Auto review by Veeno Dewan

Do buyers really need another large Crossover SUV type vehicle? Perhaps they do as Infiniti have just launched the new 2013 JX CUV seven-seater. Ostensibly it makes sense once supposes as it slots neatly in between the giant Infiniti QX and the smaller, sportier Infiniti EX and FX crossovers which I happen to really like. The JX however has three rows of seat however, but still offers typical Infiniti luxury and equipment levels.

It’s a relatively attractive vehicle with impressive presence. Of note is the Infiniti’s signature front chrome grille, and the dramatic double-arcing rear D-pillar design. Sitting on 18-inch or 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels the JX looks smart and expensive.

Based on the Nissan Murano, Altima, Quest and Maxima platform the JX is powered by a well-proven 3.5-litre DOHC V-6 engine with 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Only one JX model is available for now- with a not unreasonable starting price of $44,900. For that you get plenty of kit, including: heated front leather seats, (but not the wonderful quilted ones you find in the FX and EX) eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power front passenger’s seat, heated front seats, eight cup holders, six bottle holders, a power lift gate, HID bi-xenon headlamps, all-wheel-drive and three-zone climate control.

As with all luxury vehicles, low base prices start rapidly going North once you start adding option packages and the JX is no exception. The $5,000 Premium package adds goodies such as: navigation, the very clever Around View Monitor, 13-speaker stereo, enhanced intelligent key, easy entry/exit and a driver’s seat two-way power lumber support. The Theatre package ($2,300) includes: two 7-inch video monitors, wireless headphones and remote control, auxiliary audio/video inputs and a 120V rear power outlet. The Deluxe Touring package is a $2,700 add-on that brings: 20-inch wheels and tires, surround-sound stereo with 15 speakers, rear moonroof with power sunshade, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, automatic wipers and maple interior trim.

Want more gadgets? Well the Technology package ($3,500) adds: Lane Departure Warning/Prevention, Blind Spot Intervention, front-seat pre-crash seat belts; this package also includes all the features from the less-expensive Drive Assistance package, like Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Brake Assist, Blind Spot Warning, Backup Collision Intervention, Distance Control Assist, eco pedal and remote engine start

However some of the technology is very clever, such as a Back-Up Collision Intervention system which when reversing, detects objects or people at the rear of the JX and actually applies the brakes to help you hitting them.

The Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention system, which applies the brakes on the opposite side of the drift so helping the driver, can return back to the centre of the lane.

The handy Blind Spot Warning monitor warns you via light and audible sounds when it’s unsafe to change lanes. Meanwhile Intelligent Cruise Control measure the distance to the vehicle ahead and automatically applies the brakes and throttle to maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

Other goodies included in rather pricy options packs include Intelligent Cruise Control, a heated steering wheel and remote engine star, a navigation system with 8-inch touch-screen display, a
fascinating around-view monitor, voice recognition and a 13-speaker premium sound system.

The inside of the JX is quite impressive, with a roomy cabin, three seating rows. The wide rear doors and sliding second-row seat slides allow for rather good access. Another plus is that the second- and third-row seats are also split folding (60/40 in the second row and 50/50 in the third) and recline for added comfort. Even when all seven seats are occupied you still gain 447 litres of cargo room in the rear.

Interior wise, it all high quality black leather and upmarket materials. Front cabin comfort is good and the second row offers plenty of leg- and headroom, Second-row riders will have to shimmy up their sliding seat in order for the third row to be more adult friendly On the road, the 3.5-liter V6 is adequate enough to give the big JX a decent chance of acceleration although the transmission has the usual CVT whirr on hard acceleration. A rotary switch in the centre console lets you choose between four driving modes – standard, sport, eco and snow. Infiniti’s “eco pedal” is a driver-selectable feature that uses force feedback to promote economical driving.

Otherwise the JX feels comfortable and refined on a variety of surfaces and the light steering and very cool around view monitor makes the wide JX relatively easy to park. The Ax’s fuel consumption estimates, according to Natural Resources Canada testing, are 11.5 L/100 km (city) and 8.5 L/100 km (highway).

The JX enters a competitive sector but acquits itself well with its combination of innovative technology, good interior room and a relatively affordable base price compared to the competition. Need a three-row CUV that offers quality and refinement? The JX should be on
your list.

2013 Infiniti JX Base price: $44,900 price as tested with options: $58,095

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