2013 Infiniti JX marks the spot

It wasn’t that long ago when people played favorites with manufacturers. Your dad was a Ford man because his father was and his father before him. Customer loyalty to a car brand used to be a given. Over the past 40 years, however, we’ve seen brand loyalty erode to the point of non-existence. Which is why manufacturers now are offering more models that will provide customers somewhere to go once they’ve outgrown their current vehicles. Such is the case with the new JX crossover from Infiniti. The uplevel Japanese luxury brand had a hole in its current lineup, and the new JX slots right in place between the FX and the QX models.

Infiniti says that both customers and dealers were asking for a seven-passenger crossover because the FX can only carry five people, and the QX has an 8,500-lb max tow capacity that mid-size customers necessarily don’t need. So to keep customers from wandering away, the JX was created.

Take the badges off the vehicle, and you instantly recognize the JX as an Infiniti product. The brand’s unique approach to styling has served it well when compared to other vehicles in the segment. Up front is the signature Infiniti double-arch chrome grille and double wave hood that creates movement and tension in the body. The wave continues down the side in the character line, and then ends at the unique crescent D-pillar and tapered rear windows. This sleek shape and smooth surfaces have resulted in a 0.34 coefficient of drag, which helps the JX achieve best-in-class fuel economy numbers of 18 city and 24 highway.

Inside, the JX delivers on the promise of luxury, with comfortable standard leather seating for seven, power front-row heated driver and passenger seats, Kasane Washi interior trim or optional Maple accents, power everything, tri-zone climate control, Infiniti’s wonderful Plasmacluster air purifier, Intelligent Key with pushbutton start, standard rearview monitor and 7-inch display, Bluetooth, and more.

Features aside, when you’re buying a vehicle for space, it better have it. Not a problem here. With seating for seven, many larger vehicles skimp in some areas they think won’t matter to customers, but the truth is, they notice everything. Infiniti figured that out, and solves a lot of the shortcomings from other competitive vehicles. For example, there’s not only more room to access the third row (14 inches total) than offered by the competition, but you also have best-in-class leg room and interior volume. How about eight cubic feet more volume than Acura’s MDX and an amazing 16.6 cubic feet more than the Audi Q7. And with all seats up, there’s still almost 16 cubic feet for your cargo. However, if you kick everyone out of the vehicle and fold down the seats, you have 76.5 cubic feet of capacity, which is more than the Audi Q7, but less than the Acura MDX.

The best part of the interior is that you can actually slide the passenger-side second-row seat forward — even with a child’s seat still locked in place — to gain access to the third row. What a great feature, and a wonderful time saver. How does it work? Watch it here

On our trip around the lush golf resorts of Charleston, South Carolina, we made it a point to experience all the Infiniti features. The Bose sound system was pumping, the seats were comfortable and supportive, and we even hopped in the second row at the lunch stop to ensure that our friends will be happy being chauffeured on long trips. Lots of leg room and reclining seats made us wish we could have found someone to drive us back to the hotel.