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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD, the good, the bad, the ugly
Written: Feb 05 '13
Pros: Spacious 3rd row seating, sliding 2nd row, ride quality, "bird's eye view".
Cons: Terrible NAV user interface, poor heat/AC modulation, weak heated seats
The Bottom Line: If you do NOT want a minivan, this is the SUV to get. Otherwise, you can't beat a minivan for utility and comfort.

MY OPINIONS
Most of what you'll read from my ratings are based solely on my opinions and will not discuss deep details regarding car specifications. Detailed specs can, of course, be found at other car related websites.

I pretty have the “fully loaded” version: I have the Tech, Premium, Theater, Deluxe Touring, Tow, and Cargo packages.
So here are my thoughts on the…

ENGINE
I was a bit worried about the engine being “only” 265 hp and 245 ft-lbs of torque. After all, I’m a “carguy” and believe that there could never be enough horsepower. Of course, I want great mileage too! However, after putting 4000 miles on the car now, I must say that it’s probably “just right”. Just to put into perspective, I am in the process of replacing a 2008 BMZ X5 with the big 4.8 liter V8 engine in it (350 hp, 350 ft-lbs). By the way, I can’t believe I didn’t put a review for that SUV. But I will soon.

So anyway, back to the engine. It’s adequate even for a “carguy”. The sound is somewhat “buzzy”. But I’m used to more sporty sounding engines in my other cars. This is the first Japanese car I’ve purchase in a VERY long time. The rest of the fleet are all German cars.

TRANSMISSION
The CVT, continuously variable transmission, is weird. The engine RPM sits in one spot most of the time and it takes a while for your ear to get used to the “non-shifting” characteristics. Does it bother me? No. It’s just different. The transmission has a snow, standard, economy and sport shifting. You can certainly tell a huge difference from each of these modes. But admittedly, I really couldn’t tell much of a difference in mileage. I am just as happy keeping it in sport or standard mode all of the time. The eco mode will get you runover since it really fights you from stomping on the gas. I.e. – the gas pedal has some “feedback” that pushes against your feet. Of course, you can always step on the gas harder which cuts off the mode. But if you do that, then you might as well keep it in the standard or sport mode. The sport mode holds the RPMs in the higher ranges longer.

I have 2 complaints with this transmission. One, the CVT in the cheaper Nissan Pathfinder is the better version. A better version such that the Pathfinder can tow up to 5000 lbs vs. the 3500 lbs for the JX. Two, when you choose to “shift manually” by pushing/pulling on the gear shift, the upshift/downshift is reverse of what would be intuitive. For instance, if I want to shift to a lower gear, I would think one would PUSH on the gear lever. To shift up, I would PULL on the gear lever. Well, it’s the opposite in the JX. All my German cars are “correct”.

For those that care, the engine/transmission combination is pretty darn quiet.

PERFORMANCE/HANDLING
For a family mobile that’s not a minivan, this JX holds its own. Granted, there is no way in hell that this car handles better than my X5. But it is absolutely much more comfortable. This is a nice quiet cruise mobile.

In the snow, I found that I can turn the JX better when I turn the traction control off. Otherwise, it will just tend to “plow” like any front-wheel drive car out there. My JX is AWD, but these cars tend to be biased more as a front wheel driver. My X5, on the contrary, is biased as a rear wheel driver.
The brakes are perfectly adequate. Some people complained of poor brake feel. I disagree. For what this car is supposed to do, I think the brakes are fine. It’s not going to feel as good as my Porsche’s brakes, but this is a family mobile and I didn’t expect it to.

INTERIOR/ERGONOMICS
The interior is pretty nice. But WOW, you need a PHD to really get used to the controls. Seriously, they should have done some better “user interface” designs. While the radio and CD are fairly straightforward to use, the infotainment system seriously needs some help especially if you have the theater package. With the theater package, you can literally watch 3 different movies from each monitor (the car must be in park brake for the front monitor to play a movie).
The 3 row seating is fantastic and can fit short/medium people with no issues. The fact that I don’t need to remove the child seat in order for an adult to get to the 3rdrow is priceless. That the 2ndrow slides forward and backwards is also priceless. If the bigger brother QX’s second row slid forwards/backwards we would have bought that car.

If you have read my other reviews, you can tell that I’m pretty picky about the stereo sound. I can tell you that the Bose sound in this car is surprisingly VERY good. This is especially evident when you’re watching movies. It’s THAT good.

There are cup holders galore in this car. I believe there are 12 cupholders…1 in each door (4), 2 in the center console, 2 in the second row console and 4 in the third row. Although there are cupholders in each of the doors, I don’t feel that Infiniti maximized the door storage capability of this car. The X5 front storage bins run the length of the doors. The X5 2nd row doors also have pretty large bins. Although the JX has cup holders in the door bins, the bins are not large enough. The trunk of the X5 also has storage along the sides side pockets. I'm not trying to make this a comparison with the X5. It's just that when I was transferring trunk stuff (jumper cables, emergency blanket, emergency bottles of water, etc.) from the X5 and into the JX tonight, I ran out of room in the JX.
I have more gripes.

