For years Infiniti's lineup of crossovers and SUVs has successfully spanned demographics ranging from singles (the nimble EX35 model) to large families with occasional towing needs (the comparatively gigantic QX56 model). There was something for everyone - almost.

The one gap in Infiniti's lineup had been a medium-sized family hauler. That changes with the new JX35. Infiniti says the JX should appeal to those in their 40s, with at least two children and likely with a sport sedan already in their garage.

For shoppers who might otherwise consider an Acura MDX, Audi Q7 or Cadillac SRX, Infiniti now offers a luxury crossover that blazes new trails in terms of safety, technology and flexible interior space.

Familiar Outward Appearance

The exterior of the JX proudly sports the Infiniti signature double-arch grille and wave design hood, as well as a new design twist in the form of a crescent-shaped D-pillar. It has a very sculpted and stylish profile, suggesting fluid movement even when the JX is parked.

The JX is just shy of 16.5 feet long, about 5 inches longer than the Acura MDX. The new Infiniti is approximately 5 ft. 7 in. tall, around half a foot taller than its closest competitors.

The 18-inch aluminum wheels complement the vehicle's arched lines, with spokes that are slightly curved, creating a pinwheel effect.

Easy In, Easy Out

One of the main selling points for the JX is that it's a vehicle offering style with spaciousness. This claim is backed by best-in-class interior volume at 149.8 cu. ft. and what Infiniti calls "breakthrough utility."

The second-row seating, with 60:40 split and 5.5 inches of seat slide, does offer impressive ease of access to the third row - from either side. The JX is the first and currently the only vehicle that enables third-row access even with a latched child safety seat attached in the second row.

Passengers in all rows are in for a comfortable ride with contoured leather seats, ample legroom (41.7 inches in the second row, 30.8 inches in the third) and tri-zone climate control, which allows two different temperature settings for the driver and front passenger, and a third setting available for the rear passenger compartment.

Rear-seat passengers can pass the time with dual 7-inch color monitors: they can watch a DVD on one screen and play a game on the other. The system includes 120V power outlet and wireless headphones.

Get Up & Go

Every JX has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard in the JX, but Intelligent All-Wheel drive is available.

The JX's sport-tuned continuous variable transmission (CVT) provides a smooth ride to accompany the ulta-comfortable interior. Of the four available driving modes, Sport supposedly provides the closest thing to gear-shifting feedback, while the other modes produce a continuous, steady sensation when accelerating. However, we found this "feedback" to be mostly an auditory experience, which is in keeping with the mechanics of a CVT, but a bit disappointing if you're looking for the actual sound and sensation of gears shifting.

The JX claims best-in-class fuel economy, and for us it did consistently achieve mileage within its EPA ratings of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. According to Infiniti, opting for AWD brings the combined mileage down by just one mile per gallon.

Safety and Then Some

The JX has an impressive list of available safety technology features that are too numerous to mention in detail here. Among the highlights are blind spot warning and intervention; lane departure warning and prevention; intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning; distance control assist; Infiniti Around View monitor with a new moving object detection feature; and - perhaps coolest among them - the world's first back-up collision intervention system. This last one uses sonar and radar sensors to detect an object directly behind the vehicle or approaching from either side (like a child in the driveway) and momentarily applies the brakes while emitting an audible and visual warning. We had to fight our reflexes in order to test it, but it worked like a charm, and it certainly has the potential to save lives.

Integrated Technology at Your Fingertips

To help busy parents keep their commitments and their sanity, the JX features Infiniti Connection with Google Calendar access and integrated Infiniti Personal Assistant - a 24-hour personal concierge, to help with virtually anything (even homework!), anytime, anywhere. Mom and Dad can review calendar appointments and meetings, and then select those locations as a destination in the navigation system.

The Infiniti Personal Assistant service is complimentary for the first four years, and it's likely to be one of the most popular features in the JX.

Packages and Features

The base model JX starts at $40,450, and the all-wheel drive version at $41,550.

There are five available packages for JX: Premium, Theater, Driver Assistance, Deluxe Touring, & Technology. At $4,950, the Premium package encompasses the greatest number of add-ons, including Navigation system with XM NavTraffic and NavWeather; Infiniti Connection Plus services; Around View monitor with moving object detection; Bose 13-speaker premium audio; dual memory for driver's seat, steering wheel and mirrors; and auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink.

If you're interested in a luxury and technology combination that really does seem to raise the bar, check out the 2013 Infiniti JX and all its available options. Just be sure to allow yourself enough time because this vehicle is loaded with cool features.

author photo

Jesse Rhodes is a lifelong car enthusiast who has worked as a writer, editor and marketing specialist in the automotive engineering and advertising industries for more than 15 years.

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