2013 Infiniti JX Review

2013 Infiniti JX - Rookie family hauler from Infiniti has all the right moves.


Vehicle Tested
2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD
Base Price: $41,550
At-Tested Price: $55,465
Built in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Roof Rails
Technology Package
Theater Package
DeLuxe Touring Package
Illuminated Kick Plates
Premium Package

Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Drive Wheels: All-Wheel Drive

Infiniti is riding high in Chicago with June sales up nearly 50% over last year. One reason for strong growth is the new JX, the Japanese premium brand's first seven-passenger crossover SUV. Think of the new JZ like a minivan with four regular-opening doors as it sits between the five-passenger FX and seven-passenger QX in both size and price.

The JX is built in the United States, and, believe it or not, shares some chassis components and engine with the upcoming Nissan Murano. JX competes with vehicles like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKT, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Volvo XC90.

JX comes in a single Base trim level with either front- or all-wheel drive. Sole engine offering is a 265-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. That engine mates to a continuously variable transmission that eschews traditional gear for a pulley and belt arrangement that provides seamless power delivery from engine to the wheels.  Maximum towing capacity is 3500 pounds.

Standard safety features include antilock four-wheel disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, wiper-activated headlights, tire-pressure monitor and dual-front, front-side, and curtain-side airbags. Optional safety features include front- and rear-obstacle-detection system, around-view camera, blind-spot alert, blind-spot intervention, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, rear-collision prevention, forward collision warning and pre-crash seat belts.

The front-drive JX lists for $40,450 while the all-wheel-drive model starts at $41,550. Standard features include air conditioning with tri-zone automatic climate controls including rear controls, power tilt/telescope leather-wrapped steering with radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats, eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, six-way power passenger seat, center console, second- and third-row split folding seats, heated power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, keyless access and starting, sunroof, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with digital-media player connection, USB port and satellite radio, Bluetooth cell-phone connection, outside-temperature indicator, variable-intermittent wipers, Illuminated visor mirrors, power liftgate, rear defogger, rear wiper/washer, automatic headlights, floormats, theft-deterrent system, rear privacy glass, rear spoiler, fog lights, HID headlights, 235/65R18 tires and alloy wheels.

Options include navigation system with real-time traffic information, heated/cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, rear sunroof, upgraded Bose audio system, dual-screen DVD entertainment system, 120-volt power outlet, wood interior trim and roof rack.

Also available is Infiniti Personal Assistant. This concierge service allows JX owners to make reservations, get directions, find points of interest, make dinner reservations, access gift services, answer trivia questions, and receive a wide variety of other services at the touch of a button from inside the vehicle or through the owner's mobile or home phone. This service is provided free of charge for four years with the purchase of a new vehicle.

The JX is built in Smyrna, Tennessee, and has a $950 destination charge.
Get Up and Go  With just 3.5-liters of displacement and 265 horsepower, the JX is down a few ponies (or in some cases a few cylinders) when compared to most rivals. Thankfully it does weigh less and that helps maintain acceptable, albeit not impressive acceleration. Stomp on the gas from a stoplight and you'll hit 60 mph in about eight seconds. Passing response is good thanks to the alert and nicely-programmed CVT automatic transmission. For the unaccustomed, its seamless power delivery takes some getting used to, but there's no doubt it does a great job of keeping the engine in the power band when accelerating or passing.

EPA ratings are 18/24 mpg with front drive and 18/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. Premium-grade fuel is recommended.

Real-world driving will likely yield about 20 mpg overall. If your commute includes lots of stop-and-go driving expect that number to dip into the mid-to-high teens. If you spend a lot of time in gentile highway traffic, you might expect to average as high as 25 mpg.

On the Road  JX rides exactly as you'd expect. The supple suspension does an excellent job of absorbing small bumps and expansion joints and softening large impacts. Every once in a while a pothole will pound through, but overall the ride is quite composed and respectable. If you opt for the optional 20-inch wheels, the ride grows slightly firmer and can feel busy on badly broken roads.

