Finding a vehicle with seating for seven isn’t that hard. Of course minivans have been doing this forever but so often consumers complain about the lack of cool factor associated with these typical soccer mom people movers.
So the industry started pumping out all sorts of SUV models with a third row of seating that sometimes was little more than a glorified rumble seat. And even when the third row was large enough to accommodate a regular-sized adult, the passage into that third row was either through a complex series of pulleys and levers to move the middle row forward, or you had to venture into the middle of the vehicle, through the captains chairs and finally to your seating destination.
Infiniti recently released the 2013 JX model, which feels like a larger FX opposed to just a smaller version of Infiniti’s behemoth QX model. While there are many standout features on the JX, one stands taller than the rest: easy access to the third row via a one-handed operation, which can be completed even with a baby seat installed.
Anyone who has ever put a baby seat in the middle row of a vehicle knows that pretty much spells the end of accessing the third row from that side of the car.
Arriving in showrooms in May with a starting price of $44,900, it takes square aim at both the Audi Q7 and the $52,690 Acura MDX. The paired down price doesn’t mean it’s without the same luxury level as its competitors.
The JX comes complete with a full leather interior, sunroof, power tailgate, heated seats and steering wheel, back-up camera, and tri-zone climate control. The maple accents are stained a dark brown and the tester I drove had several unique bird’s eye markings — a beautiful feature in some maple species.
The transmission features four modes: normal, sport, snow and eco. A 265-horsepower CVT engine gives the JX its power and while the ride is certainly comfortable without being squishy, I found myself wanting to leave the transmission in sport mode, which simulated gearing in traditional auto transmission automobiles. The other modes just didn’t feel as nice.
While other luxury SUVs might be the main target, luxury minivans also might feel the pinch of competition from the JX. The starting price is right around the luxury minivan range and for those looking to up their cool factor, the JX might be the answer.