Lack of brighter lights at the tailgate to illuminate the loading area. I was transferring items from the X5 into the JX at night. The X5 has 2 very bright lights located at the tailgate which does a great job of illuminating the loading area. The JX has that measly roof light. I ended up putting a flashlight back there...not a very elegant solution.

Homelink buttons on the mirror needs to be lit. I can't see what the hell I'm pushing at night and would have to “feel for it”. Really? A $50k car and you couldn’t put an LED light on those switches?

Heated seats... what heated [email protected]!? The max setting here is probably the lowest setting in the Audi or BMW. You can barely feel the heat in the max setting! On the other hand, the heated steering wheel rocks! It's the hottest steering wheel I've come to own and would literally have to turn it off since it eventually gets too hot. The cooling feature of the seats work better than the heating feature.

The HVAC tri-zone sucks in comparison to what I am used to in the German cars. There's not enough air vents for the 2ndrow and 3rdrow. The front left/right zone and 2ndrow zone can't seem to really differentiate itself from each other in temps.

Where's the trip computer? There is nothing showing you how far you have driven, what's your mileage since you started the car, average speed since start, and estimated time of arrival. The NAV states how much longer you have to drive, but it doesn't do the math for you to tell you what time you will actually arrive! WOW, this is an oversight.

And the worst thing that I hate about this car is the fact that I don't have access to all of the menus if the car is moving. Most of the menu is “grayed out”. I.e. - Nav is limited, phone is limited, DVD won't play at the front, etc.). I also can't even "save" the memory seat while the car is moving. Have you ever changed your mirror position while driving? Well, you can't save it unless you're parked...annoying... I understand how Infiniti wants us to be “safe”. But really? Then why didn’t they freeze the iPod or CD song selection either? I can maneuver through those menus at will. But I can’t sift through a phonebook or addresses for navigation…. This is really silly.

WHAT ELSE DID I SHOP FOR?
We pretty much looked at everything. Other than my gripes above, I LOVE everything else about this car: intelligent cruise control, simultaneous play of 3 source audio, audio sound (the Bose surprisingly sounds good), sliding middle seats, 3rd row legroom, panorama roof, quietness, comfortable ride, mileage, auto-start, cup holders everywhere, etc. I did a LOT of research. The final contender was the GMC Acadia Denali. It had an interior refresh for this year, but all other mechanicals were old. Reliability was suspect also. With this being the family car, I didn't want to take the risk. It's bigger than the JX, but lacked the refinement to me. It also didn't nearly have as much gadgets. Other 3 row non-minivan cars we looked at were the Honda Pilot (too bare and cheapy), the Mercedes GL (too expensive, but very nice), the Infiniti QX (2nd row won't slide but we would have otherwise gotten this one), Cadillac Escalade (I couldn't get over the "stigma"), Acura MDX (too ugly), Lincoln MKX (wow, that's super ugly), and Ford Explorer (bad 3rd row).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MY NITPICKS
No grab handle on the driver's side.

The roof rack looks flimsy.

No running boards. I always think that this is a necessity with any SUV. I feel like I have to "hop off" the seat to get to the ground and I'm not even short.
The lock confirmation tone via the remote is too loud and is not adjustable. (update, someone showed me the way in a post below where I can lock the car via the door handle button which gives a very pleasing soft double chirp).
Would have liked a 5000 lbs tow rating.

I think the car is ugly from the front. I just don't like Infiniti grills. It looks good to me from the sides and is ok from the rear.
Ugly wheels. How about a regular 5 star design?

The warning chimes volumes are not adjustable. I would like to have the LDW (lane departure warning) chime or the “hey, wake up, you’re about to rear-end somebody” chime be A LOT louder.

No self-leveling suspension such that we get a manual knob to adjust the headlights to compensate for rear suspension weight load...cheesy considering this car has every other gadget. But I understand that a self-leveling suspension would not have been cheap and would have put the JX at a different price point.
 

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when you choose to “shift manually” by pushing/pulling on the gear shift, the upshift/downshift is reverse of what would be intuitive. For instance, if I want to shift to a lower gear, I would think one would PUSH on the gear lever. To shift up, I would PULL on the gear lever. Well, it’s the opposite in the JX. All my German cars are “correct”.
I've never had a BMW. But I know they all shift the opposite way. Lexus' shift the same way as Infinitis. Forward is up, backward is down. I don't know, but it makes sense to me. Same on Japanese motorcycles. Up is upshift, down is downshift. You'd think that since both Germany and Japan were Axis countries, they'd have the same shifting, I guess. And both countries' car business owes much success to post-war rebuilding help at the hands of the US, but who knows?
 

