."
But that's not the case with the 2013 Infiniti JX. The AWD version is only $1,100 more and it returns the same 18 mpg in the city and only gives up 1 mpg on the highway (23 vs. 24 for the FWD version). And it's only 139 pounds heavier. For a 4,419-pound seven-seat crossover, 139 pounds is nothing. It's just another kid and his hockey gear crammed in the back. Opting for AWD on the JX is a no-brainer, so it's actually closer to its German rivals than its spec sheet says.
If you think it's odd that we skipped straight to driven wheels and didn't mention the power source, it's because Infiniti only offers one engine on the 2013 JX: a 3.5-liter 265-horsepower V6. This is backed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that, as we've previously discussed, sends the power to all four wheels.
Before options and a $950 destination fee, this is a $41,550 crossover. It comes standard with heated leather seats, Bluetooth, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 7-inch color information screen with Infiniti Controller, power-sliding sunroof with one-touch open and close, tri-zone automatic climate control, rearview monitor and keyless entry and ignition. With all of this, the 2013 Infiniti JX35 was feeling like a bargain, but we added some options to try some of its high-tech toys out for the year.
First up is the $3,100 Technology package. It includes back-up collision intervention, heated steering wheel, remote start, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, blind spot warning and intervention, lane departure warning and prevention and all-speed intelligent cruise control. Most of these features are not ones we'd prefer to have on our own vehicle, but they are getting more and more common and, with the state of NHTSA today we can see them being mandatory at some point down the line. It's best to have them to evaluate than to continue to pretend that automation isn't creeping into our vehicles.
Next up was the Theater package to help calm the little ones, as this big crossover is almost certainly going to be a road-trip favorite. It runs $1,700 and includes dual 7-inch monitors mounted in the back of each front seat, two pairs of wireless headphones, aux inputs and headphone jacks.
Finally, we rounded things out with the Deluxe Touring package and the Premium package for $2,550 and $4,950, respectively. These added 20-inch wheels, a Bose stereo, advanced climate control, heated second-row seats, rain-sensing wipers, hard-drive-based navigation, an 8-inch display screen, voice recognition, NavTraffic, Around View monitor with moving object detection and front and rear sonar, a more advanced Bose stereo, streaming Bluetooth audio, lumbar adjust and an enhanced intelligent key.
Again, these options aren't necessities, but having them allows us to review them even if they boosted the as-tested price to a more German-like $54,800. Infiniti provided this vehicle for our Long-Term test, so there was no room to haggle it down any cheaper.
Why We Got It
Road Test Editor Mike Monticello doesn't beat around the bush. Not in person, and not in reviews. Just read the introduction to his 2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD Full Test.
If you don't have the time, here's the kicker: "Infiniti has a gender problem. A severe gender problem. For the most part, its products are bought by guys, while all the girls are across the street buying Acuras and Lexuses. If Infiniti is going to grow, it needs to attract more women to the brand."
So the 2013 Infiniti JX35 was designed with a broader appeal than, say, the 2011 Infiniti G37 IPL Coupe. That's good as long as it can handle the day-to-day duties expected of a vehicle in this category. Infiniti also has a long history of developing cars that are exceptionally fun to drive. Will a 3.5-liter V6 and a CVT in a 4,419-pound package continue that tradition?
Current Odometer: 773
Best Fuel Economy: 18.7
Worst Fuel Economy: 18.7
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 18.7
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.