Since the Infiniti JX35 went on sale in Canada in April, the new three-row crossover has clearly outsold Infiniti Canada's previous best seller. The JX's 265-unit advantage over the G25 and G37 is pronounced given the size of the Canadian market. Infiniti sells an average of 683 vehicles per month here.
Indeed, the new JX has proven to be a hit for Infiniti, both in Canada and the United States. While not selling in the kinds of numbers Lexus puts up with the similarly-priced RX350, the 2013 JX35 is now a common sight in the suburban driveways of well-off families.
In the JX's case, buyers fortunately don't need to shell out more than they would on an upper tier mainstream brand crossover. Priced from $44,900, the entry-level JX35 costs $6060 less than a top-trim Chevrolet Traverse LTZ and $3620 less than a Honda Pilot Touring. Mercedes-Benz's ML350 4Matic pricing starts at $58,900, a good bit more than the $56,000 JX35 I was loaned by O'Regan's Infiniti in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For families who can't take a giant leap to the $73,200 QX56 or won't sacrifice space in a $53,350 FX, an opportunity now presents itself in the form of the JX. The JX35 is relatively affordable, seats seven, and fits the desired image of those who seek an upwardly mobile lifestyle. A lifestyle which includes children. And sadly, even the friends of their children.
But does that mean you want to own it, or even lease it? After all, there are seemingly countless JX alternatives from both mainstream and premium auto brands. I wanted to find out just how well a 2013 Infiniti JX35 could handle the rigours of classy suburban family life. So I drove a JX out of the city a ways, past Bedford's new four-pad hockey facility, and parked in my wife's cousin's driveway to explore the JX's cabin.
Then I loaded my senior citizen parents inside for proper space analysis - my generation will soon be housing our parents, right? - and toured the Clayton Park area. If ever there was a challenge for a modern family car, surely it's a drive through a provincial political riding that's named after a 53-year-old developer of suburban housing developments.
From an excitement standpoint, this all-new Infiniti comes up short. It's not available with Nissan's more powerful 3.7L V6. So I'm driving a $56K Infiniti with a power-to-weight ratio that compares unfavourably with the Dodge Grand Caravan's. Power is sufficient when accelerating from say, 50 km/h, but an extra 35 horses would be appreciated when pulling away from rest. Sadly, the JX doesn't handle corners like the FX, but thankfully it doesn't handle bumps and potholes and expansion joints like the FX, either. This trade-off is perfectly acceptable, particularly given the JX35's ability to isolate.
When Infiniti began making headway with the 2003 Infiniti G35, the main criticisms reviewers levelled at Infiniti was the lack of refinement and sub-par interior quality. A decade later, the story's completely different. The leather in the JX35 is supple, the buttons and knobs match their surroundings, and pieces fit together seamlessly. However, stereo controls are set ridiculously low, steering wheel controls seem haphazardly situated, and tire thrum from the big 20-inchers is insistent.
The JX's second row of seating requires knees to point skyward at a slightly uncomfortable angle, but space is plentiful. The third row isn't awful - not bad at all for kids - but exiting is awkward. Because of the vast glass roof, rear-most passengers will at least enjoy abundant light. Space behind the third row is sufficient for a family's grocery load and you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover a small well beneath the floor. With the third row folded, the JX's 40.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity is up 0.8 cubic feet on the two-row Lexus RX350 but down a bit from the Acura MDX's 42.9 cubic feet. Furthermore, power-operating tailgates are awesome.