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2013 Infiniti JX35 Long-Term Update 3

Daily Driving a la Mode

Julia LaPalme
Sep 23, 2013
Photographers: Motor Trend Staff
I recently took the JX35 in for its third maintenance interval, which was simply an oil change, oil filter change, and tire rotation. There was a concern that the front driver's side wheel was making noises at freeway speeds, but the folks at the Infiniti dealership found nothing wrong with the wheel or suspension parts. After making sure our vehicle was not part of recall #13V139000 for a failed brake torque member, they assured me the noise I heard was the hydrolic-electric steering.
Aside from mysterious noises, the JX35 could use a little finesse in the cruise control department. While driving in Normal and Eco modes around town can be a bit sluggish, driving in Sport mode while using cruise control is almost jarring. For the most part, the JX cruises well on the freeway, using adaptive cruise control to mind its distance from vehicles ahead of us. However, when the adaptive cruise control has slowed down below my set speed, and I change lanes to pass slower traffic, the JX suddenly accelerates aggressively to get back up to speed.
Photo 2/9   |   2013 Infiniti JX35 Hook
By comparison, our long-term Mercedes Benz GL350 Bluetec features adaptive cruise control without any abrupt braking or acceleration, or the need for flipping any switches. The Benz alerts the driver of upcoming traffic, decelerates smoothly, keeps pace, then gently accelerates when clear of slower vehicles. Unfortunately, this finely tuned feature is in a vehicle that costs an additional $15K.
Of course, it makes sense that Sport mode is going to change the Infiniti's acceleration whether it's in cruise control or not. However, I drive the JX in Sport mode to get what I consider normal (i.e. linear) throttle response when I'm controlling the gas pedal for in-town driving. When I'm cruising on the freeway, I don't need the vehicle to make a concerted effort to bring me back up to my set cruising speed as quickly as possible. Part of the benefit of using cruise control is the improved fuel mileage, and this is negated if the vehicle revs up to 5000 rpms just to increase speed by 5-10 mph. My solution is to switch to Normal or Eco mode when using cruise control, which makes the JX's acceleration a less dramatic affair.
Photo 3/9   |   2013 Infiniti JX35 Front Three Quarter

Our Car
Service life 11 mo/26,216 mi
Average fuel economy 1.04 lb/mi
CO2 emissions 18.6 mpg
Energy consumption 181 kW-hr/100mi
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 18/23/20 mpg
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $464.43 (3-oil change, inspection; 2-tire rotation; 1-cabin-air filter, engine-air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0