Infiniti JX35
By: Scott Evans

We Like: Quiet cabin, loads of features, sporting pretensions.

We Don't Like: Hyperactive stability control, cramped rear seats, too similar to Pathfinder for the price.

The all-new Infiniti JX slots nicely into a small hole in the brand's lineup between the smaller, sportier FX and the massive QX. With three-row seating like the QX's, but easier entry and egress and better fuel economy, the JX fits the bill for upper-middle-class soccer-team haulers upgrading from a minivan.

For performance of intended function, then, it hits the nail on the head. Judges were impressed with the JX's quiet, luxurious cabin, sporty performance, and long list of features.

"The Infiniti's cabin isolation at speed is on another level from its Nissan sibling," Floyd wrote. "I had it turning nearly 5000 rpm in Sport mode in fourth gear out on the highway, and I could barely hear the engine running. It was wild." Several judges remarked on the rich interior materials, with Loh calling the cabin "comfy and inviting."

The JX was also praised for its sporty side. "This is the first CVT that actually feels eager versus elastic," noted Loh. "Throttle response is excellent in sport mode, and this is the most fun I've had 'shifting' a CVT. 'Gear changes' are crisp, with the expected drops in rpm."

Unfortunately, there were caveats. Several editors complained about excessive stability control interference on the winding road segment. Markus logged: "This thing seems to be forever on the brakes. Remember the driving school idea of a string from the wheel to the brake, pulling the brake off as you turn in? Here the string works the opposite way, seemingly pushing the brake any time you turn the wheel."

Judges also took issue with the Infiniti's similarity to its Nissan sibling. "There should be more for the JX buyer," Loh said. "Not enough product separation from the Pathfinder," Lassa added, and Harwood wrote, "It's a shame that you'd theoretically pay $15K more for the JX than the Pathfinder, only to get the same engine and a different transmission tune."

There's a lot to like about the JX, but with lingering questions about its value and handling, it didn't have what it takes to be Sport/Utility of the Year.

2013 Infiniti JX 35
BASE PRICE $42,500
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.5L/265-hp/248-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION -speed cont. variable auto
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4541 lb (55/45%)
WHEELBASE 114.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.4 x 77.2 x 67.8 in
0-60 MPH 8.2 sec
QUARTER MILE 16.3 sec @ 88.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 120 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.3 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 187/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.97 lb/mile