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roomy interior: Seven-passenger SUV beats other manufacturers with third-row seat



Styling is all swooshing lines — the double-arch grille and headlights, and double-wave hood, make the Infiniti JX35 stand out. Infiniti Canada

It’s not often I purposely sit in a vehicle in the driveway for a while to ‘get to know’ it.

Usually, with a new tester, I get in, adjust the mirrors, the seats, connect my phone via Bluetooth, enter a destination in the navigation system, and away we go.

Today, I sit in the driveway for a good 20-30 minutes and go through the myriad of systems and features meticulously. I wonder if the neighbours think I’m spying on them. I’m actually pretending I’m a Sports Mom, getting to know my new vehicle before I start my busy pickup and drop-off list for the day.

With the all-new 2013 JX35, Infiniti is trying to stem the flow of customers that have gone to other manufacturers that were quicker to the table with a seven-passenger SUV with that all-important third-row seat.

Styling is all swooshing, dramatic lines. It’s a large vehicle, which is not my first choice, but the double-arch front grille and headlights and the double-wave hood definitely make the JX35 stand out.

I’m not part of the demographic crowd that Infiniti is after with the JX. I don’t have teenagers or small children. Mine are in their 20s. I don’t have two primary vehicles and want a third people-mover. I do have a sporty car, as Infiniti says a JX owner may have. But Infiniti claims that already owning a sporty car will excuse the fact that the JX may be light on the performance side.

I say, does one need to channel Sebastian Vettel when running the kids between soccer and ballet? Not really.

The JX starts at $44,900, but the tester I’m sitting in has $13,500 worth of options. For the base price, there’s a seemingly endless list of standard features, including usual suspects that you’d expect from a luxury vehicle like leather seats, power driver and passenger seats and heated steering wheel.

That $13,500 will get you techy add-ons with acronyms like BCI, BSI, AVM with MOD. It’s all proven technology that vastly improves the safety of the driving experience. There’s Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Backup Collision Intervention, which actually engages the brakes if the driver takes no action after previous warnings about a potential rear collision have been ignored.

The 3.5-litre V6 engine produces 265 horsepower. Infiniti’s tag line, Inspired Performance, could apply to the continuously variable transmission (CVT). By now, most people are used to the lack of shift points in a CVT, although to me the seamlessness still feels weird. Put the JX in Sport mode and Infiniti’s first CVT does a reasonable job of ‘faking’ the sounds of a shifting 6-speed automatic transmission.

Like other things in life that are ‘faux,’ one may not mind this at all when the payoff is good. In the case of the large JX, that means better fuel economy, rated by Transport Canada at 11.5 L/100 km in the city and 8.5 L/100 km on the highway.

Yes, the 2013 Infiniti JX is a happy place to hang out, enjoy the interior, with its segment-leading overall passenger volume, and maybe even get some quality family time.

Some of the best conversations I’ve had with our three daughters have been en route to their activities. The roominess, soothing understated luxury, elegant wood touches, smooth finishes and easy dials and controls would help mitigate any arguing among the passengers.

I glance in the back seat and do a double-take. Strange cargo. Obviously, the third row is folded down. Three large snow tires are jumbled into the rear cargo area. In the second row, a fourth bulky snow tire looms alongside an empty baby seat. The baby seat has been provided by Infiniti to demonstrate the ease with which you can slide the second-row seat forward, without removing the baby seat, and allow access to the third row.

Its ‘superior third-row access’ is where Infiniti expects to shine over its competitors. Once the snow tires are delivered, I climb into the third row and imagine I’m a lanky teenager, complete with music-streaming earbuds and an ‘I-don’t-want-to-sit-up-there-with-the baby’ attitude. Not bad back there. Not bad at all.

As a mother, I’m all over the Infiniti Connection, which lets me sync my Google calendar, find sports scores and hear my daily horoscope. As a teenager with a new driver’s licence, I may not have enjoyed the Drive Zone/Max Speed Alert feature.

This feature allows parents to (let’s be honest) stalk our young drivers. Mom sets up a Drive Zone and if Junior crosses the boundary, Mom gets a text message, email or phone call. Mom sets up the maximum speed and if Junior’s foot gets a bit heavy, ding-ding, another text arrives on Mom’s smartphone.

So, if a sleek 2013 Infiniti JX35 suddenly appears in your driveway, young lady, be aware. Big Momma is watching.



Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/life/Inf...ossibilities/7687888/story.html#ixzz2ErijWU1u
 
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