2013 Infiniti JX

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Date Posted: August 9, 2012
By Zack Spencer

Infiniti introduces an all-new three-row full-sized crossover, built on the same platform as the new 2013 Nissan pathfinder.

The Scoop

Size matters-- especially in the full-sized crossover segment, but buyers and government legislators are demanding better fuel economy. The movement has been away from rugged truck-based SUV's to car-based crossovers with as much space as the tougher SUV's but with a better ride, improved fuel economy and often a more luxurious interior. Enter Infiniti's brand new JX crossover. Not to worry, they still offer the more rugged QX56 pickup truck-based SUV for families that need to tow a large trailer; for those that don't this JX will do the trick. Infiniti is the luxury division of Nissan, which uses the same JX platform for their new 2013 Pathfinder model. The new Pathfinder is 226kg lighter than the old pickup truck-based model it replaces. Size matter but so does weight.

The Skin

Infiniti dips into the family toolkit to build the new JX. Under the skin of this stylish new product is a tried and true platform that has been used in the Nissan Maxima, Quest and Altima lines. Using such a versatile foundation let the designers add a bit of flair. The hood is longer than most crossovers, conveying a sense of motion. The side chrome work around the rear windows is angled forward, once again projecting movement. This 7-passenger, three-row unit features the prominent grille and steeply raked headlights that are showcased on all Infiniti products. 18-inch wheels come standard but 20-inch wheels can be ordered as a stand-alone option for $1700 or as part of the Touring package, which includes additional interior benefits like vented front seats and heated rear seats for $2700-- a better value. A power lift gate comes standard on all models.

The Cockpit

Companies like Audi and BMW are often applauded for their interior designs and use of materials and Infiniti is often overlooked, but that shouldn't be the case. The dash has a wonderful flowing design that frames one of the easiest to use navigation and radio layouts in the business. The centre console is wide and offers two big cup holders. Soft touch materials abound and the seats are covered with standard leather. Infiniti has a slide-forward second row of seats that not only allows access to the third row of seats; they can slide with a child set in place. For anyone that has small children, not having to remove the child seat is a real time saver. Infiniti claims that this new JX has class leading passenger volume with more legroom in the second and third row than the Cadillac Escalade. That might be true but it is a bit of give and take. The third row offers little legroom when the second row of seats pushed to their extreme rear position. For more room at the back, the second row passengers need to slide their seats forward slightly.

The Ride

Any driving enthusiast might look at the specifications of the new JX and roll their eyes. The transmission used is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that, in the past, offered little in the way of driving enjoyment. I'm here to say that the latest batch of CVT's Nissan/Infiniti is implementing in their products are the best ones to date. No longer is there a delay when accelerating, the engine speed feels directly connected to the wheel speed. It is only under the hardest accelerating maneuvers that the driver can tell that the transmission isn't a conventional 6-speed unit. The 256hp 3.5L V6 engine has great torque (248 lb-ft) and the CVT utilizes it very well, producing spirited acceleration--really. Handling is good, this vehicle reminds me of other Nissan vehicles but with a firmer, more planted ride. This could be due to the added AWD system that adapts for better traction but also improved fuel economy. There are several drive modes from standard, snow, eco and sport that adjust the responsiveness of the throttle and transmission.

Verdict

With a starting price of $44,900 and topping out in the mid $50,000 range, the JX is very well positioned against smaller, 5-seat luxury crossovers, never mind 7-passenger models. The main competition for this vehicle is the Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKT and Acura MDX. The biggest competition will come from the Nissan Pathfinder, basically the same vehicle as the JX, minus some of the luxury touches. Infiniti does have a jump on the Pathfinder, which will be released later this fall, plus the JX comes with some innovative safety features. An around-view camera system is available, plus a Backup Collision Intervention system that will apply the brakes if there is another vehicle, child or obstacle entering the path of a reversing JX. All leading edge technology in a very well priced 7-passenger unit. If size and weight matters, then you don't need a huge wallet to get into this well designed luxury crossover.

The Good, The Bad

Good:

Great starting price for a 7-seat luxury crossover.

Bad:

Will the Nissan Pathfinder steal some thunder away from this more expensive Infiniti.

The Lowdown

Power: 3.5L V6 with 265hp

Fill-up: 11.5L/8.5L/100km (city/highway)

Backup: 4-year/80,000km

Sticker price: $44,900

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