Handling is decidedly mild-mannered, with steering that can best be described as light and pleasantly numb. The upside is that the JX35 drives like a smaller car, a plus for buyers who are concerned with being able to handle such a large vehicle. The suspension is nicely balanced and doesn’t flop over too badly in the turns, but this is definitely not a vehicle in which to make great haste.
Luckily, what the JX35 lacks in performance it makes up for with an impressive array of available technology. For starters, the JX35 can practically drive itself. With features like Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), you could practically doze off behind the wheel without getting into too much trouble.
There is even a new Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) system, which automatically stops the vehicle if you are about to run someone over while backing down the driveway. We conned an unwitting acquaintance into helping us test this feature by sitting down in the middle of the road as we drove towards him in reverse, and needless to say he emerged unscathed, if a bit unnerved.
The JX35 also offers an impressive array of available interior technology, especially if you order the Premium package, which gets you Navigation, Bose Premium Audio, and Infiniti’s Around View Monitor. This system uses four cameras to create an image of the car and its surroundings, which looks almost like what you would see if you were hovering over the car in a helicopter. It’s a neat trick that is actually very useful when maneuvering in a crowded parking lot.
Unlike most minivans and SUVs, the interior of the JX35 easily meets luxury car expectations, with fine leather upholstery and quality materials all around. Tri-zone automatic temperature control comes standard, to keep everyone comfy. Order the theater package and you get dual 7-inch monitors mounted in the front seat headrests, along with wireless headphones, a wireless remote control, and auxiliary audio/video input jacks for each screen. Needless to say, the JX35 would be an excellent choice for long summer road trips, or anytime you need to keep the kids occupied.
With an MSRP that starts at $40,650, the JX35 also offers relatively good value. Add all the tech options and the price easily inflates to over $50k, but even then you would spend far more for comparably equipped models from other manufacturers. Although large, family sized cars are never going to offer the performance or excitement of a nice luxury sports sedan, the JX35 proves that at least you don’t have to sacrifice luxury, comfort, or available features when buying a people hauler.