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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


Sometimes we work too hard for success. We listen to others, constructive criticism or not, doing our best to make a change for the better. But are we really accomplishing that? I’ve always wondered if the ends justify the means. Not for me at CCS in Detroit: after trying to change myself to fit a certain mold and failing, I realized I’m totally okay with (most) everything I do. On or off the vellum.

I wonder if vehicles like the Infiniti JX are the byproduct of a design studio trying too hard to address criticisms. Or maybe this is just a common case of “over-styling” a vehicle. Either way, here we are.



Is that a big-ass badge in ‘yo grille, or are you just happy to see me?

Since when did we let vehicles get so big (or tall) that emblems make a statement by being the size of a license plate? I’m not sure if I love/hate the lumps and bumps on the hood, bumper and the strange wraparound curves of the headlights. The wings at the ends of the hood are a bit much, but nothing compared to that XXL grille. Silly makes the wrong statement for a luxury car brand.



While Lexus’ “spindle” grille has a certain presence from its sharp curves and layers of texture/elevations, this flat and flabby grille shows why Infiniti always plays second fiddle to that other premium Japanese brand.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
When you need textured light/wind diffusers in such an obvious location on the headlight, you did something wrong. Maybe there was a last minute legality issue with the light output, or maybe those things were needed to smooth out the aerodynamics. Or maybe something else. Whatever that design problem is, this was the wrong solution.



This Mustang-esque lower valence treatment looks too sporty for a truck. Or SUV. Or CUV. But when you have a face as tall as this, you got a lot of real estate to style. At least the chrome fog light trim and not-solid plastic grille looks suitably upscale.



Hello Mr. Front Fascia, I’d like you to meet Mr. Hood and Mr. Fender. You guys obviously hate each other, but that’s what happens when you add too many curves with no real place to merge elements cleanly. For a fine example of this concept, check out the 1984 Corvette. It tucked away every panel gap behind a protective rubber stripe.



I love how this pointy styling element at the end of the headlight is cleanly and thoroughly filled in with an amber signal light. It adds sanity to an otherwise insane lighting pod.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Gatling Gun look of the third generation Infiniti Q45 is alive and well in the JX. And that’s a good thing.



I enjoy directional, twisty wheels on vehicles with boring sheetmetal, it brings visual excitement where needed. The JX’s voluptuous curves don’t need them: it adds too much noise to an already noisy body. Furthermore, can you believe how short (yet tall in height) the overhang is on this machine?

Like Disco music in 1983, car based trucks are wearing really, really thin these days.



No DLO fail and the fender/door/A-pillar meeting point is pretty logical. Until you see just how much dead space there is between the A-pillar and the hood. That’s one oddly shaped fender!



The negative area highlighted here may become a significant design element as you walk further back, but it starts in a horribly undefined/arbitrary location. I’d move it much farther away from the door’s cutline, so it’d be less of an afterthought and “part of the whole” package.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The little tumor at the bottom of the side-view mirror doesn’t please the eyes. Considering the size of this part, there wasn’t enough real estate for a cleaner installation?



There’s a tacked-on mud flap up front, a clever chrome moulding (when nobody woulda minded ordinary paint) and a flared lower moulding at the bottom. I hate the latter, as they are usually so big that they require “notching” so you can actually open the door without squishing the moulding. Pontiacs of the 1990s were terrible about this, and it’s sad to see this trend continue apace.



More moulding notching. Nothing says “We don’t really try very hard” quite like a severely notched moulding.



The notch doesn’t go away when you step back. Even worse, the wavy sheetmetal is a unique element to the JX. Waves are a slippery slope, so to speak. The more waves you add, the uglier the door cut line becomes. I liked the aggressive (yet symmetric) coke-bottle profile of the 1996 Taurus from this angle, perhaps that’s the upper limit of good taste.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Toyota is pretty bad about over-styling the sheetmetal beneath the door handle to give a unique appearance, and now Infiniti is following suit. Somehow, some way, this trend needs to stop.



No hate here, the JX is quite the looker from this angle. All the waves and curves work mighty fine.



But (and there’s always a but) I can’t stand this plastic swoop holding the quarter window at the base of the C-pillar. Maybe this smooths out the aero at highway speeds, but it sure is hideous.



And the big plastic triangle for the rear door’s window isn’t especially beautiful. But at least it adds a little hard-edged blockiness to an otherwise frilly and frou-frou package.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ack! The plastic triangle bends up the window seal! Infiniti is far from the only automaker doing this bit of design sin, I just wish I could banish this to the land of tailfins, open fenders and other outdated design elements.



I needed to snag an EVOX image to really show off the side. From afar the JX looks much cleaner. The fender flares and side sculpturing are not just appealing, they are unique. But, as I’ve tried to show in the last few pictures, they over-styled the hell outta this vehicle. And for no good reason!



Speaking of…I normally like a radical looking side window, but this one tries way too hard. The logical crease that sweeps back to the tailgate is a nice touch, ditto the plastic tailgate trim emulating the window’s curve. But it’s not enough: this is such a silly design element.



Yup, still very silly. Plus, it makes a rather impressive blind spot. Remember when people bought SUV’s for their excellent view of the road from all corners? That died sometime around the Explorer-Firestone tire debacle.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
While the front can get away with the curves and bubbles, the business end of a CUV needs to be boxy. Infiniti tries harder than most to hide that truth, and the overall look is contrived and counter-intuitive. The lower curve of the rear glass gives the rear end a silly smile, while the rakish lighting pods have no business on a CUV. Infiniti’s signature upper and lower license plate chrome mustaches are similarly out of place. When it comes to the business end of any vehicle, being simple (or at least functionally honest) in the design is the right move.