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2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD, the good, the bad, the ugly
Written: Feb 05 '13
Pros: Spacious 3rd row seating, sliding 2nd row, ride quality, "bird's eye view".
Cons: Terrible NAV user interface, poor heat/AC modulation, weak heated seats
The Bottom Line: If you do NOT want a minivan, this is the SUV to get. Otherwise, you can't beat a minivan for utility and comfort.

MY OPINIONS
Most of what you'll read from my ratings are based solely on my opinions and will not discuss deep details regarding car specifications. Detailed specs can, of course, be found at other car related websites.

I pretty have the “fully loaded” version: I have the Tech, Premium, Theater, Deluxe Touring, Tow, and Cargo packages.
So here are my thoughts on the…

ENGINE
I was a bit worried about the engine being “only” 265 hp and 245 ft-lbs of torque. After all, I’m a “carguy” and believe that there could never be enough horsepower. Of course, I want great mileage too! However, after putting 4000 miles on the car now, I must say that it’s probably “just right”. Just to put into perspective, I am in the process of replacing a 2008 BMZ X5 with the big 4.8 liter V8 engine in it (350 hp, 350 ft-lbs). By the way, I can’t believe I didn’t put a review for that SUV. But I will soon.

So anyway, back to the engine. It’s adequate even for a “carguy”. The sound is somewhat “buzzy”. But I’m used to more sporty sounding engines in my other cars. This is the first Japanese car I’ve purchase in a VERY long time. The rest of the fleet are all German cars.

TRANSMISSION
The CVT, continuously variable transmission, is weird. The engine RPM sits in one spot most of the time and it takes a while for your ear to get used to the “non-shifting” characteristics. Does it bother me? No. It’s just different. The transmission has a snow, standard, economy and sport shifting. You can certainly tell a huge difference from each of these modes. But admittedly, I really couldn’t tell much of a difference in mileage. I am just as happy keeping it in sport or standard mode all of the time. The eco mode will get you runover since it really fights you from stomping on the gas. I.e. – the gas pedal has some “feedback” that pushes against your feet. Of course, you can always step on the gas harder which cuts off the mode. But if you do that, then you might as well keep it in the standard or sport mode. The sport mode holds the RPMs in the higher ranges longer.

I have 2 complaints with this transmission. One, the CVT in the cheaper Nissan Pathfinder is the better version. A better version such that the Pathfinder can tow up to 5000 lbs vs. the 3500 lbs for the JX. Two, when you choose to “shift manually” by pushing/pulling on the gear shift, the upshift/downshift is reverse of what would be intuitive. For instance, if I want to shift to a lower gear, I would think one would PUSH on the gear lever. To shift up, I would PULL on the gear lever. Well, it’s the opposite in the JX. All my German cars are “correct”.

For those that care, the engine/transmission combination is pretty darn quiet.

PERFORMANCE/HANDLING
For a family mobile that’s not a minivan, this JX holds its own. Granted, there is no way in hell that this car handles better than my X5. But it is absolutely much more comfortable. This is a nice quiet cruise mobile.

In the snow, I found that I can turn the JX better when I turn the traction control off. Otherwise, it will just tend to “plow” like any front-wheel drive car out there. My JX is AWD, but these cars tend to be biased more as a front wheel driver. My X5, on the contrary, is biased as a rear wheel driver.
The brakes are perfectly adequate. Some people complained of poor brake feel. I disagree. For what this car is supposed to do, I think the brakes are fine. It’s not going to feel as good as my Porsche’s brakes, but this is a family mobile and I didn’t expect it to.

INTERIOR/ERGONOMICS
The interior is pretty nice. But WOW, you need a PHD to really get used to the controls. Seriously, they should have done some better “user interface” designs. While the radio and CD are fairly straightforward to use, the infotainment system seriously needs some help especially if you have the theater package. With the theater package, you can literally watch 3 different movies from each monitor (the car must be in park brake for the front monitor to play a movie).
The 3 row seating is fantastic and can fit short/medium people with no issues. The fact that I don’t need to remove the child seat in order for an adult to get to the 3rdrow is priceless. That the 2ndrow slides forward and backwards is also priceless. If the bigger brother QX’s second row slid forwards/backwards we would have bought that car.

If you have read my other reviews, you can tell that I’m pretty picky about the stereo sound. I can tell you that the Bose sound in this car is surprisingly VERY good. This is especially evident when you’re watching movies. It’s THAT good.

