When Infiniti introduced the JX35 Crossover earlier this year, it had the Audi Q7 as well as family men, and moms, in mind. Whether (or not) you get a kick out of the design or the drive, it stuns with sophistication and a surprising price.
In the new Infiniti JX35, Nissan and Infiniti have yet again made sure that the CVT is a useable transmission technology – even enjoyable in a certain way. Except in the Eco mode, where the resistance builds a wall between you and the accelerator pedal and the CVT drone is made self-evident without making much progress. So, after saving a bit of fuel to make up for the rest of the drive, I quickly shifted to, and stayed on, Standard or Sports mode, with which the 3.5 L engine could be pleasurably coaxed to deliver enough power to make its presence felt on the road. And, it sounds just as good as a V6 should.
The handling of the JX35 is pretty impressive for a car of this size, with minimal body roll. The exceptionally smooth and light steering was a bit too ‘giving’ for my taste – but those who like to take it easy – especially moms on the school run – will adore the steering dynamics. The design places the B Pillar just next to the driving position – so the blind spot monitor came in really handy. All through the drive, the intelligent view display supplied me with vital information on an easy to read dashboard screen.
Whether the Infiniti JX35 makes waves with its involved design, “the wave makes designs” in this car. From the hood lines to the signature double-arch grille and the crescent shaped D pillar, looks like the design team took their job too seriously in trying to cast an impression. No issues, there. Just that simplicity and size do exhibit a directly proportionally relationship in matters of design appeal.
Cabin and controls
Inside the JX cabin, the leather is a delicious cream, like white chocolate. Maintaining it pristine and proper could be a task, especially in a big family vehicle like this. But it sure keeps the cabin bright and cheerful, just as the panoramic moonroof does. As for the times when you need a cool welcome, the new remote-start feature can prove a blessing indeed.
The Infiniti JX cabin is rich with purposeful gadgetry and the wood-clad central console elegantly stands out with its uncluttered and easily accessible buttons. The flipside is that the steering gets an overdose of control buttons. Nevertheless, one can safely say no other car in the market offers as much handholding as this one does for a driver. Right from the Forward Collision Intervention to Lane Departure Warning and – listen to this – Back up Collision System, which is new and unique to the Infiniti JX. Twice, while backing out of parking lots, I had the vehicle braking itself for me, just as maniacs sped by at unsafe speeds. Combine this with an impeccable rear view camera featuring a top view simulator that puts the JX in context, you have to be exceptionally careless to run into a curb.
The JX is for the family – for what other reason could anyone buy over two tons of bulk and dubious design? As for families, reasons abound to go for Infiniti’s new crossover. Right from the class-leading legroom in both the back rows to the ingenious practicality of folding the second row – without having to remove the baby seat! Plenty of headroom and a wide-open feeling make sure that seven isn’t a crowd in the JX.
However, none of the SUVs in the class seem to have knee support in mind for the rear passengers: which is a pity with the JX, because it can afford the space. Another thing I don’t get is the way the foldable centre backrest (or armrest support) juts out in the second row – making it challenging for anyone to just lean back and enjoy the view ahead!
Nevertheless, the rear seats are certainly an entertaining place, with the DVD screens fixed on the front seatbacks. They come with wireless headphones too, so that the driver and front passenger aren’t washed over by the drama behind and can still enjoy the music that independently plays out from the Bose system in front. Good thinking, Infiniti!
The Essential Infiniti JX35
Seven-seat crossovers aren’t many in the market and few in the premium segment. Infiniti JX sets the benchmark with the gizmo-driven cabin and the luxurious driving dynamics for the driver. Yet, the best thing about the JX is that it has thrown in an extra dose of space and comfort to keep the Mama happy. And when Mama’s happy, we know everyone will be.
UPSIDE: Comfortable legroom and access in the back rows, usable boot space without seat-folding, comprehensive tech support for driver, Entertainment options
FLIPSIDE: Restricted acceleration in the ECO mode, Uncomfortable centre-seat, Busy steering wheel controls [No comments on Navigation and control screen as local specs not available for testing]
Audi Q7 comparison
In terms of design, the understated and almost sedate design of the Q7 is the polar opposite of the design-heavy caricature of the Infiniti JX35. In terms of space, the Infiniti JX gives more passenger convenience but somehow the seating support in the second row is slightly better with the Q7 while the boot space is a good one-third larger in the JX. When it comes to gadgetry, the Audi Q7 is pretty stingy, even in the top of the line version. And that’s where the Infiniti JX overwhelms besides the very convenient space management of the back row seats. With a marginal edge in power, the Audi Q7 makes for a more emphatic drive – interestingly, the co-efficient of drag is the same for both the vehicles: .34. Finally, if money seals the deal, then Infiniti JX 35 with its almost 70,000 dirham lower price tag sets you double-checking boxes of priorities and practicality.