Luxury automakers unfortunately do not like to stray too far from anything that has proven to be a winning formula in the past, even if it’s an idea originally from another luxury brand. Now, given its abundance of chrome trim along the grille and “crescent” shaped D-Pillars, The JX35 still looks like no other SUV on the road including the SUV we feel will be its arch nemesis on the market—the Acura MDX.
The 2012 Infiniti JX350 offers seven seats for occupants, every luxury and high tech safety feature on the market (go to Infiniti’s website to find out more), and with the much bigger JX you even only have to give up a little bit of the FX and EX’s sporty lines. But, hey, those SUVs have no cargo room so you pay a price.
Actually, cows have better singing voices much of the time than CVT automatics but the animalistic tone was undeniable. This is the one area where Infiniti could ruin the JX35 so we hope it reacts similarly to the 6-speed auto in the Acura and even better, like the excellent 8-speeed autos in the X5 and Q7.
Even though Infiniti doesn’t boast huge power ratings for this new suv, Infiniti is instead introducing new exclusive offers to the often ridiculously well taken care of premium brand buyer. First off, Infiniti will be offering buyers a 24-Hour concierge service with the JX that can help you get anything you need 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Yes, this SUV has its very own servant.
It makes sense that Acura would someday find another luxury brand mining the 7-passenger affordable luxury suv segment which is expected to explode in the next few years and is a big part of Infiniti’s plans to sell 400,000 cars a year worldwide. So how affordable is the 2012 Infiniti JX35 going to be when it goes on sale here? Well, thanks to being assembled in the U.S.A to avoid fluctuating Yen values with the dollar and a clear desire to compete right at the MDX price point, prices start at $40,450 for a front wheel drive model and $41,455 for an all-wheel drive version.
Now that is an impressive price given the generous standard equipment count which includes the usual standard luxury SUV amenities like leather but also boasts impressive attributes like a 3.5 liter 265 horsepower/248 lb. feet of torque V-6 connected to a CVT auto that returns an estimated 23 miles per gallon combined and well as more second and third row legroom than in the Cadillac Escalade. Try to keep in mind that the Infiniti JX may be blinged out with enough chrome to make an Escalade happy, its ride height and proportions all hint at a much more entertaining driving experience and level of refinement.
Do be aware that CVT automatics (Continuously Variable Transmissions) can behave very oddly with some recent models we’ve tested becoming so noisy when ascending steep grades at full throttle that we thought we had lost our marbles and a milk cow was in the car somehow.
There is also an all-new back-up collision intervention system that uses cameras to monitor what is behind your vehicle and if something is detected in your path it makes audible beeps and then will stop the vehicle on its own if you don’t respond. The interior is impressively packaged with sliding second row seats and the ability to tip the second row captain’s chair forward for easy, wide access to the third row even with an empty car seat still latched into the seat. Please note our reminder not to fold the second row seats forward with your baby in the actual seat.
Lastly, for the busiest beavers in the family, you can now download all of your “Google Scheduler” meetings into the vehicle’s hard drive and it will not only remind you of the event but also will take you there via the in-dash navigation system. Admittedly, navigation is optional but you’d be foolish not to invest the extra $4950 for the Premium Package which adds that feature, a Bose 13-speaker audio system and a lot more that will guarantee at least a partial return on your investment come resale time.
All Infiniti JX35 options come as part of at least four majorly tempting options packages so if you like electronic toys you may want to budget a bit higher than $40,000 but realize this same pricing escalation is all too easy even when buying an Acura MDX. If you are a parent of a grandparent who drives children with the attention span of a fruit fly around quite often then we also urge you to spend another $1,700 for rear seat DVD entertainment. It is a sanity lifesaver and will allow you to enjoy hours and hours of sweet drooling near silence from the back seat. Kids today can’t handle long road trips where they have to play the “license plate game” and spot all 50 states in order to win something like a stick of gum.
Looking back on our collective years in the back of land yacht station wagons, we have to admit that a lot of these feature and gizmo packed luxury 7-passenger SUVs don’t seem like something you just want to have. They truly become life essentials and as is always true in America, liberal and flashy splashes of chrome all across the exterior never fail to catch our eyes. Truly, the Infiniti JX35 will excel in a nation full of people who love to hand bedazzle their blue jeans.