Sunday, October 7, 2012

Infiniti JX Crossover - Watch out for Acronyms!

In the early 1960's, musical comedian Allan Sherman took the Jewish song "Hava Nagila" and parodied it as "Harvey and Sheila." Once Sherman got underway, he started including a long list of acronyms--"Harvey's a CPA, he works for IBM..."

In the musical Hair there's the song, Initials (L.B.J.), which starts out, "LBJ took the IRT..." Acronyms abound today, and with the Infiniti JX, they are omnipresent.

The JX boasts a long list of safety and convenience features--all acronyms--that make this one of the most high-tech rides I've ever had.

Where to begin? Let's start with BCI-- Backup Collision Intervention. It can tell if a vehicle is approaching from either side as you're backing up. If a car appears to be entering your path, it gives you three layers of warning - a light, a sound and, if you don't do anything, through the pedal itself. It can apply brake pressure  if you don't take action right away, saving you from disaster.

There's so much more. The Around View Monitor (AVM), with Moving Object Detection (MOD) shows you a 360 degree view around the car--it looks like a direct overhead bird's eye view--and then warns you of possible problems around you. Along with the BCI, this electronic nanny could be a lifesaver, but it also seems to assume that drivers aren't bothering to look around them as they're driving.

The list continues. The Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system, with the even more overt Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) system use a camera behind the front mirror that monitors the lines in the road to see if you're keeping near the center of your lane. If you don't respond to the warning light or buzzer, the system can exert braking on the opposite side of the car to help pull it away from danger. '

Still with me? The Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system flashes a light if there's someone in your blind spot along the side, and makes a noise if you put on the turn signal while you're driving along with that left-lane person. It can help straighten you out if necessary with braking inputs. The standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) includes an individual tire pressure display and Tire Inflation Indicator.This is just the top of the list.

Despite this parade of high-tech inventions, the car holds seven passengers, all in comfort, and offers an interesting new design language for Infiniti. It's nice looking, but does have a large, chrome fish mouth much like its FX and EX siblings, and the rear corner window pillar features what they're calling a "crescent" shape - more like a jiggle.

You may recall that Infiniti's first car, the Q45, was a large sedan with no grille at all--just a Samurai belt buckle on the nose--and it was introduced with a head-scratching campaign that didn't even show the car--just trees and rocks.

Well, the all-new JX is quite powerful, with its 265-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. With 248 lb.-ft. of torque, it's no slug on the road despite its 4,419 pound weight. Fuel economy, per the EPA, is an average of 20 mpg--I got 18.7. (EPA figures are 18 City, 23 Highway). Green Vehicle Guide numbers are 6 for the Smog score and apparently 4 for Greenhouse Gas. The standard and only gearbox is a continuously variable transmission, which comes with either two- or all-wheel drive.

My Black Obsidian tester had power to all four wheels. Inside, on the console, is the Infiniti Drive Mode selector. Use the dial to choose from Standard, Sport, Snow and Eco modes. A car with the brains of this one can alter many things, including throttle response and transmission behavior, so you can customize the car to your liking.

The three rows seating is especially flexible with a sliding middle row, which you can move up to 5.5 inches up or back to supply more legroom in the second row or maximize cargo capacity.

This is one luxurious vehicle, but my tester had four extra packages on it. The Technology Package included not only some of the high tech goodies mentioned above, but a heated steering wheel and remote start. Remote start lets you, as seems obvious, start the car without being in it. Why do that? Well, on a hot day you can get it cooled off before stepping in; on a cold day, vice versa.

The Theater Package provides dual seven-inch monitors in the back of the rear seats with wireless headphones to entertain your passengers.

The Deluxe Touring Package jazzes up the the exterior with 20-inch alloy wheels and the inside with a potent Bose Cabin Surround sound system. Letting the outside into the inside is a panoramic sunroof to give a sky view to second and third row passengers. Rain sensing windshield wipers wipe just when needed. This is no less miraculous than the drier that stops when it can tell your clothes are dry. Climate-controlled front seats (they cool too) and heated seats for rear passengers live in this extra package.

The Premium Package serves up Infiniti Connection with a navigation system. With voice recognition, you can request things like Zagat restaurant guide information and traffic reports along with simply requesting directions. Infiniti Connection gives you electronic access in an emergency, much like the well-known OnStar system.

The JX, assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, starts at $40,650 for the two-wheel-drive model and $42,050 for the all-wheel drive one (plus $950 for transportation--doesn't that sound like a lot?). My tester, with all its extras, including roof rails, came to $55,170, which puts it in some rarefied company in the marketplace.

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