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

Exterior And Mechanical Features

Infiniti equips all JX35 models with high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps paired with projectors to make nighttime driving easier. We found the headlamps to be very bright, and enjoyed driving on dark country roads with them.

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

Much like the newest Nissan Pathfinder, Infiniti's JX35 is based on a unibody platform derived from the Nissan Murano. Although such a design isn't known for its off-road capabilities, we probably wouldn't take the JX35 through trails anyway. The trade-off is that you get much better road manners, including a smooth car-like ride.

Our test mule featured a front-wheel drive-based AWD system, which delivers power primarily to the front wheels until slippage occurs. At that point, up to 50% of the power is diverted to the rear wheels.

A Familiar Powertrain

Infiniti sources power for its JX35 from the VQ35-series motor, the de facto V6 in virtually all Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. In case you're unfamiliar with the VQ35 series motor, it’s a 3.5-liter engine with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing, but lacks direct injection. Nevertheless, the motor delivers up to 265 hp and 248 ft-lbs of torque in Infiniti's JX35. This is no speed demon, but the vehicle gets up to highway cruising speeds quickly enough.

Infiniti pairs the VQ35DE with a continuously variable transmission, which is a first in an Infiniti vehicle, but a staple of the Nissan line-up. Unlike traditional automatics, a CVT does not have a fixed number of gears. Instead, it relies on steel belts that dynamically move up and down pulleys to maintain the engine's sweet spot, optimizing either for acceleration or fuel economy.

Previously, I wasn't a fan of CVTs. The last vehicle I drove with one was the 2008 Jeep Patriot. It was unrefined and sounded like four spastic hamsters about to have a stroke. It wasn’t pleasant at all. I'm happy to report that the JX35 changed my opinion. Acceleration is very linear, and the VQ35DE motor delivers a pleasant sound at wide-open throttle.

Selectable Drive Modes

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to driving style, and manufacturers are increasingly embracing this by enabling multiple modes, selectable at the turn of a knob. The JX35 has four such modes: Sport, Eco, Normal, and Snow. Each alters throttle response and the CVT's behavior.

As we already discussed, Eco mode is biased to fuel economy and engages the Eco Pedal feature. At the other end of the spectrum, Sport mode livens up the driving experience with quicker throttle response and higher "shift points." The JX35 is such a big, heavy vehicle, however, that there's not a sporting bone in its chassis. We weren't expecting sportiness though, so we kept the JX35 in Normal mode for most of our time with it.

  • sscultima
    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
    Reply
  • xpeh
    Wow, that's a sexy looking vehicle!
    Reply
  • blackcat357
    "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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    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.
    Reply
  • blackcat357
    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    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.
    Reply
  • kevinherring
    $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. :-)
    Reply
  • mansfield
    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
    Reply
  • MU_Engineer
    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    10448613 said:
    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 :).

    10448612 said:
    $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 :)
    Reply