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2013 Infiniti JX35 Filling Holes>

Was there a reason for a JX model to slot into the Infiniti SUV lineup? The dealers thought so, and usually what dealers want, dealers get. Why? Because it’s the customer whose asking for a vehicle that’s a little bigger than the EX, not as sporty as the FX, but not as big as the QX. Regardless who asked for it, we’re glad it’s here. The JX does a good job of blending all that is wonderful about Infiniti models.

The JX looks good, with a wave design hood, double arch grille, and contemporary taillamp design. We also like the crescent shape of the D-pillar. When we first saw it at the auto show, we thought it looked bigger, but it still is impressive in size. And it should be, as it’s designed to seat seven comfortably, which it does.

Moving inside, we love the JX’s upscale materials and tech goodies. One feature that makes it easy for families is the second-row seat, which slides forward for third row access, even if there’s a baby seat in it. And we love being spoiled by the Personal Assistant. Like a genie in a bottle, ask it to do anything, and the person who answers the call can handle it.
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With luxury comes comfort, and the JX definitely delivers on that promise. The leather seats were supportive and cushy, and the Bose audio system cranked out impressive sound. We also appreciated the JX’s best-in-class interior volume and ample cargo capacity, even with the third-row seats up.

Driving around town and in the country, we felt the power from the 3.5-liter V6 was more than ample. At 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, the JX had plenty of oomph to move quickly up onramps and get around slower vehicles. When pushed a little harder in the corners, the JX exhibited some body roll, but that’s expected from a vehicle of this size and weight. The only transmission for the JX is a continuously variable transmission with a sport mode. While the CVT is a staple for Nissan/Infiniti vehicles, we ponder the logic behind a sport mode on an SUV, and a shifting ability with a transmission that doesn’t have separate gearing. Most customers don’t think about what’s going on with engine shifting, only if it doesn’t perform as expected. And if a CVT saves fuel in the process, that’s even better. When it comes to fuel economy, the 18/24 city/highway mpg may not sound impressive, but again, for a vehicle this size, it’s rated best in class.

Another important feature that works is the backup collision intervention system that’s a combination of radar and sonar, along with a visible and audible warning that there is something behind the vehicle. If the driver isn’t paying attention, the system automatically will apply the brakes for one second when in reverse, which is enough time to get the driver’s attention to stop and prevent a potential disaster.

The JX also is affordably priced for a seven-passenger luxury SUV, at $41,250 for the two-wheel-drive model and $42,650 for the four-wheel-drive model. Put on all the options and the price jumps about $10 grand.

Regardless of who asked for the JX to be built, we are sure glad it was, because it makes a great vehicle for upscale families who like style and substance.

Written by BJ Killeen test driven in Nashville and photographed by Christina Selter