First drive: 2013 Infiniti JX 35 in the UAE

First drive: 2013 Infiniti JX 35 in the UAE

The Infiniti JX35 is one car that nobody was actually anticipating. Unlike the next Toyota Prado or the latest Lexus LX, this all-new Infiniti is going with an all-new nameplate and will have an uphill task establishing the “JX” moniker. Just launched in the GCC, it might be yet another crossover in a line-up that already has the FX and the EX, but this is an important model. The mechanicals for the JX will be the basis for the next-generation Nissan Pathfinder. Interested yet?

In fact, the JX makes sense even within Infiniti’s own line-up. The EX and FX are on the cramped side, while the QX goes completely the other way and ends up being too big. The JX35 is a right-sized three-row crossover that fits right in. And it’s a good looker too, although we’ve admittedly met some who think otherwise.

Stepping inside, the interior looks great, with generous use of leatherette and soft-touch materials on all above-the-waist areas. The dash tech is also typical Infiniti, with a central touchscreen also controllable via a rotary dial and shortcut buttons, integrating the stereo, climate control and navigation.

Space is generous up front. Second-row passengers also enjoy excellent legroom. Access to the third row is easy enough, but space back there is cramped for anyone above 5-foot-5, unless the second-row passengers are willing to give up some of their legroom by moving their seats forward. The third row also folds flat to make a large cargo floor, extendable by folding the second row down as well.

During the UAE launch event, we created our own route around Dubai, so we were able to drive the JX around familiar territory during our short test drive. Propelled by a 3.5-litre V6 from the FX35, it’s been detuned for whatever reason, churning out 265 hp and 336 Nm of torque, mated to standard all-wheel-drive and a CVT automatic. Power is adequate, but never kick-in-the-pants fast. It is an effortless cruiser more like, and that “sport” mode setting on the centre-console is only for show.

Anyone who’s driven a Nissan Altima will know the stuck-revs nature of a CVT setup, but it didn’t bother us much as the noise hardly intruded into the cabin. It could’ve been any other quiet luxury car with a smooth gearbox if you don’t pay attention. Noise insulation is very good even at 120 kph, while the ride is largely smooth as well.

Handling is safe and predictable. It isn’t as firm as a BMW X5 around corners, as some body roll is easy enough to induce on fast turns, but it isn’t a soft boat by any means. The steering is very light, and the brakes do well enough. We know of drivers who actually find the BMW X5 too firm, and we figure this Infiniti will appeal to them. As for offroading, it can manage none of those frivolous pursuits, although we did drive it over flat sand and it didn’t get stuck, so trips to most beaches should be fine.

In between the free ice cream at the Meydan Hotel and the free lunch at the XVA Art Gallery, we were given hands-on demonstrations of new tech. One was the parking assist feature that requires you to spend ages configuring the system so that the right guiding lines show up on-screen and help you manually steer into a parallel-parking space. While we’ve seen better parking aids from Volkswagen, more impressive was Infiniti’s back-up collision-avoidance system that detects cross-traffic as you back out of a parking space, and even brakes automatically at the last minute if there is an obstacle.

The Infiniti JX is being positioned as an upscale family SUV, so it was refreshing to see that the Japanese carmaker wasn’t going overboard in trying to portray it as a manly speedster or a rugged camper. It aims more towards the Lexus and Mercedes-Benz crowd rather than the BMW fanatics, and based purely as a value proposition, it makes sense. Because we’re told it starts at only Dhs 185,000 and doesn’t go beyond Dhs 220,000. That’s cheaper than Infiniti’s own FX35, and undercuts just about every other comparable luxury crossover in the business.

What do you think?



  1. I dont get it. What is the competition of this car?
    Prado, X5, Lexus, MB? which MB, the new ML?

    • Author

      They say the Audi Q7 is the only direct competitor. The others are 5-seaters (while Prado is just overpriced). Adjusted the prices to account for dealer mark-up. Annoying when we get different prices depending on who we ask.

    • i think the edge is just like this car

  2. LooooooooooooooooooL??
    what is this supposed to be??

  3. Pricing is spot on for this, although the Prado is more expensive it will be much better off-road. However I would prefer this, even though the looks are meh and CVT is a bummer.

    That is NOT Infiniti branded water I see in the cup-holders…

    • Prado is cheaper. The V6 4.0 starts at 161k dhs. For 170k dhs you get the version with leather, sunroof and a better audio system.

    • I think he meant the VX-L trim, with those kdds and pre-crash gizmos.

    • Wrong!:) The VX-L version that comes with navigation, 3 cameras, KDSS, HID, JBL audio etc costs 217k dhs.
      The most expensive Prado is 229k dhs, the one with pre-crash system you mentioned and also multi-terrain and crawl control. So, if you think of the top verions this the JX35 and Prado are in the same range, only that Prado offers a lot more in terms of off-roading, space.

