Reviews

2013 INFINITI JX Walk Around

In addition to preserving an INFINITI family look, the design team managed to imbue the INFINITI JX with respectable aerodynamic properties. Its coefficient of drag is 0.34, excellent by SUV standards and a plus in terms of fuel economy.

A slippery exterior is also a plus in the area of noise reduction, and here too the JX acquits itself very well. The interior is exceptionally quiet at freeway speeds, the better to either converse at living room decibel levels.

Interior

Inside, the INFINITI JX is distinguished by high quality materials, soft touch surfaces, touch-sceen secondary controls mitigated by some conventional buttons, and electroluminescent instruments that are simultaneously easy to read and a treat to the eye.

Its spacious interior and accessibility to the second and third-row seating are strong suits. The middle bench adjusts fore and aft as much as 5.5 inches, and its seatbacks flop forward to make access to the rearmost row easy, rather than the graceless struggle that's required in so many seven- and eight-seaters.

The front seatbacks can house a pair of DVD screens, which come with the Theater Package. The package includes wireless headphones, wireless remote control, auxiliary audio and video input jacks, a 120-volt power outlet, and two headphone jacks with individual volume control. This sort of package, ideal for peace-keeping on long trips, has become fairly common in family haulers, but an INFINITI distinction is that the two DVD screens can run two different movies.

Cargo volume is another strong suit. The INFINITI JX has a cargo volume edge versus the Acura MDX, with almost 16 cubic feet behind the third row, as much as 47 cubic feet with the third row folded down and the second row adjusted all the way forward, and just over 76 cubic feet total. Minivans offer more, but of course they're minivans, hopelessly low on the cool ride meter.

INFINITI has been a leader in so-called driver assist features aimed at compensating for inattention on the part of the driver and unexpected antics on the part of other drivers. Backup Collision Intervention is the latest, and possibly the most welcome of these innovations. The system uses radar in the rear quarters, plus rear bumper sonar parking sensors, to detect objects behind the vehicle that may be out of the driver's sightlines, and, just as important, cross traffic that may not yet be in view. If either of these situations exist when the driver begins backing up the system first flashes a warning on the info screen, then an audible warning, and if the driver still fails to react applies the brakes.

Backup Collision Intervention is included in the Driver Assistance Package that also includes adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward collision warning, blind spot warning, distance control assist, active trace control, a heated steering wheel, remote engine starting, and the irritating Nissan/INFINITI Eco Pedal. Other guardian features, including lane departure warning and intervention, blind spot intervention, and automatic pre-crash front seatbelt tensioners, are part of the more comprehensive Technology Package, which includes all the Driver Assistance Package features.

Many owners have been irritated at one time or another with some or even most of these safety features, and INFINITI has responded by making them selectively defeatable, rather than an off-on setup for the entire system as was previously the case.

INFINITI Personal Assistant is an intriguing new electronic element and it won't try to help with your driving. Free for the first year of ownership, it's essentially a concierge service that will take care of all sorts of personal errands, from hotel bookings to your calendar to dates.

Another is the INFINITI Connection (part of the $4950 Premium bag of telematics), which includes Google Calendar integration and a program that monitors where the JX goes when the kids are using it and notifies parental units via smart phone or PC when the vehicle exceeds pre-set speed limits or ventures beyond a pre-set distance from home.

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