2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD Review and Test Drive

By Michael Acampora on 4 May 2012
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The all-new Infiniti JX35 was released last month, filling in a gap in the automaker’s lineup between its mid-size FX and full size QX. The JX35 is a new, family-friendly luxury crossover that seats seven.

The exterior design of the JX is based on the Infiniti Essence concept car from 2009, and the new car is clearly derivative from it. From the JX’s wave-like body to its double-arch grille, the design elements of the Essence are unmistakeable.

The JX is Infiniti’s most promoted vehicle ever, which demonstrates their faith in this new addition to their lineup. The car is Infiniti’s response to the Acura MDX and the Audi Q7, with which it is intended to compete directly.

Among the JX’s most innovative features are its interior space size and its technological advances. The JX boasts a best-in-class interior volume of 149.8 cu. ft. (8.0 more than the MDX and 16.6 more than Audi’s), and includes an array of new technologies, including the Infiniti Personal Assistant (a 24-hour concierge service) for four years. While the Infiniti Personal Assistant is available in the automaker’s other vehicles, the JX is the only car in its fleet into which it is fully integrated.

The Back-Up Collision Intervention (BCI) system is the JX’s most groundbreaking new technological feature. The BCI is a combination of radar and sonar sensors that alert the driver to objects behind the vehicle. Both visual and audible warnings warn of an imminent collision and sounds more urgent the closer the car gets to the object. In the event of an imminent collision the vehicle automatically applies the brakes to avoid impact. I saw this feature demonstrated, and it works as advertised.

The JX has a Drive Mode Selector knob, which allows the driver to choose between different throttle responses/transmission mappings: sport, standard, snow, or eco. Sport mode feels like the car is shifting through the gears, while Eco drives as fuel efficiently as possible. Along with this, the JX also features Infiniti’s first ever use of a continuously variable transmission (CVT). [Unlike a standard automatic or manual transmission, a CVT uses a system of belts and pulleys to deliver power to the wheels in a smoother and more efficient fashion.]

Among the JX’s main selling points is its excellent fuel economy for a vehicle in its class. The JX, which comes in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models, offers 18 mpg (13.07 l/100 km) city, 24 mpg (9.8 l/100 km) highway (23 mpg or 10.2 l/100 km with all-wheel drive), and 21 mpg (11.2 l/100 km) combined (20 mpg or 11.7 l/100 km with AWD).


I found the driver’s seat and passenger seat to be very comfortable, though the headrest was a bit too hard for my liking. However, I suppose that could simply be the result of having small television screens stuffed inside.

The JX really did feel spacious inside, and the best-in-class interior is no joke. Compared to the MDX, the JX felt far less cramped, particularly in the back rows. Infiniti is right to boast of the interior volume, as it is a noticeable improvement over its competitors.

The JX’s full-sized second and third rows are meant to comfortably seat adults, and Infiniti is highly promoting the easy access to the third row even when a child’s seat is installed in the second.

The JX also includes a Tri-Zone climate control, which allows the driver, front passenger, and rear zone passengers to each set their own temperatures. This is a nice inclusion given the vast interior of the vehicle.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Infiniti JX and Outfitting the JX

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