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2013 Infiniti JX35: Getting Us One Step Closer To A Driverless Car

2013 Infiniti JX35: Getting Us One Step Closer To A Driverless Car
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Infiniti tossed us the keys to its 2013 JX35 crossover, loaded with driver assistance technologies that almost have the vehicle driving itself. We took it out for a week and tested all of the company's innovative extras. Which ones do you really need?

Nissan launched its Infiniti brand exclusively for the United States back in 1989 to court luxury car buyers who found Nissan vehicles too mundane or mainstream for their tastes. Back then, the company kept its more plush vehicles in Japan, and sent mostly front-wheel drive vehicles to the U.S. Infiniti sought to change that, introducing a little more sumptuousness to Nissan’s product portfolio.

The original Infiniti line-up consisted of a single vehicle, the subtly-styled Q45 sedan based on the Japanese Nissan President, which set its sights on the established Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, and Jaguar XJ-series. On paper, Infiniti's Q45 was quite competitive with its torquey V8 and standard limited-slip differential, with four-wheel steering and active suspension options available on the Q45t model.

Infiniti followed up the Q45 with its M30 coupe and convertible in 1990, which were semi-rebadged Nissan Leopards (I say semi-rebadged because the exterior was completely identical to the F31 Leopard, but the dashboard was ripped out of the R31 Skyline) that were only available in Japan. I personally owned a 1991 Infiniti M30 convertible (the beauty up top) for a brief six months. It wasn't a bad car at all, despite almost two decades of wear and tear. But the M30 was a far cry from a luxury coupe compared to the Mercedes, Lexus, Lincoln, and Cadillac cars available back then.

That was 22 years ago. Today, Infiniti has a much more comprehensive stable of cars, crossovers, and SUVs available beyond our shores. In fact, the company has its global headquarters in Hong Kong...

The Infiniti JX35 at the Rainier View and Nursery in Graham, WAThe Infiniti JX35 at the Rainier View and Nursery in Graham, WA

...which brings us to the focus of this story: the 2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD crossover. Infiniti tossed us the keys and let us spend a week with its Nissan Pathfinder-based CUV. The JX35 seats seven and comes loaded beyond belief, with Premium, Theater, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages including everything from twin rear seven-inch displays, a 360-degree view camera system, a boatload of driver assists, and a portable toilet. Alright, not that last part. The window sticker on our sample rings in at an MSRP of $55,700.

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  • 3 Hide
    sscultima , January 30, 2013 4:02 AM
    Oddly enough, with all the hype over this vehicle, I work for roadside assistance, and just myself alone i have had at least 3 dispatch's for this vehicle due to breakdowns and 1 was for an accident.

    so i wonder really how many issues or accidents have happen all over the world so far for this vehicle
  • 0 Hide
    xpeh , January 30, 2013 4:19 AM
    Wow, that's a sexy looking vehicle!
  • 6 Hide
    blackcat357 , January 30, 2013 4:31 AM
    "The audible warning does get annoying. However, if you need a feature like BSW to make safe lane changes, then the nag is probably appropriate." That was my favorite quote in the whole article. Personally i don't like or want any of these features. I love driving. If i stand on the brake pedal i want to lock them up. If i get road rage and want to push granny out of the fast lane i don't want my to tell me i cant.

    Call me crazy but i like driving. I think its fun actually. It seems to me taking control from the driver is the wrong solution. This and Gun control have the same solution Limit who can get them. Some people shouldn't have a license (we all know the stereotypical ditsy blonde girl) so take these cars back and give us back the 2010 Viper that had no driver "aides" (i view them the same way as the disease)

    Heres a solution. Make every one drive a standard transmission again. If your shifting your sure as hell not texting or reading facebook. Make the driver pay attention dont give them an excuse not too, which seems to be what this car is doing.
    OH i didn't wreck, im a good driver my car made the mistake! i was sleeping.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , January 30, 2013 4:36 AM
    I'm the author of the article.

    I agree with you blackcat357. I find the technology very fascinating and enjoy testing it, but I myself enjoy driving. I do find the full-range adaptive cruise control awesome. But at the other end of the spectrum is people who hate driving that are unattentive, I almost had a Chrysler Aspen plow into me on Saturday while driving the minivan. I'm not kidding, the guy tried to change into my lane while I was in view of all his mirrors, without signaling. People like that need these technologies to keep them from plowing into me.