There are cup holders galore in this car. I believe there are 12 cupholders…1 in each door (4), 2 in the center console, 2 in the second row console and 4 in the third row. Although there are cupholders in each of the doors, I don’t feel that Infiniti maximized the door storage capability of this car. The X5 front storage bins run the length of the doors. The X5 2nd row doors also have pretty large bins. Although the JX has cup holders in the door bins, the bins are not large enough. The trunk of the X5 also has storage along the sides side pockets. I'm not trying to make this a comparison with the X5. It's just that when I was transferring trunk stuff (jumper cables, emergency blanket, emergency bottles of water, etc.) from the X5 and into the JX tonight, I ran out of room in the JX.
I have more gripes.

Lack of brighter lights at the tailgate to illuminate the loading area. I was transferring items from the X5 into the JX at night. The X5 has 2 very bright lights located at the tailgate which does a great job of illuminating the loading area. The JX has that measly roof light. I ended up putting a flashlight back there...not a very elegant solution.

Homelink buttons on the mirror needs to be lit. I can't see what the hell I'm pushing at night and would have to “feel for it”. Really? A $50k car and you couldn’t put an LED light on those switches?

Heated seats... what heated [email protected]!? The max setting here is probably the lowest setting in the Audi or BMW. You can barely feel the heat in the max setting! On the other hand, the heated steering wheel rocks! It's the hottest steering wheel I've come to own and would literally have to turn it off since it eventually gets too hot. The cooling feature of the seats work better than the heating feature.

The HVAC tri-zone sucks in comparison to what I am used to in the German cars. There's not enough air vents for the 2ndrow and 3rdrow. The front left/right zone and 2ndrow zone can't seem to really differentiate itself from each other in temps.

Where's the trip computer? There is nothing showing you how far you have driven, what's your mileage since you started the car, average speed since start, and estimated time of arrival. The NAV states how much longer you have to drive, but it doesn't do the math for you to tell you what time you will actually arrive! WOW, this is an oversight.

And the worst thing that I hate about this car is the fact that I don't have access to all of the menus if the car is moving. Most of the menu is “grayed out”. I.e. - Nav is limited, phone is limited, DVD won't play at the front, etc.). I also can't even "save" the memory seat while the car is moving. Have you ever changed your mirror position while driving? Well, you can't save it unless you're parked...annoying... I understand how Infiniti wants us to be “safe”. But really? Then why didn’t they freeze the iPod or CD song selection either? I can maneuver through those menus at will. But I can’t sift through a phonebook or addresses for navigation…. This is really silly.

WHAT ELSE DID I SHOP FOR?
We pretty much looked at everything. Other than my gripes above, I LOVE everything else about this car: intelligent cruise control, simultaneous play of 3 source audio, audio sound (the Bose surprisingly sounds good), sliding middle seats, 3rd row legroom, panorama roof, quietness, comfortable ride, mileage, auto-start, cup holders everywhere, etc. I did a LOT of research. The final contender was the GMC Acadia Denali. It had an interior refresh for this year, but all other mechanicals were old. Reliability was suspect also. With this being the family car, I didn't want to take the risk. It's bigger than the JX, but lacked the refinement to me. It also didn't nearly have as much gadgets. Other 3 row non-minivan cars we looked at were the Honda Pilot (too bare and cheapy), the Mercedes GL (too expensive, but very nice), the Infiniti QX (2nd row won't slide but we would have otherwise gotten this one), Cadillac Escalade (I couldn't get over the "stigma"), Acura MDX (too ugly), Lincoln MKX (wow, that's super ugly), and Ford Explorer (bad 3rd row).
You realize there is a rather simple and very cheap way to have FULL access to ALL menu and navigation functions?????? This INCLUDES watching DVD's while the vehicle is in motion!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You realize there is a rather simple and very cheap way to have FULL access to ALL menu and navigation functions?????? This INCLUDES watching DVD's while the vehicle is in motion!
Yes, I know that... But I shouldn't have to hack into a $60k car to do that regardless of how easy it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any vehicle is set up the same way due to legal safety reasons. Fortunately it is such an easy mod!
ummm... no they are not, unless you're only talking about watching DVD's. On all my German cars, full menu access is available after you hit "ok" on the disclaimer that shows on startup. Aren't you the same guy that was insistent on stating that the JX had a self leveling suspension? ;)
 

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Little aggressive there buddy! Yes, that was me, and yes, that was incorrect info, but it is incorrect info that was found on Infiniti's mobile website.

I personally never cared for the German vehicles for various reasons, but to be able to do a $5 modification that even allows DVD to be viewed on the front screen is pretty sweet!
 

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Yes that blaring horn blast locking the doors with remote pisses me off too, I get home let at night and I'm always waking someone up, they should have added the much quieter chirp and let me select it, so basically I turned it off, but whoever is making these types of decisions at Infiniti is an idiot.
 

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The idiots at Infiniti gave you three options. You can leave the horn on. You can lock the door with the button on the door and just get the very mellow double chirp, or you can turn off the answer-back horn in Vehicle Settings and get nothing. Thank goodness though, at least there's something to whine about.
 
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