More to the point, the JX’s rear hatch has too many elevation changes. I like the design on the tail lights from this angle, if they were flush with the body. Stop trying so hard to be different! There’s not enough room for creative expressions at this point!



Here’s an EVOX image since mine was too washed out from this angle. You can’t see the elevation changes from here, which makes the JX look cleaner. Flattening out most of the elevation changes would make the JX look this good at other angles. But there’s really no hope in saving that rear glass treatment: this isn’t a Nissan Murano. It doesn’t work here.



Bumper protection is usually an extra-cost option, but it shouldn’t be this much of an afterthought. If you can’t flush this part into the bumper for all models, at least chop it off before it melts down the bumper. I’m fine with this treatment on a Hyundai CUV or similar, but Infiniti is a luxury brand!

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When your emblem sits this close to your chrome trim, either the badge needs a shrink or your painted real estate needs more acreage. Shrink the badge down, we know this isn’t a Honda! We promise!



This oval element is a nicely integrated item. Kudos.



my favorite part of the JX is the sleek and functional components making up the rear wiper arm



Now that I think about it, not only are there too many elevation changes on the rear end, but the lights are too narrow for this gigantic ass.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yup, they need to be inches thicker. Inches, because the dead space between the bumper and the tail lights is rather extravagant. And not in a good way.



Combine all my other beefs with the two different textures presented in the tail lights, and I really grow weary of this back end. Simplify your life!

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful week!

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/vellum-venom-2013-infiniti-jx/
 

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This review echoes my thoughts exactly and the reasons why I think it was rushed to market possibly to get a year or two ahead of the MDX refresh. Its interesting though that the MDX is still selling double the volume or more than the JX even after 6 months on the market.
I still went ahead and bought one because I liked driving it compared to the Q7, MDX. In my comparison chart, the JX stood first. And the nanny controls possibly prevented me from dozing off while driving at 2am last night making me take a break and a nap before continuing the rest of the drive back home.
 

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Ok, I love my JX, I am over all this whining about the car.
Agreed- I admit, I wasn't 1st sold on the exterior design either, I'm still not. I read this review, bashing the exterior styling.. Purchasing this vehicle wasn't about the Exterior Styling.. Honestly, I could care less. The amount of features, storage capacity, technology, and fuel economy, for the price... is why we purchased. These stupid design elements were the least of our concerns. I feel as if the JX is intented to compete against other luxury 3rd row seat cross overs... Acura MDX/Volvo XC90/Audi Q7/Mercedes GL/Lexus460- .. without having to get a boat, like an Escalade. We are happy with our JX too. Never even compared it to Nissan Pathfinder which IMO is same class as Honda Pilot/Mazda CX-9/Toyota Highlander.. etc... I did initially talk my wife into getting a Sorrento =) ..That lasted about 2 seconds... I imagine the quality of materials in the JX would outlast anything in a kia. The kia's look sweet in those commercials, but they are always in Dark settings, with fluorescent lighting.. After a couple years on the road, those cars will look nothing like that......
 

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Its interesting how the camry has gone to cleaner lines. Even the Accord is doing the same.
I hope Infiniti stays with their design theme though. I am a big fan of the G coupe and the FX (more the 1st gen FX).
Lexus always copies the big boys. Their new interiors borrows heavily from Audi (and maybe BMW).
 

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It saddens me to agree with these findings. Wow. In plain site. Hugely disappointing.
This has always been the design language of Infiniti. If you like the looks of another car, then go for it. Beauty is personal. One person's liking might not be others. Though most people seem to say they didn't buy the JX because of its looks.
The JX does have some very striking angles. There are others which are equally bad. At the end of the day it is one of the best cars in this category if you are in the market today.
 

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Really...the writer is a whine-O. Each design from anything cannot cater to everyone, but bashing the JX for everything is a bit much (even though I agree with some). Especially considering it is a known fact what Infiniti's design language is. Anyways...if consumers buy just on looks alone; nothing would sell.
 

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This has always been the design language of Infiniti. If you like the looks of another car, then go for it. Beauty is personal. One person's liking might not be others. Though most people seem to say they didn't buy the JX because of its looks.
The JX does have some very striking angles. There are others which are equally bad. At the end of the day it is one of the best cars in this category if you are in the market today.
Please don't take my reply the wrong way. I'm going to get a JX next year (I would NEVER buy a first-year model... I can wait).

With that said, I got sucked in by Infiniti's public relation's efforts in the beginning. Because the JX pics shoot the car in the best possible light. And when you visit the showroom (and combine these findings together), there's a disappointment factor for sure. At least for me.

For example, the car seems to be a dirt magnet. Every time we see one on the road, it's dirty. Yet every other Infiniti always looks clean... even older models.

Even the chrome (which I understand is actually some sort of composite/plastic) always seems to looked smudged with fingerprints. I don't remember seeing this with the FX, G, M, etc.

Combine what I saw first hand at the showroom (actually, multiple showrooms as I've been to 3) along with the article brings was a bit of a downer for me.

I think it's crucial to talk about this here. Because Infiniti reps troll this forum (and others) a LOT. And I hope that our feedback will make the JX better in the next build.

With that said, this article in today's Philly.com juiced me back up:
http://www.philly.com/philly/classi..._gadgets_that_take_notice_when_you_don_t.html
 
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