    But luckily there are still cars for people like us that enjoy driving, Mazda has a complete lineup and there's the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ. Its a good time for cars IMO.

    I miss having a manual though, need to eventually swap one into my BMW wagon.

    @sscultima that's very funny. I wonder how much it costs to repair when one of those systems fail. I'd hate to see the bill. I honestly wonder how many people think its the holy grail of laziness and just plow into someone else anyways and try to blame the car.
  • 1 Hide
    blackcat357 , January 30, 2013 4:41 AM
    Its not that i inherently have a problem with these technologies. Its this one simple question that gets me.

    How long will it be until the Government makes all these "aides" MANDATORY

    Think Will Smith in I ROBOT. Cars drive themselves and manual mode is frowned upon if not actually illegal.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , January 30, 2013 4:44 AM
    Yea, I'm not fond of the NHTSA trying to make back-up cameras mandatory either. I find them a nicety, not a necessity especially with how much cars cost nowadays. Most importantly they won't prevent anything if the person behind the wheel is a moron and won't use it, ie the lady that backed over her daughter because she heard the door close and assumed her daughter was in the car and didn't bother turning her head to make sure the kids were all in and buckled up. She still managed to back over and kill her child despite having the back-up proximity sensors on her Escalade.

    You can't govern idiots or try to force technology on them.
  • 1 Hide
    kevinherring , January 30, 2013 8:42 AM
    $3/gallon? $3/gallon???? My heart bleeds for you

    What I wouldn't give for $3/gallon. Just over $9/gallon here in blighty. 1992 was the last time we had such prices. :-)
  • -1 Hide
    mansfield , January 30, 2013 11:21 AM
    kevinherring$3/gallon? $3/gallon???? My heart bleeds for youWhat I wouldn't give for $3/gallon. Just over $9/gallon here in blighty. 1992 was the last time we had such prices. :-)

    $9 USD? I think you should do a conversion. and in florida where I live it's around $4 a gallon
  • 0 Hide
    MU_Engineer , January 30, 2013 11:46 AM
    Anything that takes the driver's eyes away from the path of the vehicle, their attention away from driving, and results in an unpredictable response from the vehicle is a very bad, very unsafe thing to have in a vehicle. The backup cameras are one such thing as you must be looking forward to use them, while the vehicle is traveling in reverse. That is a great recipe to back right into the path of another vehicle that was outside of the limited camera range/angle. All of the "infotainment" stuff is another distraction in a lot of cases- you are fiddling with it and not keeping your eyes on the road in most cases. The absolute worst is the "eco pedal" here. Pushing the throttle and getting a variable response dependent on the whims of the computer is very dangerous. You don't get enough warning in emergency situations to think about "oh, I need to go through the vehicle menu to disable the Eco Pedal, and then I can try to avoid hitting that guy who merged into my lane going 30 under the limit while not being hit by oncoming traffic." A fully self-driving car would be even worse as you would be paying NO attention in most cases to the driving. If it has a hiccup, you will crash before you even know what happened.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , January 30, 2013 12:04 PM
    Quote:
    Anything that takes the driver's eyes away from the path of the vehicle, their attention away from driving, and results in an unpredictable response from the vehicle is a very bad, very unsafe thing to have in a vehicle. The backup cameras are one such thing as you must be looking forward to use them, while the vehicle is traveling in reverse. That is a great recipe to back right into the path of another vehicle that was outside of the limited camera range/angle. All of the "infotainment" stuff is another distraction in a lot of cases- you are fiddling with it and not keeping your eyes on the road in most cases. The absolute worst is the "eco pedal" here. Pushing the throttle and getting a variable response dependent on the whims of the computer is very dangerous. You don't get enough warning in emergency situations to think about "oh, I need to go through the vehicle menu to disable the Eco Pedal, and then I can try to avoid hitting that guy who merged into my lane going 30 under the limit while not being hit by oncoming traffic." A fully self-driving car would be even worse as you would be paying NO attention in most cases to the driving. If it has a hiccup, you will crash before you even know what happened.


    I didn't even think about the Eco pedal in that way, the response isn't variable, it just provides active resistance again trying to floor it, but that might be an issue when you need to in emergency situations. However, given how terrible drivers on the road are, they usually slam on the brakes to make situations worse at times. But in the argument for the car, it would slow down automatically when the guy merging at 30MPH pulls out :) .

