Having a large family, there is no better time to have a large, luxurious SUV than during the holidays. For our Thanksgiving treat this year, I was reviewing the Infiniti JX35 while hauling the family around Texas. If you’ve been following txGarage for awhile, you should know by now that my family is quite large, as it’s my wife and I and 4 children. So we’re hauling 6 passengers and 6 people worth of luggage heading to 2 different grandparent’s house in 2 separate parts of Texas. One set of grandparent’s is in Granbury, Texas which is about a 2 hour drive from our house. Our second destination was in Marble Falls, Texas which is another 4 hour drive from where we were, then heading back home for a 6 hour track. Needless to say, comfort was key.
The JX35 is an all new vehicle for Infiniti, with the 2013 as its first generation. Infiniti expects this 7-passenger luxury crossover to shake up the market with their “segment-leading” overall passenger volume and lots of technology packed inside. Even with its technology and room, what could really set this SUV apart is its beauty. So let’s start off by looking on the outside of the JX.
This is an SUV that really embraces the Infiniti family design with big curves and beautiful flowing lines, highlighted by the double-arch front grille. I’ve been a fan of Infiniti design since the introduction of the G35 way back in 2001. Since then, the lines and design have become more and more pleasing to gawk at. I’ve heard many people question the size of the JX after only seeing photos, but when you’re up next to this vehicle, you really get a feel for its size. This is a crossover SUV, but it’s no small vehicle. Another area to recognize with this vehicle are the 20-inch polished aluminum wheels. They really make this crossover stand out from the crowd.
2013 Infiniti JX35 exterior photos
Moving inside, the vehicle you’ll see why we were so pleased to be spending over 12 hours inside it while traveling around Texas. You’ll first notice the wheat leather and maple trim accents, with plush leather seats from the front row through the third. This interior was made to combine feelings of elegance and fine craftsmanship, which works well for me.
After admiring the looks and feel of the interior, you’ll start to notice the focus of the JX, and that’s interior space and hospitality. For the second row, you get almost 6-inches of front to back travel, making it easy for third row passengers to enter and exit the vehicle. This also allows you to adjust the middle seat while having a front facing car seat installed, and still be able to get in and out of the third row. We definitely put this to the test during our time with the JX, and were extremely happy with the functionality behind this.
The third-row in many crossover SUV’s is for small children and usually a sacrifice for it’s occupants. This isn’t as much the case with the JX. The third row is surprisingly easy to access and comfortable to occupy. The only hiccup we came across during our travel is with the setup of the entertainment system. The screens for the DVD player, which is a God-send while traveling long distances with small, short attention-span children, were located in the headrests of the driver and front-passenger seats. This made it difficult, if not impossible, for smaller children to see from the third-row.
For the driver, the front of the JX was designed to be more of a cockpit, surrounding the driver with a ton of vital information and control. The gauges are large and easy to read, but the serious information comes from the “Intelligent-View” display placed between those gauges in a shape almost mimicking that of the front grille. This will display anything from tire pressure to a slew of radar detectable information like proximity guides, lane departure, and radar guided cruise control.
2013 Infiniti JX35 interior photos
The JX, along with the radar proximity guides, has a 360-camera view around the vehicle. When you put this SUV into reverse, you don’t only get a backup camera, you also see what’s to either side of you and what’s in front of you that you may not be able to see from the driving position. I joked with the kids that it sends up a remote control helicopter to give you a full aerial view around your vehicle, and that’s really what it feels like. You don’t have to be in reverse, though, to have the cameras snap into action. If you get too close to an object on any side of you, you’ll get an audible beep and the cameras will activate to show you what’s being detected. If that object is behind you while in reverse, the JX will even take preemptive action to brake for you. You can also push a button on the dash to turn the cameras on manually, which only works at slow speeds. This is incredibly helpful for parking this big SUV.
So the JX is comfortable, luxurious, and packed full of technology. Everything you need for a long family road trip, right? Well, driving dynamic takes a big part in this as well. The “35” in JX35 indicates the 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood. This V6 is matched up with a CVT transmission and pushes out 265-horsepower and 248-lb-ft of torque. This is a good combination for optimizing fuel economy while still having the power to pass that 18-wheeler that’s slowing down traffic on our one-lane highway runs. The brakes in the JX are 12.6-inches and vented. This might seem like a trivial stat to most, but it’s critical for bringing this big SUV to a halt in a hurry. They also help while going up and down the roads in Texas hill country where it could be easy to over wear your brakes.
My one gripe with the handling of the JX is with the steering. Everything on this SUV feels solid and refined, except the steering feel. It feels too light and seems like the vehicle sways too easily. This was very apparent during long highway straights where you should be able to just drive with your hands on the wheel. In the JX, you must keep your hands working, keeping the vehicle in a straight line.
It seems like there is so much technology and so much new innovation with the JX that we’ve just scratched the surface here, but I can tell you one of the biggest tests for a 3-row SUV is hauling a family 450-miles in 2-days, and the JX passed with flying colors. Of course, the last and one of the most vital statistics left is the price. This SUV is built for any and every family, but it’s not priced that way. You can get your hands on a base JX, which will still be quite a nice vehicle, for $41,150. Our test vehicle, with the panoramic moonroof, all-wheel-drive, theater package, premium package, technology package, maple accents package, and drivers assistance package was a much less attainable $55,000.
In comparison, the BMW X5 starts at just over $47k and tops out over $65k, the Mercedes M-Class also starts at just over $47k and can hit your pocket for over $100k if you so please, and the Lexus GX starts over $53k. So although the Infiniti is a high priced endeavor, it’s priced competitively with it’s competition and you must look no further than the streets of Dallas to see the impact of this Infiniti on the marketplace. I’m beginning to see these JX’s popping up all over the place, and in my eyes, that’s a good thing.