  4. I like the interior, its a premuim car at the end of the day. But no so keen on the shape, especially the rear which I found dull. It looks somehow like a van.

  5. I suppose it even competes with the Ford Flex to some extend and its more up-scale Lincoln cousin.

  6. It looks and competes with the GMC Acadia..Sad but true.

  7. The rear looks similar to a Hyundai Sonata. Are these guys out of ideas!

  8. has anybody had real bitter experiences with cvt like complete failure or something ? i have never driven a cvt trans car. pls comment.
    thank you.

    • Defining CVT is sumthing like streching a rubber band to full extent. I personally dont like CVT’s behaviour, it doesnt give you the joy of riding the car.

    • cvt takes some getting used to in terms of feel. A 2010 Maxima (for example) feels sluggish as it revs up gradually and smoothly to desired power. “sport” and “cvt” should not be mixed… cvt’s should be reserved for trains or something similar, like a Suburban 🙂

  9. Doesnt this remind any1 of the Airport cabbies??? Toyota Previa was it???

    I dont see why Infiniti are trying to launch something in this segment. They should focus more on sedans, they have only 2 models, the M and the G series, while other german rivals like the Merc/BMW/Audi have atleast 3-4 segments in sedan!!!!
    – review based purely on exterior looks.

  10. Didn’t even know such a car was launched by Infiniti. When did they unveil it ?

  11. if this starts at 185k… then how much will the new pathy cost?

  12. That is some ugly piece of craftsmanship. ewwww.

  13. This car was created for US market, where the Murano does very well and there is a demand for a bigger “Murano” kind of car. (both models share the same engine and CVT, and the interior luxury feel). US mid-class families with 2-3 children are the target for this car.

  14. guys this is the luxury version of new Pathfinder 2013 which is going to be announced in UAE around end of 2012 as per the info i got from Al Masood nissan. btw price is really challenging for competitors.

  15. pathfinder 2013 was released today in USA and is being manufactured in USA. i don’t think its coming anytime soon to GCC and on top – american manufacturing sucks so..i doubt that will be a hit here…

  16. Guys i am now really confused as to whether i should go for it or not. Frankly i test drove it in the city so could not try the acceleration part but CVT …..i havent tried it before.
    Any suggestions…fast.

  17. Not good looks outside, dull and van like. Inside is expected to be infinti. Priced well.

  18. i think there is major problem ,its american, not japaneese,so for the gcc weather i dont think electrical side work properly,,especialy ac.

  19. I just bought this car. My impressions are: It’s more comfortable than any European SUV in this class and I know because I’ve owned XC90’s, LR3’s, and LR4. If you have a family, you DON’T buy a 7-seater SUV for the sportiness of it but the power is always there when you need it and handling is more than acceptable for a car of this size.
    And one last note, I can promise you (for average drivers at least) that if you didn’t know it was a CVT, you would think it was a regular automatic. I was afraid of that at first, but I can safely say it’s that good 🙂

  20. hi, everybody, this crossover is with me since seven practical knowledge is very good ,and full safety features:like front collision intervention,back collision intervention and both side (right and left)collision intervention,fully surrounded cameras with (mod)moving object detection,best airbag protection,intelligent cruise control,with automatic motorway road line control,speed control for front side car,electrically self tightening seat belts,fully touch 8″ 3D 2D touch screen navigation with forcefully voice support,dimming rear view mirror,defrosting font and rear glass and side mirror,all seasons supporting front and rear viper blades,and especially while running tyres pressure variation display.

    next technical side: 3.5 hp engine and ultra cvt gear box(when do acceleration with out losing power will get proper engine power to wheels through cvt gears)other cars are roaring sound getting with less power while accelerating,and it has manual shift gear.and luxury: soft leather seats with all climate control driver seat with lumbar support middle seats with rail support moveable hatch back,3rd row seat comfortable with hatch back,read dvd entertainment with wireless headset and remote control, 14 plus one surround speaker system by Bose,all passengers ac duct with independent temperature and fan controller,sun roof,panoramic moon roof,and again music side own usb for music, a/v inputs,bluetooth audio streaming ,hdd backup for a/v,perfect bluetooth for mobile phone,all windows solar protected ,soft steering ,very smooth driving,Dc to Ac voltage inverter (built in)every where 12 volt Dc points cushion floor mats, and remote start/stop engine with AC ,and she is miss universe .iam in ABUDHABI UAE.thanks for infiniti crafts.00971503123936.

  21. Has any one tried this car off road – mountains or dirt track?

    • It has 4 wheel drive but it’s not suitable for anything more than going to the beach or off-roading on flat surfaces. This is because the car is low to the ground.

  22. I got this car last month, it’s great car and it’s so comfortable but the bad thing is to close to the road if you compare it with others of its shape.

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