    Quote:
    $9 USD? I think you should do a conversion. and in florida where I live it's around $4 a gallon


    Its around $3.60 or so for regular in WA, but we have higher taxes but still nowhere near the levels in Europe, but at least you guys get awesome tiny fuel efficient diesel cars :) 
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , January 30, 2013 12:33 PM
    Pretty cool stuff under ideal conditions, though in most places conditions are not ideal.

    I wonder how the intelligent cruise and brake assist or lane departure prevention work in rain, snow, slush. They all depend on light. When the light is distorted, how effective are these technologies?

    Good stuff though. Really a step in the right direction.

  • 0 Hide
    maxinexus , January 30, 2013 12:39 PM
    56k for this? No thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , January 30, 2013 12:40 PM
    Navteq maps based navigation, the single reason I would never choose to pay for their navigation system.

    Not only is the nav system horribly overpriced but to pay $250 to get updated maps sucks hard. I have had 2 previous vehicles with Navteq maps navigation and hated both of them.

    These automakers need to wake up and realize you can get free navigation from Google that always has 100% up to date maps.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , January 30, 2013 1:11 PM
    Quote:
    Pretty cool stuff under ideal conditions, though in most places conditions are not ideal.

    I wonder how the intelligent cruise and brake assist or lane departure prevention work in rain, snow, slush. They all depend on light. When the light is distorted, how effective are these technologies?

    Good stuff though. Really a step in the right direction.


    They may have issues functioning in the rain or snow as it does rely on cameras that need to see the lane markers. Hell, even bright sunlight at the wrong angle could probably blind the cameras.

    Quote:
    56k for this? No thanks.


    Its not a car for everybody.

    Quote:
    Navteq maps based navigation, the single reason I would never choose to pay for their navigation system.

    Not only is the nav system horribly overpriced but to pay $250 to get updated maps sucks hard. I have had 2 previous vehicles with Navteq maps navigation and hated both of them.

    These automakers need to wake up and realize you can get free navigation from Google that always has 100% up to date maps.


    They do, that's why some companies are working on integrating Mirror Link. More phones just need to support it though. I feel ya about map updates. The Chrysler 430N unit in my minivan has a Garmin based system and maps cost $200. The navigation function will occasionally nag that the maps are out of date too. Not worth upgrading IMO.
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , January 30, 2013 3:13 PM
    I have a '13 Altima which has the same LCD information display in the gauge. I'm surprised that considering the premiums that you pay for the JX that it doesn't include features like the navigation system integrated into it. My Altima does that and it was 1/2 the cost of the JX.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , January 30, 2013 3:21 PM
    Quote:
    I have a '13 Altima which has the same LCD information display in the gauge. I'm surprised that considering the premiums that you pay for the JX that it doesn't include features like the navigation system integrated into it. My Altima does that and it was 1/2 the cost of the JX.


    The JX35 navigation system is totally different, it runs QNX and some SoC. The Altima system is a new generation that runs on Intel Atom. Which reminds me I need to schedule the Altima soon while its still available :) 
  • 0 Hide
    sanilmahambre , January 30, 2013 6:12 PM
    Sounds like they have the technology that is used in Aeroplanes
  • -1 Hide
    bak0n , January 30, 2013 11:15 PM
    Can't wait to cut block one into a round about.
  • 0 Hide
    wip99gt , January 30, 2013 11:35 PM
    For that price I'll stick to my WK2 Grand Cherokee. It actually can go off road, has a low speed transfer case, gets just as good fuel economy, and doesn't have all those annoying safety features. As well the $15000 less I paid for it, $10000 less counting the modifcations I've done to it, is paying for my new motorcycle. It's not that this is a bad vehicle it's just that's too much of a premium for a lifted up all wheel drive car for me. I expect to see a lot of 60 year old people driving this 10kmph under the speed limit in my city real soon.
  • 0 Hide
    wip99gt , January 30, 2013 11:38 PM
    [/citation] The Chrysler 430N unit in my minivan has a Garmin based system and maps cost $200. The navigation function will occasionally nag that the maps are out of date too. Not worth upgrading IMO.[/citation]
    I didn't like the 430N myself. I replaced it 2 months after buying my Jeep with a JVC one. Now my navigation runs through bluetooth from my phone to it. It works out really well for me as I can use the Oiltrax program off of my phone for finding pads and lease roads up here.
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