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

Infiniti complements its Hard Drive Navigation system with maps from Navteq. They're fairly current, and had no issues finding our home base in a housing tract built in 2010.

The Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation system's layout and user interface are both easy to use and understand. We were particularly fond of the JX35's side-by-side mode, where upcoming directions appear on the left side with the map on the right. This lets us keep the next instruction in mind, which is most useful in a city, where you make subsequent turns and need to choose lanes wisely.

If you live in a city like Seattle, the Hard Drive Navigation system offers 3D maps when you're zoomed in close enough. I rarely visit Seattle, so I can say the 3D maps actually come in useful for navigating a crowded urban area. They also look a lot cooler than the standard two-dimensional maps.

Since the infotainment system includes Sirius XM, NavTraffic and NavWeather are integrated. In our previous experiences with the technologies, we found we were better off using our own judgment. When NavTraffic told us there was traffic up ahead, we'd sail through. When it told us the path was clear, we ended up in congestion. The same applies today, though this is perhaps less the fault of Infiniti and more SiriusXM's problem.

The Hard Drive Navigation system excels when it comes to points of interest. Infiniti even goes so far as to integrate restaurant reviews from Zagat Survey in its restaurant POIs. You also get more detailed information on the restaurant, which is pretty helpful when you get hungry in an unfamiliar place.

You might not like the asking price for Infiniti's map updates (though this is really the case for any luxury-oriented ride these days). The JX35's preinstalled maps are naturally included, and the newest available. But when new maps come out, expect to pay $249 for an update.

Personal Assistant

Infiniti provides a 24-hour concierge service called Infiniti Personal Assistant with its JX35. The company claims you can ask the concierge random state facts, weather forecasts, activity recommendations, and other questions along those lines. Unfortunately, you cannot get dating advice from the concierge.

We were unable to test this feature during our week with the JX35; however, Infiniti does provides free access to the Personal Assistant for the first four years you own your JX35.

Phone Connectivity

You also get Bluetooth connectivity with basic phone profiles for hands-free communication, phonebook access, and audio streaming. The JX35's system does not support text messaging or Internet tethering.

We had no problems connecting our Galaxy Nexus reference device to the vehicle. Pairing is intuitive; you press the phone button and the system asks if you'd like to add a phone (if there aren't any previously-paired phones available). Infiniti employs noise cancellation in the JX35, and conversations were exceptionally clear on both ends of our conversations, free of road noise.

Voice Commands

Infiniti employs an archaic sub-menu voice command system that requires you to instruct the JX35 step-by-step, rather than enabling a more natural sentence-based flow, such as what we saw from SYNC with MyFord Touch. The voice recognition is accurate enough, but we still found it to be cumbersome. We gravitated toward the physical control knob for most of the week we spent reviewing Infiniti's JX35.

  • 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