Wednesday, January 23, 2013
All these preventative devices conspire to saddle the JX with the jerkiest cruise control imaginable. I always thought that my Uncle Joe, who lived in NYC, was the worst driver in the world, stopping and starting so often that you wanted to upchuck after 2 blocks in the passenger seat. Well, the JX’ “Intelligent Cruise Control” is so dumb that it puts Uncle Joe to shame. Set your desired speed, and the JX35 accelerates and brakes with mind-numbing frequency. After a few minutes of this bizarre ritual, we deselected cruise control and took care of the throttle our self.
Aside from technology run amok, the JX35 is a decently presented SUV, with enough thump from its 265hp V6, and enough stick from its 20 inch Bridgestone Dueler H/P radials (235/55R20), to motor smartly down a winding road. Steering is unusually communicative for an SUV that weighs 5,000 pounds. The CVT transmission, however, is disconcerting in a vehicle of this price range. As you may know, constantly variable transmissions depend on belts rather than gears for motivation. When you perform a “downshift” in the JX35, you’re really asking the CVT transmission to alter belt length to increase rpm. Even when shifted manually, this mechanism responds slowly to downshift and upshift commands. A real 6 or 8 speed gearbox is the accepted norm for an SUV in this price range.
If you option the JX35 judiciously, you’ll bring home an eminently practical and affordable SUV with the proven 3.5 liter Nissan/Infiniti V6 under the hood, lots of luxury trimmings inside, and enough seats to transport the soccer team to games. Just stay away from that Hal 9000 “Technology Package.”