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

Around View Monitor And Eco Pedal

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) works to make back-up cameras mandatory on all vehicles, Infiniti takes the concept and adds three more cameras to create a 360-degree external view of the vehicle with its Around View Monitor technology. The feature sees a wide-angle camera placed on the bottom of each side-view mirror and one up front. The front-mounted camera is part of the Infiniti badge, which keeps the front fascia clean of random bulges.

Inside, the vehicle’s infotainment system stitches together images from all four cameras to create a bird's-eye view of the JX35's surroundings. The Around View Monitor image appears next to the back-up camera output on the vehicle's eight-inch LCD screen, which we found particularly useful as we maneuvered the fairly large JX35. There are various other display modes as well to further ease parking duties.

Unlike traditional back-up cameras that only engage when the vehicle is in reverse, there’s a dash-mounted button that turns on the Around View Monitor display at low speed. If you're insecure about your parallel parking abilities or simply want to make sure there aren't any toddlers wandering around in front of the JX35, it's nice to have flexible access to this feature.

The Around View Monitor is part of Infiniti's Premium Package, which adds a hefty $4,950 to the JX35's MSRP.

Eco Pedal

Fuel efficiency has been driving marketing every since gas prices pushed beyond $3/gallon. If you opt for the Driver Assistance Package, which we'll cover in more detail shortly, you get one of Infiniti's solutions to fuel economy: the Eco Pedal. The Eco Pedal activates when the vehicle is in Eco mode, making it harder to drive aggressively, we'd say.

The idea is to make acceleration more gradual and less violent, rather than allowing you to mash the gas. The mechanism is as simple as it sounds, though you could replicate the pedal's functionality in any other vehicle by simply using a bit of self-control.

During our week with the JX35, we tried to leave the car in Eco mode, but found the pedal’s resistance to spirited driving very frustrating. We appreciate what Infiniti is trying to do with its Eco Pedal, but we'd rather regulate the gas ourselves depending on our mood, rather than having a mechanical nanny govern it for us. Once we tired of Eco mode, we spent more time in Normal and Sport modes.