When the road grows twisty, the JX feels quite nimble -- for its size. Still, it's a large and tall vehicle that suffers from too much body lean and understeer at the limit. The steering is nicely weighted and has good road feel. Though the touchy pedal takes some getting used to, the brakes have adequate stopping power. 

Interior noise levels are appropriately low for a vehicle of this size and price. Wind and tire noise are nicely suppressed at highway speeds and the engine note only intrudes in hard acceleration. At times the engine sounds a bit gruff when compared to other luxury vehicles in the class.

Behind the Wheel  Infiniti engineers and designers definitely put in a lot of overtime sweating the interior details of the new JX. It's got one of the largest and most lavish interiors of any luxury crossover. Materials are top notch and the design, while flowing, is very functional and intuitive. Many of the interior curves echo the exterior styling to create a cohesive cabin design that gives the impression it was sculpted by a single artist.

Drivers face a large and deep display that houses the speedometer and tachometer. The gauges are easy to read at a glance, day or night. The center console houses the latest generation Infiniti's command and control center that combines audio, climate and vehicle controls into one interface. Though the JX is loaded with safety and luxury items, the command center is not nearly as daunting as it might be. Commonly used functions are generally just one-touch away and switching between functions is a snap. About the only flaw in the interior design are poorly marked and lit buttons below and to the left of the steering wheel. Almost an afterthought, they control important safety features as well as open the rear hatch.

The suite of safety features, including front- and rear-obstacle-detection system, around-view camera, blind-spot alert, blind-spot intervention, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, rear-collision prevention and forward collision warning all seem to work together rather than fight each other as they do in some cars. It is important to note that all of these features are designed to help avoid accidents, but they should not be relied upon too heavily by the driver. The new backup collision system does work as advertised at low speeds to bring the vehicle to a stop before it hits something.

As expected, front-seat head and leg room are abundant and the seats are quite comfortable. They also offer surprisingly good support on twisty roads and over long trips. Thick roof pillars and three rows of headrests block rearward view and make you appreciate the blind-spot warning and around view camera systems.

Second-row seats are quite comfortable as well and offer great leg and head room. The seats also slide fore or aft about five inches to increase third-row leg room.  The second-row seats also tip and slide to ease access to the third row.

As is the case with most seven-passenger vehicles, the third row is not designed to comfortably seat NBA basketball players, but the JX offers more room and comfort than most. Knee room depends on second-row seat placement, but can be reasonable if the seats aren't moved all the way back. Head room and back support are just okay. All in all, the rear seat is best reserved for small adults or kids.

Cargo space is generous and the JX has a large covered storage area behind the third-row seat.
Both the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats fold flat to create an expansive cargo area. Interior storage is highlighted by a large glovebox and deep center console.

Bottom Line  Right out of the box the new Infiniti JX is one of the best luxury crossovers available. Its combination of size, performance, economy and features uniquely positions the JX to serve as both family hauler and daily driver. The comprehensive suite of safety features is just icing on the cake.

Prices can quickly shoot past $50,000, so it's best to be cautious when checking the option list. While $50,000might seem like (and is) a lot of money, the JX is actually priced very competitively against vehicles from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. If you are in the market for a family-orientated luxury vehicle you'd be hard pressed to find one better than the new Infiniti JX.

Specifications 2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD
4-door wagon
Wheelbase, in.
Size, liters/cu. in.
3.5 / 214
Length, in.
Horsepower265 @ 6400
Width, in.77.2
Torque (lb.-ft.) 248 @ 4400
Height, in.67.8TransmissionCVT Automatic
Weight, lbs.
18 city / 23 highway
Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.
Fuel Capacity, gal.
Seating Capacity
4 years / 60,000 miles
Front Head Room, in.
6 years / 70,000 miles
Front Leg Room, in.
7 years / Unlimited miles
Second-Row Head Room, in.
Free Roadside Assistance
4 years  / Unlimited miles
Second-Row Leg Room, in.
Free Scheduled Maintenance

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.