- Excellent value for a large luxury vehicle
- Plenty of interior room makes for a practical alternative to the minivan or full-size SUV
- Impressive safety technology, especially the Backup Collision Intervention System
- Well-appointed interior is easily as nice as most luxury sedans
- Needs a more powerful engine, especially when fully loaded
- Handling could also be a bit more inspiring
- MSRP inflates very easily when you add all the available technology
Let’s say you have a family and you need a larger vehicle. But you don’t want to buy a boring minivan, or a hulking large SUV. And the large family sedan is almost extinct, so that’s not really an option. So you end up looking at three-row crossovers, but most of the choices just seem a bit plain and unrefined.
With the new JX35, Infiniti has what it believes is the perfect answer to this situation: A vehicle that offers all the practical benefits of a large SUV, along with the refined driving experience and available features of a luxury sedan.
The JX35 is an interesting new entry in the Infiniti lineup, given that Infiniti already makes two other luxury crossover SUVs. The JX35 technically fits in between the smaller, sportier FX35 and the even larger QX56, but the JX35 offers almost as much interior room as the QX56, just without all theburliness and without a big V8 under the hood.
Although Infiniti has staked its reputation on the performance of its cars, the JX35 seems to deliberately push performance into the background. The powertrain has been pulled straight from the Nissan Murano, which means you get a 265-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and either front- or all-wheel drive.
This combination is perfectly adequate when cruising around town, but load the JX35 with passengers or cargo and you’ll notice the engine straining a bit to keep pace, especially on the freeway or in the hills. We’re honestly a bit perplexed as to why Infiniti chose not to place its significantly more powerful 3.7-liter V6 under the hood.
On the plus side, the CVT helps maximize fuel efficiency, and the JX35 is one of the least thirsty large vehicles we’ve tested. We easily averaged over 20 mpg during mixed driving, which fits nicely within the EPA estimates of 18 city, 24 hwy (23 hwy for AWD models). Although CVTs are rarely praised for their performance, this one quietly went about its business, shifting gear ratios seamlessly to both conserve fuel and provide power when needed.